All summer long I’ve been doing something I love: sitting on my balcony watching the neighbors.
This may seem very “Rear Window” of me, but it has none of the dramatics that the Jimmy Stewart character experienced in Hitchcock’s classic. No murderous husband, no suicidal Lonelyheart, and no blonde bombshell to keep me company (my own bombshell is very much a brunette!).
Truth is, not much exciting happens across the way from where I live.
And that is precisely why it’s so enjoyable.
There are six apartments that I have an unrestricted view of (blinds notwithstanding), all identical in design. Six different approaches to the same basic idea. Six different lives unfolding.
And yet, regardless of the interior decorating choices, everyone is doing a variation on the following:
Enter a room. Walk around. Pick something up. Move to another room. Return. Sit. Open the fridge. Walk to another room. Return. Sit. Stand. Eat something. Play on the phone. Walk to another room. Return. Sit. Wash the dishes. Watch TV.
All utterly dull.
However, the rhythm with which everybody carries out these menial actions is fascinating, a syncopation unapparent to its adjacent musicians. This is music that can only be experienced by the distant observer.
I don’t want anything exciting to happen across the way. To wish for that would be to wish for something other than the life I myself lead, a life that anyone looking back at me would recognize as equally banal. Lots of walking from room to room, standing, sitting, and peering into the fridge.
Sitting on my balcony watching my neighbors puts me at ease and fills me with relief. Because if we’re all doing the same thing, then we must all be ok.