Sunday, November 11, 2007

I see naked people

The best conversation flows effortlessly from one topic to another; one hardly where it's going. I had one of those on Saturday, while drinking a framboise with a friend at a local bar. One minute we were talking Belgian beer, and a few minutes later, the naked neighbors.*

For a while in 2005, everyone in our little corner of Avondale seemed to know where and when the naked people could be spotted. There were three of them living together on the second floor of a corner building. They all seemed to enjoy taking early evening showers. The window directly adjacent to the shower wasn't frosted enough to provide privacy. It probably looked ok from inside, but from the outside, especially at dusk, it provided a live nude show.

I first learned about it from my tenant Chris, who used to walk around the block when he needed a smoke. At about seven on a warm spring evening, he noticed a bunch of little boys gathered across the street, looking up at something. It was a shapely young woman washing her hair. "She was beautiful," he said, dreamily. Our neighbor Marji was not so entranced. Sometimes a man was in the shower, and she said he was "throwing himself around like King Kong." I'm not sure what that meant, but it sounded kind of transgressive. She put a note in their mailbox, which said something like "Everybody can see you taking showers!!" But, the shows continued.

It became a running joke. As I stood on the sidewalk talking to Jo-jo, who has lived on our block for over 40 years, Marji's husband came out to join us. "I know what you're out here for!" she teased. I seemed to be the only person on the block who hadn't seen the naked neighbors. Finally, as I walked home from the train, I glanced up and saw number three, a heavier woman. They were right, you could see everything. She didn't have as large of a following as her more slender roommate, but there was one spectator of note, sitting in a police squad car. The officer watched with his window down, while enjoying a cigar.

*An analysis shows that most of the digression was due to my own ADDish brain: Belgian beer>my friend's friendly bartender in Ghent>a bartender i met in Amsterdam who used to live in Chicago and was fascinated by the obesity of our police force>the cop i saw chasing a suspect while holding a cup of coffee>the cop who smoked cigars on his beat>the time he was watching the woman showering>the naked neighbors


Anonymous said...

It's somehow small comfort that I'm not the only one in the family with voyeuristic tendencies...and by "voyeuristic tendencies" I mean that I glance through picture windows as I jog by...NOT that I sneak up to the windows or drill holes in the walls of the women's washrooms or anything of the sort. I can tell you from personal experience that there are a gazillion midwestern bodies...and by "midwestern bodies" I mean lumpy, bumpy circus bodies, that wander about in front of pictures windows absolutely stitchless. I've seen remarkable and scary things.
yo bro

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

Remember the guy who used to go to your church who looked like the Pillsbury doughboy and had a penchant for cross-dressing? Of course you do. I was at a church event where he was bragging about sashaying in front of the picture window in his birthday suit. I thought "Good god, man. Have you no sense of decency?" Apologies to Joseph Welch.