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“I’m in the middle of a mystery and it’s all secret.”

April 27th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Nothing makes television more fascinating than watching it through someone else’s window. Normal, boring stuff – folding laundry, watching people watch a TV program you don’t even like, eating dinner — it’s all hypnotic when you watch other people do it, when they have no idea that you’re there watching them.

When I was a kid I’d take forever to walk the dog, walking as slowly as I could so I could safely gaze into open windows while still moving down the street. Stopping to really take it in or moving closer into the bushes, that’s creep territory. Usually my dog would smell a squirrel or something and yank me away before things got TOO weird.

There are several high-rise apartment buildings across from my office building. Sometimes when I’m on the phone I look out there and see blinds opening and shutting, people walking in front of the windows, sometimes leaning out. It blows my mind, to think of all that eating, sleeping, cleaning and living that goes on right over there while I have my face up against this electronic lotus flower.

Somebody else must have found my tossing and turning the other night to be pretty mind-blowing, too. When I woke up yesterday morning, I could see two perfect handprints in the dust outside my bedroom window:

Handprints on my bedroom window

You can see them there in the top third of the photo, especially that one in the top right corner.

They either climbed up the fire escape and tried to slide the window upwards with their flattened palms, or they sat there transfixed with their hands on the glass while my girlfriend and fought over the blankets. I don’t think they sat there and tracked the progress of my morning glory vines like I do every time I come home, that’s for damn sure.

My girlfriend left around six, leaving me to fight waking up just as hard as I fight falling asleep. When I saw those hands hovering over my plants, I didn’t even really freak out as much as I could have. Or as much as I should have. Calling my landlord, calling the cops, placing my hands over the prints just to make sure they really were on the outside … all that stuff would come in time.

But for a few minutes I just laid there and savored it, felt the creepiness and the mystery swirl around. For just a few moments, I was part of my own private Blue Velvet. My fear was fighting my fascination, and no matter which one won, something special and rare was happening. And man, you got to savor those moments when you get ‘em.

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