First, I’m admitting to something. A deep, dark secret, although I will bet good money that many of you do just what I do.
When I’m out walking, I like to look into the windows of my neighbors homes.
I don’t mean that I actively maneuver myself through their landscape, stealthly hopping from tree to large bush through groundcover and low perennials just to pop up like a creepy Peeping Jane outside their window.
I stay on the public sidewalk, I promise. It just so happens that the homes in my neighborhood have relatively small, shallow front lawns, which means that the homes conveniently sit rather close to those same public sidewalks. Folks around here on a routine basis do not close their blinds or curtains. That fact allows my curiousity to flourish unchecked, and so, as I stroll on by, I will glance briefly toward the window and then if it appears that no one inside is strategically positioned near the window I will slow my gait and look freely.
I mean they really are giving me an open invitation if you think about it:
Blinds not only open but raised high.
No animals posted near the windows that might alert anyone inside to my presence.
Sometimes, some awfully interesting stuff that is just begging to be looked at.
For instance, one block over is an interesting old home that has literally no window coverings at all. A table saw sits on their front porch, just in front of an old mattress. Black garbage bags have been tossed haphazardly around the dead lawn. I can easily see that a refrigerator sits in what should be the living room. Interior doors are stacked here and there. On occasion, but not since last summer, two youngish men often sat in lawn chairs on the front walk, sipping wine, playing guitar and tossing twigs into a fire pit. That last part I can’t explain, nor can I explain why this house renovation (my conclusion after seeing all the work-in-progress-rooms through the windows) seems to have stalled.
Yes, I am really good at gathering a lot of information in the 5-10 seconds it takes me to walk past a home.
Farther down the street is what I call The Chihuly Window. This old brick home has well manicured landscaping, but the eye-catching feature is their very large picture window. It is full of glass shelving and what is clearly Chihuly glass art pieces, (or maybe really impressive imitations). I dare you to click that link then hit the “price” tab. Mr. Chihuly is well paid indeed.
Mostly I just enjoy looking at how my neighbors have decided to plant their gardens and landscapes and how they have chosen to outfit their front porches. We have a lot of front porches in this community and I really can’t help that the homes also have very large front windows that look out over those porches. My guess is that if they have nice gardens, and neatly arranged and attractive decor on their porches, then it must follow that I might see some nice things inside their living spaces as well. So yes, I look.
Now, to the real purpose of this post.
My neighbor, whose home I look upon when I look out of my own front window, lives alone in a large older home. Front porch- check. Large windows- check. An odd addition off the backside of the house, again with large windows- check. Blinds and curtains never closed- check. So when I walk, and head south, this house is just begging me to look.
I’ve seen her kitties inside. I can see into the original living room and even see all the claw marks on the leather couch that the cats obviously use as a scratching post. I’ve seen inside the family room with the large TV, her recliner and her fancy Victorian lampshade that adorns a tall lamp next to her recliner. I can only surmise that she uses this room as her main living area because I’ve seen other things as well. Lots and lots of things.
Piles and piles of newspapers, documents, and magazines sitting on tables and chairs and furniture that fills the older part of the home. Clothing draped here and there and everywhere. Books and knickknacks and glassware and collections of ephemera that range from country decor, to Victorian bric-a-brac, to colored glass bottles. Boxes of who-knows-what. Household appliances. At least one bicycle. Hutches and cabinets that are filled with stuff. Walls that are filled with art.
All of this is easy to see from the sidewalk. What I can’t see, and what I wonder about, is her upstairs. What might be taking up space up there? My guess is that there are at least four bedrooms. I ask myself if this lady could be a hoarder. Her yard is very large, and well cared for. She has a service. Her carport does have a collection of junk(?) leaving just enough room for her car to squeeze in. There’s a mystery shed on her property line that I park my car next to. Clean on the outside, never opened.
Okay, I do understand that none of this is really my business, but it’s so hard not to speculate. I bet you would too if you walked by her windows. I’ve lived here about 9 months and the stacks have grown, slowly yes, but grown since I moved in. If she is a hoarder, I would call her a relatively neat one, even rather organized at this point.
All that paper worries me though, along with what might be upstairs. A small fire would grow enormous very quickly with the fuel that is sitting in those rooms.
So now it’s true confession time. When you are out exercising or walking the dog, or whatever it is you might do around your neighborhood, do you take a peek? What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve ever seen inside your neighbors window?