I'm a little uncomfortable admitting this, but I like being able to see in people's homes. I've always been fascinated by how a place looks through a window. The furniture, the pictures on the walls, even what they're watching on television is far more intriguing than it would be were I actually standing within the containing walls. I have an unrelenting curiosity about the way other people live, to share in their stories in some small way. Being able to see the way they set up their home provides a basic understanding of these strangers.
Growing up I only got this view while taking long walks through a suburban neighborhood, and the occasions were rare. Most people exploit their ability to remain private, so the blinds were almost always drawn shut. This isn't true in
. While riding the el to work, I get the chance to peek in several people's homes while zipping past. There's never a lasting view, of course, but a daily trip past a regularly open window gives me a unique perspective at the layout of various castles and their kings. Chicago
I've always been a little disappointed, however, that the people are never doing anything interesting. Usually they're watching TV. If I'm very, very lucky, someone might be walking to the refrigerator. I've always wished for some sort of Ebenezer Scrooge moment, watching the happy family gathered around a dinner table. Bustling activity as a group of people relates to one another, perhaps. People drinking at a party, or even sitting around a board game would be fine. Alas, none of these has occurred until recently, when the 3rd most interesting thing possible was spotted almost 30 stories up.
My office building is across the street from
. This is one of the most distinctive views of the Marina City skyline, being two apartment buildings that look like eaten corn cobs. Balconies are covered in various decorations, and most people let the sunlight in freely. This provides us with a look at all the numerous ways one can decorate a wedge-shaped apartment. People step outside for a smoke, or perhaps we get to see what people watch on TV. It's also fascinating to me that given the height of the building, some people experience a sunset a full hour earlier than others. Chicago
Also there's naked aerobics.
From time to time around 10:30 all work stops, people rush to the windows, and split the use of the binoculars only one person has thought to bring to a 28th floor view (me). For half an hour, a woman in
does laps around the perimeter of her apartment completely in the buff. Unable to get up to a full running speed in such a relatively small space, she half jogs, half power walks in front of her windows. There's even the occasional stretching/bending over. Marina City
The first time we noticed this was in the middle of a meeting between We the Temps and an associate media directors for one of our bigger clients. One by one, each of the men in the office would glance out the window. His eyes would squint in disbelief and attempted discovery. "What am I seeing there? It looks like . . . . But it can't be . . . ." Then his eyes would widen in surprise. "No way. No f'n way." Finally, his eyes would harden in determination, and with Galileo's own enthusiasm he'd find a way to announce the experience to everyone within the reach of his voice.
Part of me wants to believe she's completely ignorant of the fact that the obelisk-like structure across the street from her has people who can see into her living room during her routine. Part of me tries to rationalize it; "If I exercise naked, I won't have to do so much laundry!" The more rational part of me acknowledges and accepts the fact that she doesn't care that she's visible. Indeed, being watched may even be the point. If that's the case, my officemates and I are happy to oblige. I don't admit it often (and I feel I don't have to, really), but I'm an immature little child.
Naked people are awesome.