Jewish Journal


February 8, 2010

The Blinded Voyeur



I can’t believe my next door neighbor finally put up blinds.  What was she thinking?  Who would look in anyway at her spotless counter tops, orchid centerpiece-clad dining room table and awesome bright green mixer that I’m sure actually holds eight cups of flour when making challah dough and doesn’t droop over the sides like mine?

Who would look in and notice her late night cleaning frenzies, duster in one hand, Pledge furniture spray in the other, dressed in Juicy Couture sweats clearly not made for dusting and home cleaning? 

Ok, so I admit it.  I have actually looked in once or twice…or more.  I actually can’t help it, in fact – there is a clear, unobstructed view outside my front door, minus the greenery and hedges that guard as a gate between us.  So I admit – I stare, but let me explain…it’s not without good reason and I don’t stare for long, afraid she’ll notice and think I’m a voyeur, which I’m not – to clarify.  Hence the blinds purchase?  Nah.

Let me explain (in case my neighbor is reading this and before she puts out a restraining order).  I don’t really stare…ok, maybe a little.  But it is clearly because I am jealous of her immaculate home and cleaning frenzies.  Granted, she lives alone; no partner, children, pets, roommates or any others that I can see through her dining room window.  So, how much of a mess can one person make, really?  But still. 

It all started innocently (my peeking in, that is).  Many nights, my husband comes home late (or early, depending on if you see the glass half full or empty; like 4:00 am), being that he is a musician.  I am left at home with my son and there is only so much straightening around here I can do after he is asleep.  I am not a fan of cleaning, unlike my neighbor, so you can imagine my sense of awe when one night I stepped out of my front door to water my plants (at approximately midnight, because I don’t sleep) and saw her cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and cleaning what appeared to be an already spotless home.  I will admit that it took me much longer to water my plants that night. As I stood there soaked almost knee-high in a mud puddle, I was inspired.

So I quickly returned home, trailed in the mud and started cleaning.  (Starting first with the trail of mud, of course.)

From that night on, whenever I felt the need for inspiration or just simply felt alone (after tucking my son in for the night), I would head out my front door and water my plants that are now dying (can too much water kill a plant?) and stare, I mean - peek in to my neighbor’s, who just as I suspected was cleaning or cooking.  I even thought of taking up smoking, just so that I had a reason to stand outside my front door for a good moment or two.

I didn’t think she ever noticed me…until now.  The blinds say it all.  Now, what do I do…where do I find the inspiration?  I guess I will just give up on cleaning altogether or see if my neighbors on the other side are tidy.  No…that would just be wrong.

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