Inverse clue gathering

So, in my people watching analyses, I usually tend to watch a person and then figure out who that person is, their occupation and the like. Now, there’s a technique which is quite useful in doing it and it’s to do the inverse. Basically, if you know who the person is, try to see what are their distinctive features that would characterize them if you didn’t know who they were.

Sounds complicated, but it’s not. Take, for example, bus drivers. You know a bus driver when you see one because that’s the person driving the bus. Megasherlock right there. But no, seriously, you see bus drivers all the time if you use public transport. The thing with this approach is to try and find their distinctive features, what makes them busdriverish and remember that so you can use it afterwards when they’re not wearing their uniform and driving a bus.

So, what would be a distinctive feature for bus drivers? Well, a lot of sitting tends to make you fat, but there is a myriad of professions out there that involve a lot of sitting, so being fat is no good tell. I seriously don’t know. Maybe stiff, but that’s also something common in a lot of professions. I’m still working on that one.

For guitar players, it’s easy. You see callouses on their fingertips. Of course, you might confound them with the occasional ukulele or violin or mandolin afficionado, but you have big chances of having a guitar player, and even if you don’t, you know it’s a string instrument player, which is also good.

Drummers are easy, they practice all the time with their fingers when they’re bored.

For martial artists and dancers, you have movement that gives them away. When people who usually move in complicated ways become bored, the routines they usually do just come out on their own, with no conscious control. I’ve also noticed that martial artists often stand in public transportation without holding any bars for balance.

There are a lot of things that can characterize professions, but we’re looking for distinctive features or combinations that make distinctive features.

The next time you watch a bus driver, try to see what it is that is common to their profession. If you see a college professor, see what makes them distinctive. Is it a pattern of behavior? Is it a movement? By doing this, you get a “dictionary” of sorts, and such a dictionary will help you in further deductions.



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