Friday, July 11, 2008

Looking In

I remember a passage in Melissa Bank's book, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, where she describes seeing her life through a window—and realizing how small it looks.

Tonight I was walking back into my apartment from the laundry room, when I glimpsed my kitchen window. I don't think in the six years I've lived here, I've ever actually looked in that window. It's high up, at the back of my fourplex—not a place I generally hang out. But for a moment as I stared up at it, it was like looking into someone else's life. It felt foreign.

A couple of succulents line the windowsill above the sink, pumps of fancy soap and lotion a friend gave me for my birthday sit next to them. The freezer door of my fridge shows a sense of humor, covered in silly magnets and photographs of friends and family. On the wall next to it, a bulletin board holds invitations and thank you notes, a St. Patrick's Day necklace, and my half marathon race number.

I stared in, objectively assessing. It looked to me like the kitchen of someone on the verge. Someone trying hard to live life to the fullest. Someone who loves plants and people. Who would one day like to look inside and see a whole lot more.


Dingo said...

I love looking in the windows of the brownstones here in the city. Small, brief glimpses of other lives. I get to indulge my "what ifs."

semichrmd said...

I too love looking in windows of people in my complex (ok that sounded creepy stalkerish - but not in that way). I think that's the voyeur in all of us, but you know the funny thing is what you see isn't always what you get. Some people have picture perfect houses and more than not always picture perfect lives. Sounds to me like you have a lot to be thankful for!

brandy said...

So well said! I love looking in other people's places as well. (I find that it's easiest to do this at night- whoa, that sounds creepy!)

Also, the book you mentioned just happens to be one of my all time favorites EVER.

Wow, that was awkward said...

Don't let the spider webs accumulate!

JustRun said...

Okay, I confess: I am a looker in of windows. It's always so interesting to me to see other people living.
I wonder why I find them so much more fascinating than I find myself?

geekhiker said...

I looked inside my kitchen through the window in the front yard. All I thought was "damn slob needs to clean that stove top..."

Mel Heth said...

Dingo - I love looking in windows too - beach cities are a great place to do this. It's tempting to just set up camp on the sea wall and watch inside someone's house like you're watching TV! :P

Semichrmd - I do have a lot to be thankful for. My window could be a lot worse.

Brandy - It's a great book! Have you read anything else she has written? I think she released something new not too long ago.

Wow TWA - Hmm there might be a few spider webs, but I'm sure the cats have eaten all the spiders.

JustRun - I think it's the mystery. We already know ourselves - but when we look in other people's windows, we get to fill in the blanks and make up their life stories.

Geekhiker - Awe ya crack me up! I'm glad someone actually looked in their own window after reading this! And I'm sure yours isn't as "slobby" as you perceive it to be.

brandy said...

She also wrote "The Wonder Spot" but it's not nearly as good. In fact, it was rather disappointing.

As for "Then we came to the end", it's brilliant. I really enjoyed it. The ending left me a bit sad, but over all I highly recommend it!