Vertigo (I Meant ‘Rear Window’)

posted in: Day In The Life 9
Just think... Image: Wikipedia.
Just think… Image: Wikipedia.


Please tell me not to buy binoculars. Please tell me not to buy binoculars. Please tell me to —

Okay, I won’t. But I really want to. Because a building in my neighborhood was finished a while back and at this very moment, I can look across the way and see the glowing TV screens, the outlines of the furniture, the movements of the inhabitants of the units in that building. I can’t see what’s on the TV; I can’t tell much about the furniture past whether what I’m looking at is a lamp or a couch; I can’t see faces by a longshot. But I can see life happening over there and I know they can see my life, too. Which makes me want to pull the shades down — or not.

This morning, I was up at 5 a.m. sharp so that I could put in a good four hours on the cover story I’m writing for the October issue. Just as I settled with my tea,* I saw the lights go on in the unit over from mine and up a little bit. Two people were crossing back and forth in the room.

I thought to myself, “They’re going jogging.”

Because apparently, when two people are up and moving around before dawn, I automatically assume that they are more responsible and active than I am, that they have things figured out: Namely, that going jogging with your beloved is definitely the best way to start the morning. Within seconds, I pictured the vital, peppy couple getting back home an hour later and laughing over yogurt with blueberries and some sort of herbal tea before heading off to work. At some point in my constructed scenario, they made out, but don’t worry; I didn’t get quite that far. My point is that the silhouette peoples’ lives were somehow…smoother. Less treacherous. Easier, at any rate, than mine feels, sometimes.

In a few moments of looking at the building over there, I made up a whole life for two perfect strangers. That’s weird. It’s as weird as me not-quite-peeping on my not-quite-neighbors, if you ask me. But we’re only human.

But it’s hard to not watch. We’re only human.


*I’m back with the tea in the morning. I just couldn’t do it. The coffee is nice in the afternoon, though!

9 Responses

  1. Pam
    | Reply

    Sadly…maybe, or not…I love to sit in public spaces or places filled with people I don’t know and develop fantasy lives for them.

  2. Shermie
    | Reply

    Back in the early ‘seventies, DH and I lived in a three story brick apt building with a center courtyard in an old suburb outside Chicago. He was a student and I was , suddenly, a stay at home mom, because that’s what life was then. Our windows looked directly across into the windows of an older retired couple. As I hung my washed-in-the-bathroom sink baby clothes on a drying rack in front of the big windows, we would smile and wave back and forth. We lived there three years and never actually met, but the frequent smiles and waves made those lean years less lonely. I’m hoping it did the same for them.

  3. Katjleen
    | Reply

    I do the same when I’m eating by myself in a restaurant. I make up stories about the people eating at tables around me. Whew; the lives they lead!

  4. Lauren
    | Reply

    Taking taxis home at night through unknown neighborhoods and seeing the outlines of others’ lives by the warmth of their (elctrical, metaphorical) fires is one of the loveliest things I can think of, particularly in lousy weather. Heaven forbid I actually see a face, though!

  5. Joan
    | Reply

    What the heck……buy binoculars!!!

  6. Jody
    | Reply

    Funny you titled this Vertigo as this article reminds me of one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best – Rear Window. 🙂

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Jody… Thank you. LOL! That’s what I meant! #edited #duh

  7. Kathryn Darnell
    | Reply

    I like the idea of making interesting stories about their lives…it might be better than the lives they have. Why, they might be flattered!

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