How My City Works for Me

Where I live, there’s an apartment building across the street whose windows face mine. At one of those windows sits a woman, big as life, staring out.

She’s there a lot. I can’t miss her because she’s exactly at my level, eight floors up. I’m nearsighted so I can’t see her face clearly, big though it is. But it looks as if she’s looking right into my kitchen or bedroom — watching me, making me nervous in my own home.

Finally one day I decided to look at her through binoculars at a time when she seemed to be peering into my bedroom. I wanted to catch her in the act and then decide what to do about it.  But I was surprised to see that she wasn’t looking at me at all.  She wasn’t even facing me. She was looking down at the life on the street below her.

Her building is part of a large complex of several buildings. There are benches in front where people always congregate, and a bus stop where folks are always standing or sitting as they wait the long, long wait for the #15 bus. Everyone coming and going has a dog or a kid or a wheelchair or something…so there’s a lot for her to watch.

But knowing where she’s really looking doesn’t help — because whenever  I glance at her with my nearsighted eyes, I’d swear she’s looking straight at me, all day, every day.

So, now, here’s how the city works for me.  Pay attention, fellow city-dwellers!

Below me the street is full of traffic, with lots of police cars, ambulances, buses and fire engines.  It’s a major Manhattan thoroughfare, so it’s also a nightly egress for hundreds of interstate trucks. I sleep through it all, so I’m OK with that…

But my windows are filthy!

Somehow, one of the two panes remains pretty clean in both bedroom and kitchen. So what I do  now is slide the other pane, the dirty one, over so that it covers her view. I can still see the river through the other pane, but her view of me in a bizarre kitchen outfit  licking a plate, or me making my bed still in my nightie (or less), is blocked.

And that’s how my left NYC pane washes the right NYC pain!

[P.S.  Speaking of washing, you should know that despite the round of nor’Easters we’ve had here in NYC, with hurricane-like winds and lots of pounding rain, my east-facing windows remain filthy. This has enormously down-graded my respect for storms.]

5 thoughts on “How My City Works for Me

    1. Hi, Sundaram. Good to be back! I was really thrown by the change in our format and it discouraged me. It wasn’t a tantrum, just a complete lack of understanding. I’d barely grasped the former format. So I’m emailing back and forth with QuaintRevival’s Shelley and hopeful she’ll be able to answer my stupid questions! I’ve been fine. How about you?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. YAY! ELLEN!!! I’m so happy to see you back posting!! PS – I’d do something with the window situation if I lived there too.


    1. Hi, Shelley. Enjoyed your “Toys” post -wanted to send you a photo of. me with my Flupsy, toy beagle from childhood. Who, BTW, had the same personality as Snoopy – plus a lisp and a special dance he did (both thanks to my big sister). He went with me everywhere. I got Flupsy (Flopsy Wopsy Mopsy III, Flupsy for short) in 1947. Snoopy the cartoon character didn’t appear until 1951! I think Charles Schulz was hiding in my house!!! Flupsy would definitely want total credit! That’s the kind of guy he was.


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