Friday, June 1, 2007


Our dining table sits about five feet away from where the wandering public passes by, giving us a wonderful window into what's moving on our street. We're in a little boat and the universe outside floats and bobs by, making me wonder sometimes if it's me who's moving or them. Tour boats swim past in the canal and the occupants are so close, I can read their expressions. Deeply interested. Deeply bored. In a trance. Wide-eyed curious. I sit still inside and spectate everything happening outside our window and it goes down like a calming elixir.

From the outside in, I can take guesses what strangers see. They see a lot, actually. From the moment we open the curtains, the theater is on, especially for tourists. They peer in without hesitation, sometimes pointing at something, and I can read their lips murmuring something about "they must be eating dinner" (seemingly too obvious for mention, but travel seems to bring out a desire to re-discover even the simplest things) or "look in this house, honey". Often I have wondered if, upon striking the last note, I'll turn around on my piano bench to see an uninvited but welcome audience peering in the window.

There are times when participants on either side of the glass are prone to a dumb stare. What else do you do? I suppose, in some ways, we look a bit like caged animals, sitting at our table and living our life in a shadowbox. But all the same, sitting and eating near a window is a feature of our host town, and I like it. We aren't locked away somewhere, impervious to what might be happening outside of our walls. Heck, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we invite one of our outside visitors in for dessert.

Yes, I like it. Come join us at the table sometime, to watch or be watched. Be a part of our living reality tv show. We'll pour the wine and do the dishes. The rest is up to you and whoever happens to pass by.


Arthur said...

you ought to open your own little what you think it's worth type of thing...oh yeah, bring your pets also...offer free treats for the furry ones as an incentive.

Michael P. said...

This reminds me of a time when I was sitting in an class in college that overlooked Cleveland Avenue near Summit at St. Thomas in St. Paul.

I thought, "What would the class do if someone got in a fight right outside our window?" So I recruited a few buddies, grabbed a handful of discarded computer paper and staged a fight outside my class window just as the class began. My buddies threw me into the patio door window so it would get everyone's attention, then I let the papers fly and yelled that was my rough draft that was due that day (and not completed.)

Then they proceded to fake punch me. However, one knee did find my nose, which started to bleed.

A couple professors came running outside to break it up and my buddies took off. I told them I was okay and walked into my classroom with a bloody nose.

I thought it was hilarious. My professor didn't.