Sunday, September 12, 2010
Other People's Windows
The street we live on is a narrow one. There's no parking allowed on either side and only one lane of traffic, so I estimate the buildings on the other side of the street are no more than 25 feet away. We're relatively high up and what we see are roofs, chimney pots and the windows of the top two floors of the building just opposite us.
The floors are offset a bit so we actually see down or up into the windows. I've never seen anyone in the upper ones, although one of these is occasionally opened a bit to allow air in. The lower windows directly opposite open onto the kitchen/living space of a family with at least one child. It seems to have been modernized at some point and has a rather contemporary feel and from time to time, in the evening after the lights come on, I see a man in the kitchen area.
He looks like he's just come in from work, wearing a shirt and slacks. At other times I see a child playing in the open space of the room. I can't tell if it's a girl or a boy, but I suspect a boy. I don't know why. The other day I saw several people (the man, the boy, a woman?) sitting at a table and eating. The lights in this apartment didn't come on over the weekend. They must have gone away. They're back tonight.
I actually do whatever I can to avoid looking directly into this apartment. I hope they do the same.
Living in a city is different. Last year we lived directly across the courtyard from a large duplex apartment inhabited by a couple who never seemed to close the shades on their many large windows. They ate a lot of soup and didn't speak to each other much.
This seems like a lot to know about strangers.