Thursday, December 3, 2009


I once stayed in a hotel room in Paris with a bathroom overlooking the major street in front of the hotel. The most noticeable feature of the bathroom was a window in the shower. It wasn't a frosted window and there were no curtains provided. The view from the hotel across the street was no doubt interesting as was the sidewalk view from across the street. Since the window opened and had a latch closing, I took a blue shopping bag, covered the window, closed and latched it so I could take a shower without becoming an x-rated peep show. I'm pretty sure I could never get a job stripping because who would want to see my poor body and pay for it, therefore, no one gets to see it for free either.

Years later, I saw an article in a magazine called "Voyeurism in Paris." Apparently, it is common practice in that city to walk the streets playing peeping tom and watching others go about their lives through their uncovered windows. Call me paranoid, but I don't see walking the streets in the dark, and peeking into other's homes as entertainment. To me, it borders on the criminal and if it isn't, it should be. One's home should be one's castle and if one wants to be observed, one can venture into recognized public arenas. Granted, "candid camera" is everywhere these days, and even more reason to be able to have privacy in one's own home or hotel room or bathroom. If I am going to be observed under lights, I expect to also observe anyone who is watching me. It brings to mind slasher films where a peeping tom observes from the dark exterior of the house, the vulnerable young, defenseless female, before entering the residence to slash her to bits and dismember her. Ever hear of Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, Hillside Strangler, Jeffrey Dahmer? None of them are fiction and sick people wander the streets every day.

I'm probably the only homeowner in my neighborhood who has drapes on all windows and closes them at night. Other houses have "window treatments" that consist of draping valance fabrics on the top fifteen inches of the windows, and otherwise having open views of the inside of their houses, night and day. Lights go on inside houses, and all activities and people are observable from the dark exterior. I don't go around the neighborhood looking into windows, but it is obvious to see when driving past from the street. It brings to mind the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright whose home designs featured curtainless windows.

I know someone who recently complained about having a home "intruder" but admitted they never lock their doors. In what century do they think they are living? Have they never heard of burglars, serial killers, drug abusers, or lunatics? One journalist put it well when she said, "If I leave my car unlocked, my purse on the front seat and you steal it, it makes you a thief and me a damned fool." Whatever happened to common sense? I like to think I am saving weak people from their baser inclinations rather than enabling their lack of self-control. I lock doors, have burglar alarms, and cover all windows at night. Yeah, I know, stuff happens, but it won't be because I invited it. Reality Check!