Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Room With a View

My mother taught me the value of blinds and drapes. These are the means by which you shut out the prying eyes of the world. When the lights go on, the blinds close and the drapes are pulled tightly. This is the way to lead a private life.

Privacy was of ultimate importance to my mother. She was always convinced that everyone from the neighbors to complete strangers were in the grips of a powerful desire to see inside our home.

So I find it interesting that I am learning the value of windows that let in light and provide a view, rather than being regarded as huge holes in the walls that must be plugged.

Sunlight becomes an addiction. Suddenly, I am overcome with a desire to look out of the window and to let the outside in. But there are dangers to this behavior.

There's not a lot of automobile traffic on my street, but there is an abundance of foot traffic. People walking to the train station, walking back from town, people walking dogs and dogs walking people, the sidewalks are never empty for long. It becomes difficult to stare at the monitor screen in front of my face when brightly-clad pedestrians keep appearing in my peripheral vision.

Another threat to my limited attention span are the squirrels. Two rather scrawny and bedraggled squirrels scamper and frolic in and on the tree directly in front of my window on a daily basis. Squirrels are not exotic animals and hardly rare. I have seen thousands of squirrels in my lifetime and never felt the least interest in watching their social activities. Yet, there's something fascinating about these rascally rodents.

Okay, this is the real reason that I am now enjoying the view from my recently unveiled windows: the view is distracting. I can stare out the window and still appear to be doing something useful on my computer. I seem to be entirely focused on the screen ahead of me when in fact my eyes are trained just beyond it and on the interesting man rushing down the street with something blue wrapped up in his coat.

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