Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Like to Watch

I could probably make a case for myself as a non-sexual voyeur.

The fact is, I like to watch restaurants, at shows, at museums, at the beach, almost anywhere really.

It can be fascinating to try to figure out something about the people and interactions I witness, especially when I'm with a like-minded person.

Which means I couldn't pass up one of the best voyeur films of all times, Hitchcock's "Rear Window" showing at the Bowtie's Movies and Mimosas this morning.

Rallying a couple of Hitchcock lovers to go with me, we settled in the raised front row to enjoy a film that continues to be suspenseful despite multiple viewings over the years. Hats off to the master.

But aside from Grace Kelly's beauty (and wardrobe) and Jimmy Stewart's classic low-key delivery and perennial bachelor charm, it's all about sharing the Peeping Tom experience with the characters in the movie.

I've never lived in a building that afforded me the kind of multiple views that Stewart had from his apartment but I feel quite certain that I'd be as sucked in by the tableaux as he was.

Of course, part of the premise of the film was that it took place during a summer heat wave, so everyone had their windows open.

Heat wave or not, I have my windows open from April through October, so, like in the movie, it's often voices, someone's music or an unidentifiable sound that pulls me to my front windows to see what's happening on the sidewalk or street.

My rear windows provide a view of the alley overlooking my backyard, which is rarely as interesting or as busy as the street view.

But I have seen a couple torridly kissing and a party attendee relieving himself back there. The best time for good alley viewing seems to be during neighborhood parties when I get home late.

Of course, the real takeaway from "Rear Window" was simply that the convalescing Stewart had to turn to his  neighbor's windows for entertainment while his broken leg healed. It was 1954 after all.

Now a person would simply turn to his computer, TV or video games to be entertained instead. Or even sit there looking at their phone as a diversion; I see that all the time, although, Luddite that I am, I don't quite get it.

"We've become a race of Peeping Toms.What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change. Yes, sir. How's that for a bit of homespun philosophy?"

So with all our modern distractions, we may not be the voyeurs we were in 1954, but the advice is probably just as relevant.

Resolved: I'm on my way out in order to look in.

I just can't imagine I'll be anywhere near as interesting as some of the other people I watch.

What I can be is as hot as the people in a 1954 heat wave, but I'm okay with that.

"You'd think the rain would have cooled things down. All it did was make the heat wet."

All the more reason to leave my windows open. Front and rear.


  1. This morning, I took my mother to this showing. "Rear Window" is amongst my top all time favorite movies. I enjoyed the applause at the end of its run from the audience. It was worthy of such.

    Unfortunately, my mother no longer does stairs well. So, we watched with delight and treats I supplied of grapes and a cored crisp apple. My neck was craned as though I was in a planetarium. This less than ideal viewing angle caused me nausea and dizziness I could not dispel for hours.

    Grace's intro with her softly focused descent to a power kiss is my second favorite screen kiss. Plus- If I could, I would love to share cocktails with Thelma Ritter. She was always dry as a good martini and sly as a politician.

    In keeping with your culture and the food we eat. I brought her back to my home with flowers stem-by-stem I selected from Vogue Florists across the street.

    We dined upon a herbed encrusted grilled rack of lamb, Farfalle with an Arugula pesto from my organic garden and a salad of radicchio, endive, capers, fresh artichoke hearts, freshly roasted red peppers and three rings of thinly sliced red onion. Our salad was in a star shape with the exclusion of the three rings.

    Why? I thought what better way to celebrate Father's Day. My present to my late father (20-plus years) was to give a special day to the love-of-his-life.

    Should I be blessed with a child, I hope he/she takes good care of my love when I reel away from this mortal coil. If not, I will be sure that my love knows she is forevermore irreplaceable.

    It is a long road with many twists and turns...

  2. I am also a fan of that kiss and all the more so when he asks her, "Who are you?"

    Humor wins me every time.

    Celebrating your mother on Father's Day is a beautiful gesture. Good for you.

    As you can no doubt tell, my road continues to twist and turn.

  3. "I don't know when I will see you again. I don't, I don't.. won't know until I see you again tomorrow night."

    From a great screen kiss to a loving kiss-off.

    It wasn't just murder. Alfred Hitchcock pulled ticket buyers into a theatre with a bigger pull. He pulled heart strings through one murder mystery at a time. Knowing full well it wasn't murder, but a kiss that slays.

    Happy Monday!

    Now, enjoy a good walk, good art and a good glass of wine with friends. Your road awaits.

  4. I'm just back from my walk. I passed a guy who said "Good morning" and when I responded in kind with a smile, said, "I love your dimple!"

    That's a fine start.

    It looks to be a good rainy day and Monday, always one of my favorite combinations. We'll see what the day brings...