Saturday, December 5, 2009


I'm not gonna name any names. Just thought I'd preface this piece with that.

There are many, and I mean many, people I know personally, people very close to me that just like to watch. They lurk behind the curtains, if it's evening, with the lights off, just studying.


They leer, filing information away for later use, cerebral bits of data on what they've seen, in-mind documentation of movements, habits, communiques, and acquaintances. It's a borderline obsession, as they jump at the sound of slammed car doors, scurry to the windows, yanking the drapes up to nose level.

Who's there? Who's visiting? What do they do for a living?

Are they dating someone, and if so, is sex involved?

Yes, we all know these compulsive oglers. Neighbor watchers.

I personally don't understand it and find it a little creepy. I've met and shaken hands with my neighbors, introducing myself and even (gasp) sharing my name and trade, as nauseating as that fact may be. I know their names, guess how I got that? No, no reconnaissance missions, no trips to the town hall, and God, no under the table cash exchanges with private detectives.

I asked.

Yes, I find neighbor watching creepy. For a few reasons which I will proselytize for you right now.

1. They are human beings not characters on a television show. If they want to realize how foolish they are being, Neighbor Watchers must be forced, (if Alex from "A Clockwork Orange" against the will viewing is necessary so be it), to watch "The Truman Show". That ought to sum it up. If it doesn't, they have no conscience.

2. I don't care. I mean, outside of the generalities I've exchanged with the ones I've met, I don't really worry too much about my suburban mates coming and goings. It's just not a high priority. I don't care if a vehicle in their driveway is from another state, really. Unless they are leaking oil on my front lawn (which has happened), or their useless brats are tossing garbage into my front ditch (which has happened) I don't want to get involved. See: No contacty, no involvy.

3. It's none of my goddamn business. I have absolutely no right to try to pursue information about people who are not coming right out and sharing it with me. If the info is achieved by, oh, say asking, actually communicating with the folks, fine. But otherwise, leave 'em alone! Just because they live within my visual plane, does not give me the right to try to understand them.

My neighbors have been trying to figure me out for 18 years.

Not happening. I live in the suburbs, have hair 8 inches past my shoulders, wear horror movie tee shirts, listen to Minor Threat and The Buck Pets at top volume with the windows open, and have two very large dogs. I see the looks the neighbors give, and reversing the topic into my direction as one of the viewed: I don't give a shit.

I just don't get it. What is the allure of staring at the neighbors? I would ask, but I get snippy over it, and it would start arguments. So I guess I'll just leave well enough alone.

The gossiping about others they don't know however, is another story.

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