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Greetings, readers. As I was sitting in Panera this morning enjoying my coffee, I had the opportunity to observe several people. Being a writer, I am always naturally curious about folks, and sometimes see them as potential characters for my writing projects. In the span of twenty minutes, I saw a plethora of body languages and facial expressions that told me precisely how these people were feeling.

The first couple was a young woman and either a very close male friend or her boyfriend. She walked up to him with open arms and when they hugged the sweetest smile came over her face. It seemed to me that he was a special person to her and she was overjoyed and content to be in his arms.

Another group of people were not having such a good time. One woman sat with arms folded across her chest, not smiling. I learned in sociology class at Penn State that this is a classic symptom of a person who is not happy and defensive. Although the threesome was not shouting, it did appear to this observer that all three opinions differed. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.

A staff member, who I am good friends with, stopped and talked to Traci and me for a moment. I could tell by the way she looked and acted that she liked her job and thought that she was pretty good at all the different tasks that she is assigned to. One day it might be prep, another day it might be wiping tables in the dining room area. While conversing with her, not only did I get the sense that she is happy with her work, but that she likes her customers and they are important. That is going to keep me coming back to Panera.

I got to observe a young college student working on her computer as she listened to music with earbuds. It is getting close to finals week here at Penn State and everyone is cramming for final exams. This young woman went from working hard to frantically searching her stuff for something she needed. She wasn’t in tears, but she may well have been if she hadn’t found what she was looking for.

Lastly, I have been in line at Panera during the busy times of the day and although the cashiers are taught to always give service with a smile to each customer, they know me and I know them and sometimes they let their guard down a bit. I’ll say, are you having a tough day, and they’re smile and shake their heads yes. I never pry, but I make light conversation, such as, don’t worry, it’ll get better, or something positive like that. Most of them seem to appreciate it, that a customer cared enough to inquire.

As a writer, I’ve observed people for many years and will continue to do so. If you have observed anything worthy of note, please leave a comment, here or on my Facebook page.

Until next week, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

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