Have you seen The Neighbors’ Window by director Marshall Curry? The short film features an exhausted married couple with three kids, who watch their twenty-something neighbors through their window. It won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short. If the story sounds familiar, it might be because you heard the true story told by Diane Weipert on the Love + Radio podcast.
I moved about a million times in my life already. In one of my old apartments, I could see a neighboring family clearly through my living room window. We ended up becoming friends in real life, and we would text each other saying “I see your husband got a haircut!” “I wonder why your husband is riding his bicycle completely naked on the home trainer in the living room every Sunday evening!” or “Are those your in-laws visiting?” It was a strange but fun part of living in the city.
I love the countryside, don’t get me wrong. But things like my neighborhood watch make my urban living heart happy. When I lived in New York City, I could see clearly into my neighbor’s kitchen from my living room window. So, I saw when he was home or cooked. And occasionally, when he walked around naked! I refer to him affectionately as the naked neighbor. He and I ended up becoming friends and I always felt a sense of comfort when I would see him cooking, just knowing he was next door. I was sad when naked neighbor moved out. Then a couple with a dog and a six-year-old moved in. They were far less entertaining and never naked in the kitchen.
I sometimes write at my desk close to the window and naturally observe things without being creepy. Hey, I am a writer. Writers do that. There is a huge apartment complex across from where I live. One day, I saw a man come to a woman’s apartment. The man stayed in the living room while the woman went into the bedroom to get ready to go out. I watched her get all dressed up and put on makeup and perfume while he paced back and forth nervously in the living room. Then she came out and they gazed into each other’s eyes and left to go out. I munched on some chips and salsa while I watched. It was like watching a movie.
Then, there is this elderly couple. They enjoy brunch while reading the newspaper every Saturday and Sunday for hours just with their underwear on. The other day I met them at the store and they greeted me. “Hi. You are our neighbor, right? From across the street. We love your place and your son is so cute,” they said while strolling down the bread aisle. Creepy? Kinda, but I don’t really think so.
One more, then I will let you go because I could go on and on with these stories. Like, save the best for last. In one of my old apartment, I could see right across the alleyway into my neighbor’s apartment. He used to pull his blinds down so that the only part of him that was visible was from his upper thigh (window sill level) to his mid-torso (bottom-of-the-blinds-level). He was always naked and it used to crack me up. I don’t know if I ever saw him on the street because the only part of him I would have recognized was his privates. Creepy level: 5/5.
Overall, I think this movie is an incredible story and reminder about appreciating what I have, and whether the grass is really greener on the other side because it is not. Overall, neighbor-watching is fun.
Jeff: “Why would a man leave his apartment three times on a rainy night with a suitcase and come back three times?” ” Lisa: “He likes the way his wife welcomes him when he comes back home.” – Alfred Hitchcock