Friday, April 23, 2004

Looking into other people's front rooms whilst walking home in the dark

(Prurient Nocturnal Activity)

Guest Reviewer of the Week DEBBIE says:

Well it's an open invitation, isn't it? If someone is happy to eschew net curtains and leave their heavy drapes open while the light is on at night, they can only WANT people to look in. Why then do they look so cross when I pause to contemplate their choice of wall hanging and why do they snap the curtains shut when I press my little face up against the window just to see whether that really is the same IKEA bookcase that everyone on the planet has?

This really is one of my favourite pastimes. You don't have to go out of your way to do it (just walk home from work), it doesn't cost anything (usually) and it doesn't take much time (unless you see something really interesting and invite yourself in to look at it). It is also terrifically exciting - once I thought I saw a fire but sadly it turned out to be someone sitting in a chair below the window smoking a cigarette. When you are outside in the dark, it is fascinating how cosy, welcoming and in every way more appealing other people's lives really look. I have a theory though, that every other room in the house has no furniture and plaster crumbling off the walls. This is the show room where are 5pm the show family gather onstage, waiting for an audience. They sit in their perfect clothes on their perfect sofa while their perfect cat sits prettily on the window sill, whereas mine just sits on the dining table and licks her arse. At the end of the day, however, when there is no longer the excuse of absent mindedness to
leave the curtains open, they close them and start scratching their private parts, arguing over the TV channels and then retire to bed in the coal shed like normal people.

One could argue that this is a somewhat perverse pastime, but to be honest, we all do it whether we mean to or not. It is almost comforting to see little snapshots of suburban life. Yet why is it, that our weirdest neighbour, (you know the one who sticks anti-war posters on his door and sits with his mad guard dog on the garden wall in a tin helmet and open toed sandals) NEVER leaves his curtains open. I dread to think what goes on in his front room....but all the same I'd love to know!


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