Over the last year or so I have spent an inordinate amount of time at home, for one reason or another, and have become my own version of Rear Window. I don’t go so far as using binoculars to spy, but I have to say, I’m quite the stalker.
We live in a neighborhood that backs up to a little shopping center, where the activity never stops. From my backyard patio, looking up, you see beautiful trees and mountains and feel like you are in paradise. From the upstairs, you see CVS and the other lovely retail stores, getting quite the reality check.
Spending so much time upstairs in my office, [because I work from home, and am a computer junkie], I tend to stare out the window more often than not, while I work. I have some of the best people-watching sightings from the comfort of my own home. You think waiting at the airport to board a flight is good stuff? Come hang with me for a day. I have my own personal Wal Mart-like shoppers in my own backyard.
So here I sit, elbow on desk, chin resting in the palm of my hand, staring out at the hustle bustle of the parking lot. Out of the corner of my eye I see a person jogging and I turn to look at this woman running by, in a tutu. That’s right…she’s jogging in a pink tutu. Seriously? Why on earth would anyone consciously put on a tutu and go out for a run?
My favorite sighting is at lunch time, when the firemen pull up in their ‘rig’ and slowly descend from the fire truck…one by one...step by step…suspenders hanging down from their broad shoulders, draping their lean hips…their hard bodies…………..oh…sorry…I was getting a little carried away there.
There is a mailbox on the sidewalk across the street that does more business than the post office. I didn’t really think people did snail mail much anymore, but to my surprise, people are dropping off letters at all hours of the day and night. And they don’t quietly or gently open the chute door, they bang it open and closed like they are making sure everyone in a 5 mile radius can hear them. And who mails letters at 3AM in the morning? Let me tell you who…the people in my town do. Can’t they put it in their own mailbox and wait for the letter carrier to come, or at least do it a little more quietly so as not to bolt me to an upright position in the middle of my beauty sleep?
There is also a bank in this mini shopping center. Yes…I have the pleasure of staring out at the Chase sign; the bright blue NEON Chase logo that shines into my bedroom window each and every night. But during the daylight hours…it’s amazing to watch the people and their habits as they use the ATM machines. Some of them looking around shifty eyed, like they are attempting to take money that’s not rightfully theirs. Body language abounds…frustrated when the machine isn’t spitting it out like it should. Stomping and hitting it until it does what they are electronically asking of it. Then there are those who are checking themselves out in that little camera mirror…picking food out of their teeth or fixing their hair, some even putting on lipstick. Do they not realize they are on camera and probably are the talk of the tellers the next day? I know when I go up to an ATM I try to act really nonchalant as if I don’t know I’m being taped…because I’m just that cool, [or so I like to pretend.]
I love watching the people who go into the little café. They walk in spry and bouncy and come out slow and lumbering…holding their stomachs, obviously having eaten too much. Show a little discipline people!
The car alarm noises are astounding. First of all, who even pays attention to car alarms anymore? The sirens and flashing lights are like an everyday occurrence and not one person looks over to see if anything out of the ordinary is going on. All it does it irritate the shit out of all the people in the surrounding areas to a point where you want to just go over and smash in the window yourself to turn it off. It would never occur to me that anyone was actually breaking into the car itself. Is that what car alarms are still used for? I think not.
Anyway…one afternoon I hear voices coming from the parking lot. Angry voices. Shouting voices. Inaudible to begin with until I open the window and peek my head out so far I almost fall over and splat onto the patio bricks. But I contain myself, although not able to hear any of the conversation; only muffled voices like the parents in the Peanuts cartoons. It had started with just one cop car. A few minutes later, another pulls up, and then another, until there are 6 cop cars surrounding this one guy. He’s sitting on the ground yelling at them but no handcuffs are on him. So I figured he couldn’t have been trying to rob the bank or they would have immediately handcuffed him. He also wouldn’t be alone, because no one robs a bank by themselves. [Or so I’ve seen on NCIS and every other TV show I watch.] They are there questioning him for what seems like hours. Then he tries to escape and I hear gun shots. Are you kidding me? Gun shots in MY neighborhood? Oh…..my…..god. I duck down under my desk until I think it’s safe to come out, almost peeing in my pants. When I finally do come out after who knows how long…everyone is gone. Huh? How can that be?
Later that day, I ask around if anyone had seen or heard anything, but most of the people I know are gone during the day…so no one knew anything. After a while, I let it go since I wasn’t getting anywhere with the neighbors, and had forgotten all about it. Then one night, I’m sitting on the couch, watching NCIS LA, and there is MY scene. There they all are…the cops, the guy sitting on the ground, the Chase Bank ATM and MY parking lot. MY parking lot! Wow…how stupid could I be? How could I have not known they were shooting a scene? I guess all those trees I see from below were obstructing the cameras and lights from my view above. And then…as I’m watching the scene, they do a panoramic view from the parking lot, and there I am…there’s my little head looking out the window from across the street!
I believe I should be receiving royalties for my cameo role soon.