Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Some people make such an unreasonable fuss about privacy, I can’t believe it. Mind you when it comes to privacy of SIN’s and bank cards, I’m as paranoid as anyone else. But there is another form of privacy panic that I just can’t understand.

And that is the people who panic if there’s a crack in the curtain or one warped slat in the blind. I’ve been to campsites where I’ve seen people erecting blinds around their campsites that took the better part of their three-day weekend. The rest of the weekend was spent making regular rounds to check for any tiny gaps made by wind, rain, or the like. The intensity of the attention to their "blind" left little time for any fun-stuff. And since all these campers were strangers from diverse ends of the globes, did anyone care how they operated within their own space? Though such intensity in the name of secrecy made even me, who cares so little how others live their lives, curious enough to want to have a look.

But to discuss privacy a bit further, when Daughter moved into her newly purchased house, the neighbour rushed into the yard the next day to introduce herself and to make a request. And this was how the request was made:

"I need to tell you something. My husband and I like our privacy. We like to roam around our bedroom and study with no clothes on. These rooms are directly across from your back bedrooms. So would you mind putting up heavy curtains on those two windows – you know, so we can feel comfortable about our privacy?"

I was stymied by the request. How was one supposed to interpret such a request? Was this a joke? A comical ‘heads-up and take a peek’, or was she dead serious? I think she was dead serious. So does that mean that curtains are like fences between neighbouring lots? They have a purpose jointly shared, so they must be jointly discussed?

I didn’t know what to think. Truth is, I don’t care what the neighbours are doing as long as it doesn’t affect me. I don’t watch the road to see who passes by and I don’t always see those who walk by unless they come into the yard to speak to me. But this privacy thing – I keep worrying that I am missing some very important aspect of it. Maybe there is a greater protocol then my simple expectation of common decency. Stuff like my part in maintaining a level of privacy between me and my neighbours. But I don’t know what my role is and I don’t know why privacy is so ultra-important to some and so unimportant to others? One thing I do know, when it’s ultra-important, I get sudden and unexpected full-blown attacks of a form of deadly curiosity that could lead me to crawl on my belly in the tall grass to see what I can see.

When I was a kid, we used to sing a song with these lyrics:

"I was looking back to see if he was looking back to see
If I was looking back to see, if he was looking back at me."

I guess if I look out my window at my neighbour and see him/her looking back to see if I am looking back to see…" etc.etc. I need to rush into town and get some heavier curtain fabric or boards for a high privacy fence – after all privacy is important. Right?


Blogger RP said...

And did your daughter suggest that THEY invest in curtains instead? What a ballsy thing to do.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

rp, thanks for the comment. Seems like lately people are not too talkative. Maybe a bit depressed but as I noticed in my previous post, you took the cure. Glad of that.

As for your comment, neither daughter and I responded -- we were too stunned -- too much information from that neighbour. :)

10:54 AM  
Blogger RP said...

Happy to be of service. Generally speaking, your blog is a thing of beauty. Seriously.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

*shoulder shoving rp and blushing*

1:42 PM  

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