Saturday, January 24, 2009

Neighborhood Watch

Some people are eavesdroppers, others cannot resist looking into apartment windows. I am a complete and total people watcher. Most of my people-watching occurs on my commute to and from work. Sure, I can flip through the Metro, sip my coffee, or listen to my iPod, but don't think for one second that I'm not watching you. Because I am. Of all of the people that I watch, I have three favorites:

1. The family that lives right near where I wait for the bus. Every morning, they burst out of the house in a flurry of chaotic activity. There's a dad, a dog, and a bunch of kids, but no mom. Where is she? Dead? Did she leave them? One of the kids takes the dog out, then brings the dog in. Sometimes the dog escapes. Usually someone forgets something. They have wicked thick Boston accents. They all pile into a station wagon so the dad can drive them to school. Who drives station wagons anymore? Usually a couple surly teenage girls join them- a free ride outweighing the uncoolness of being driven to school in a station wagon. This week, on trash day, the smallest boy slipped on some ice and fell into a pile of trash bags. It was hilarious.

2. The gay deaf guy who lives in my neighborhood. I used to see him on the bus and he seemed kind of sad and wore ugly clothes. Then he got a boyfriend! I see them together all of the time, signing happily to each other. And boyfriend had a great influence on his style- all of the sudden, he started wearing Puma zip-ups and cool sneakers. They seem so happy together, it warms my cold little people-watching heart.

3. The Mafia Florist. My lab is located right near a wholesale flower depot, and I walk by it on my way to work. There's a man who works there who I assume is the boss or the owner. He is always standing out front, talking on his cell phone, dealing with vendors and directing the loading and unloading of trucks. He wears remarkably fine clothing. Beautifully tailored suits, a fedora, a long wool coat- like someone straight out of the 1940's. And he is always there- mornings, evenings, weekends. The Mafia Florist never sleeps. I might even have a crush on him, even though he's a good decade older than me and possibly a hit man trying to pass himself off as an ordinary citizen with a fondness for flora.
Now that I'm writing about this, I realize that I may come across as a little bit creepy. But I don't think I'm alone here- fess up, fellow people watchers!
Oh, the picture above came from searching Google Images for the neighborhood watch logo. I kind of love it.


Kris said...

Except I spent 30 seconds squinting and trying to figure out where you were in the picture.

(It's early.)

I do the people-watching thing too, but mostly it just involves straining to see glimpses of our hot gay neighbours in the hopes they might be, like, doing push-ups shirtless in the yard or something.

Anonymous said...

I am what is called a wall eye. I was one in Westwood but now that i have more of a 'city' neighborhood it's gotten worse. I hear anthing unusual and i am opening my shades and peering out. I creep myself out. I can also read a book, listen to my ipod and people watch.
Plus... have you ever seen the family stone. the worse sarah jessica parker movie made better by everyone else in the movie? they have a def gay brother. I totally thought of that when you mentioned #2 story.

eileen said...

I have seen The Family Stone and yes there was a gay deaf guy, just like my neighbor (neighbour if you're in Australia, RT) whom I am stalking. And I agree that SJP was terrible in that movie, but everyone else (Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, etc) made up for it.

"wall eye." I like it. Growing up, we had a wall eye in our hood- we used to cut through her backward and she'd always peer out from under the shade at us!

Briana said...

I think people watching is one of the glorious aspects of public transportation. My favorite is definitely NYC hipster watching, hopefully combined with some break-dancing acts on the trains or in the stations.

Up here in Vermont sometimes I see little old men come out of houses that are definitely about to fall apart. Thats about as good as it gets...

Lori said...

Ok, I admit it....I'm a people watcher and if close enough (like in a restaurant) I'm an eavesdropper. :)

It drives Rob insane, thinks I'll fall off my chair leaning in. It's not as if I'm off to tell people's secrets, I just find that snippet of their lives fascinating. It's the cross he bears by marrying me!

eileen said...

Lori, that's hilarious. I forgot that I DO easesdrop sometimes- when people are speaking Spanish. That's when you get the best info, because they have no idea that anyone can understand them!

carmen said...

this post really cracked me up! i felt like i was watching them all with you. i wish i had interesting things to watch like this. ps...mafia florist is definitely doing some shady business along with the sniffing the roses.

mj said...

I know which family you are talking about on Broadway next to the new Hub. I remember seeing that family back when I would wait for the bus when the Hub was across the street. The dog was a cute little puppy back then.

eileen said...

MJ- Ern watches the family, too! I guess strangers watching you is the price to pay for living near the bus stop.

Anonymous said...

Eileen: Enjoy your blog! I do know the family that you people watch in the morning. There most definitely is a Mom; she's likely in the house most mornings, attempting to bring order to the chaos that must result from getting 6 (7?) kids out the door in the morning!! Hope she's sitting for a few minutes with her feet up and sipping a hot cup of joe. Just wanted to put your mind at ease that Mom is alive and well.

eileen said...

Oh good! I guess I never see the Mom because she's inside at that hour.

Anonymous said...

well it's one thing to watch and what you do sounds innocent enough but have you heard of "organized stalking"?
If someone like you wants to get civic minded and act on their obsessions, they are untrained and make wrong assumptions and report these to their "block captains" who may finger someone unjustly for a program that seeks to ruin somneone and drive them into poverty, homelessness or incarceration. You think the florist is a "hit man". If you said that to someone even casually, it could go in to a file and be taken as fact for the rest oif the guy's life- after 9/11 the government set up fusion centers to keep files on private citizens and they include tips from neighborhood watch "snitches" that operate scarily like the Stasi of former communist East Germany.
I'm not trying to scare you but think that it's all funny until you become targeted by an unknown, faceless entity and you have no appeal and no justice. Their goal is to remove "undesirables" from the world and since it's all a slippery slope you may be next.
I trust you are a decent person and would want no part of it- problem is good people like yourself are being used to be the eyes and ears of these criminals, whose leaders are within local and federal government and corporate positions and whose intent often masquerades as attempts to "clean up the community" but is really just to seize power, enrich themselves and eliminate free thinking and independent individuals who would organize resistance to them.
All of this sounds like a crazy sci-fi movie, but truth is alwauys as strange as fiction.
Look not out of concern for myself or others who deal with this daily, but for your own future. Thank you.