Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's That Outside My Window?

Our 27th floor apartment is situated so that none of the neighbors in our building or ones nearby can see in. Quite a selling point in Manhattan real estate, where neighbors in the adjacent building can be as close as the ones next door.  If we crane our necks and squish our faces flat against the kitchen window, we can see the living room of an apartment a couple of floors below.  It's quite stylish with contemporary floor lamps, glass table, some kind of abstract art on the wall.  But, we hardly ever look, hardly ever. . .

Sometimes when I forget an "unmentionable"(is that a word only women over 50 from the South use?) in the bedroom, I tiptoe from the shower, glancing left and right to make sure that there aren't any telescopes pointed in my direction.  How would I know?  Who would be interested anyway?  I grab a towel, just in case.  "A woman is nothing, if not modest."  A Southernism, to be sure.

So, you can imagine my shock, total disbelief, even momentary discombobulation when I lifted my head from my laptop to see three men staring right at me, faces-to face. They were standing outside our living room window, outside the glass, waving! A distant email from the building management inched its way through my paralyzed brain. Something about window washers and using window shades to ensure privacy.

These window washers looked so comfortable, nonchalant even, in their car-size window washing contraption. The only window washer I had ever seen sat on a bench, suspended from ropes which were somehow attached from far above.  He was thankfully strapped in, just in case something broke, frayed, detached, or if the window washer, himself, got distracted by apartment goings-on and let go.

Hurrying to grab my camera, thinking, "The grandchildren would love to see this!" I motioned to the trio if I could take their picture.  A couple of them stopped, smiled ever so slightly, which I took to mean "yes."

It didn't seem like the proper time to stick a piece of paper and pencil out the slit of a window to get their written permission to use their pictures on my blog.  I'm hoping they won't mind, or better yet, never know.

I must say that I have great admiration for the work window washers do, or anyone who works more than a ladder's height above the ground.  My fear of heights borders on phobic, with weak knees, light-headedness, and a semi-paralysis which keeps me glued to the ground.  So how can I live on the 27th floor and look down at tiny people and cars?  I have great admiration, and trust, for those people who make strong, thick glass.  

(My latest article for Downtown Magazine - "Nathan Hale, American Patriot, To Be Remembered at City Hall Plaza" - is now online at  Thanks for reading!)



  1. This one still has me giggling. I had to go back and make SURE you were dressed when you saw them!

    (We say unmentionables. And foundation garments. But...I did live in the South for many years, so I may be skewing your informal poll.)

  2. "Foundation garments. . " Now that's an expression I haven't heard since conversations with my grandmother. So proper. And, yes, I was dressed. Heavens, how totally unacceptable if I were not!

  3. Thanks for the laugh. You really can paint a fun picture with your words.

  4. Thanks, it was fun to write. . . almost as much fun as the experience itself. :-)


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