Thursday, August 21, 2008
I get the picture.
In the small corner of the apartment that I inhabit, which happens to be smaller than the other parts because I would rather save a few bucks on rent and sleep in a twin bed, with all amenities (desk, bookshelf, alarm clock, entire wardrobe) squarely within my cramped reach, there is one window. The window looks directly across the driveway into the corresponding window of the building next door. I have noticed, out of the corner of my unassuming eye, that their extra small room is used as a computer room (probably more suitable). There's a chair, a phone, etc. I haven't let my gaze linger long enough to glean any further details.
I've made a concerted effort to keep my shade all or mostly closed when I'm in my room, especially when I'm... oh, I don't know, getting ready for work, checking my email in a sports bra or hosting The Saddest Dance Party Ever, featuring me, my ailing laptop and my roommate's cat, if he stops eating long enough to show up. Long story short, I do my best to keep my bedroom behavior, however sordid (more often pathetic), to myself.
I returned from St. Louis on Sunday to find a potted plant in my room - a gift from one of my roommates. I think it'd been sitting there in the dark, unwatered, for a week or so because it looked dead and smelled like hummus. I immediately rushed to the window in an attempt to resurrect it with sunlight when something caught my eye across the way. A 10 x 14 framed picture of two little boys, propped up in the window, facing me. And while I could've seen much worse (looking out the window into the lives of others is always a gamble), the portrait's presence was pretty jarring, as it unleashed the assumptive floodgates of my imagination. Why did they put that there for me to see?
They have seen me wearing a towel tucked into a pair of Umbros, drying my hair and singing misquoted Mason Jennings lyrics into my flatiron.
They have seen me lying on a pile of shoes, reading Parade magazine and picking my nose with a tweezers.
They have seen me staring at nail holes in the wall, taking dusty, apprehensive sips from a month-old glass of red wine.
They have seen me completely unedited, and it's scaring their children.
So they put their picture up to remind me that just nine suspended feet away, young minds are developing. I have been passive aggressively warned to keep my blinds shut, and I will oblige... minus the ten minutes a day when I give my plant sunlight.