One of the things I miss about living in New York is riding the subway and walking on the sidewalks with strangers. People-watching is a pastime that never gets old for me. It’s simply not as easy to have that everyday exposure to the masses in LA, but walking on the Venice boardwalk and shopping in thrift stores provides a similar opportunity for observation of so many different types of people in one place. Add to that: jury duty.
I spent the first hour in the juror waiting room yesterday looking around, pretending to read my book while discretely spying on the strangers around me—checking out what they brought with them, what they were doing to pass the time, and what they were wearing. I liked how the woman who gave us instructions wore a body-hugging leopard dress that matched her tough demeanor. When she was giving us instructions and a juror picked up a cell phone call, Ms. Leopard announced that she was going to pause until there was no interference in the room and then she glared at the juror, waiting for her to finish. Oh yeah, she had attitude.
Most people were dressed business casual, which is what Ms. Leopard told us was expected of jurors selected to serve on cases. I saw one man and one woman dressed in buttoned-up suits (she worked on her laptop all morning, he napped). A woman with a cute bob wore plaid Converse Chuck Taylors with her skinny jeans and pullover sweater, and a woman sitting a seat away from me had pointy black high-heeled boots and big Carmela Soprano hair I was tempted to reach out and touch. Then there was the guy I recognized as a soap actor who wore denim on denim (button-down shirt and jeans) and almost as much hair product as Mrs. Soprano.
All day, I was on the lookout to see if there were any covetable articles of clothing or accessories, but I only spotted a cute pair of black ballet flats with bows and a Marc Jacobs bag I’d consider for myself. And maybe a tuxedo T-shirt; my favorite look was from the guy on the security line in jeans, sneakers, and a black and white tuxedo-print tee. I could tell from his age that he wasn’t around for the shirt’s trendy heyday in the ’80s. But if he’d been in the same room with me, I might have asked him if he remembered the hilarious line from the John C. Reilly character in “Talladega Nights” about Jesus in the tuxedo T-shirt (clip here). Now I’m keen on the shirt and will keep an eye out for one when I’m on my next thrift store mission in search of shirts to upcycle.