What to Watch For

19 Feb, 2011

by Julie Ferris

I like this job because I’m a people watcher. I earned a degree in Sociology simply because it meant “the study of people.” I have learned, too, that the best people to watch and study are those who do the same thing. I sat in the lobby bar and met Val– cosmopolitan wasn’t just her drink, it was her way. She had the most fantastic haircut and as I talked with her, I finally understood what “day-to-evening” wear meant. In a word, she was fabulous.

She mentioned she was waiting for a traveling friend and generously added that he often was late. She was always prepared for his travel tardiness, however, and knowing he may be as much as an hour late (braving rush hour traffic through Chicago as he reached the city) she pointedly chose the Pfister for their reunion. “I told him to meet here because I knew I’d enjoy sitting here having a drink while I waited for him, you see, I knew he’d be late.”

I laughed because I’m always that person people plan around. I had to reveal this to Val, but I don’t think it ruined our new friendship. What secured our bond is that Val, too, is a people watcher. In addition to the far too comfortable couches, Val chose the Pfister because, as she says, she likes to guess why everyone is there. “There are always so many things going on, I like to watch people and pair them up, see which group they might be with.” And that’s when I introduced myself as the Narrator, saying “Why, that’s my job!”

Val has had many an adventure. From the “Cruise from Hell” to lots of incredible dining recommendations, she’s who I’m hoping to be—someone well-versed in all Milwaukee has to offer.

As the applications are being accepted for the next Pfister Narrator, I can’t help but feel excited for the next people-watcher they recruit. Especially because they’ll get to be a part of the next phase in the Pfister’s life: The remodeled Pfister Café. Last week’s luncheon there when I ran into so many people I knew, was my last in the former space.

Last night, I gave up people watching for vision. Joe Kurth, the hotel’s manager, took me on a tour of the space mid-transformation. We were pointing at walls and walking out distances, swinging our arms and conjuring up what will be the future look of what I had formerly thought was one of the best people watching spaces in the hotel…and it came with a tuna sandwich named after our state senator and killer oatmeal. I rest assured, now, though, as I blinked into the future, that it can only get better.

I was people watching, but only as a gypsy fortune teller. I saw the line for coffee, I saw the pleasant barista who serves the business traveler, I saw the wedding party members, perhaps battling the remnants of a great party the night before, stopping in the gift area for a remembrance of their time in Milwaukee, I saw the laptops buzzing quietly on soft chairs in the café window. The best view in the whole house, and I can’t wait to take my seat.

About the author

Julie Ferris

Julie is a devout Iowa Hawkeye fan despite her new Wisconsin roots, loves to read and is a sucker for good creme brulee and bad puns.

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