In a small town, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know everyone. As a student, I see the same kids every day that I have for the last 12 years and feel a certain comfort in constantly being surrounded by faces I can identify. Then there are places like the Luncheonette and Tusk and Cup, where, in typical small town camaraderie, the baristas know my order and the regulars exchange familiar glances. But there are also people who, even though I’ve lived in Wilton for the greater part of my life, I have never seen before.
I’ve always been a people watcher — not in the hide-in-your-bushes stalker kind of way, but in the sense that I seek comfort in the fact that in each body there’s a soul rattling around. That kid in the stroller who only crossed my line of vision for a moment in front of Tom E Toes has his first day of Miller-Driscoll tomorrow. He will wake up and never be impacted for better or worse by my speculation of his life. That woman who I guessed had a paper due tonight because of her venti coffee order at a late hour may, for all I know, be ordering it for a friend. With such brief windows of observation, it became a hobby of mine to “Sherlock Holmes” as much as I could about them. But recently, this became too passive of an action for me. I wanted to know the strangers who passively interacted with me every day, if nothing else so that the next time they do, they’ll be less of a stranger.