Sunday, January 30, 2011

voyeurism isn't always sexual...

or maybe it is? what the fuck do i know?

if i haven't come out here and bold-faced said it before, i have definitely alluded to it: i am a voyeur. (and yes, because i am also a big bucket of contradictions, i too am an exhibitionist.)

i like to sit quietly and watch people in their natural habitat. generally, they do little of note, and i get bored and watch someone else. but occasionally, they do something that piques my interest, regardless of how ordinary it appears.

recently, i was out smoking my pipe on my front porch, and about a quarter mile away, i see a woman in her back yard. why did this woman catch my eye at all? well, probably for the usual reasons. she was tall. the distance between us made it hard to judge, but i bet she would be a good six inches taller than me, and i am not short. she was black. she had long thin legs that were on display as all she was wearing were some brightly-colored booty shorts and a tshirt. beyond that, i had no idea what she looked like. so perhaps my initial reason for watching her was sexual: i guessed (as much as i could tell from such a distance) that she was a very attractive woman.

but as i watched her, she became more interesting to me. she apparently was on the phone. one arm kinked at the elbow to meet her head. it wasn't hard to imagine a cell clasped in that hand. she paced back and forth over and over, occasionally gesticulating with the other hand.

i knew why i was outside in my yard. smoking is prohibited in our domicile, even though both my wife and myself are smokers. we don't want our home smelling like it, and we don't want our kids exposed to second-hand smoke. but why was this woman outside? wouldn't she be more comfortable inside her house having this conversation. i tried to see if she too might be smoking as she talked. i would have no way of knowing if she had a cigarette in her hand, but her movements indicating that she was not smoking.

what kind of conversation was she having? she was pacing quite a bit. was this a heated discussion? was she getting some bad news? was she in an argument with a significant other?

as i watched her from a distance, i began to do what i generally do when i people watch: i make a story. "baby, i aint comin' home tonight." "what you mean you're not coming home tonight?" "i just can't do this anymore." "what you mean you can't do this anymore?"

after a bit, a dog ran up. ah, so this is why she is having this lengthy phone conversation outside. she is probably catching up with a family member. perhaps chatting with her best friend about a man, or work.

but she lets the dog in, and continues pacing.

maybe it is like my original story, only several weeks later. maybe there are little ears inside the house that shouldn't be exposed to what she is saying: "you motherfucker, you can't just go off and leave me for that slut and not expect some repercussions. no, i will not cut you a break on the child support. fuck you, you can discuss it with my lawyer!"

but this conversation would burn out too quickly, and the stance of this woman is not one of anger, or of shouting. i play through other possible scenarios in my head.

after a bit, i am not even focusing on the woman any longer. i am wondering if i am the only person that watches someone of interest and makes up stories about them. it's not sexual for me. i will not replay this in my head during a shower. but it is fun to sit there and watch her and imagine what is going on in her life right now. i wonder if the people-watching spawned the writing, or vice versa? did i begin to write as a method for capturing the tales i created around people i watched, or is watching individuals a natural by-product of wanting to write successfully? do my fellow writers spend as much time just watching incidences and persons out of context of anything and creating elaborate tales in their head about what led to that moment, or what was going on behind the scenes?

as i tap out my pipe and notice that the woman is still talking, and still pacing, i come to the conclusion that while the particulars may be a chicken/egg conversation, the crux of the matter is that being a successful voyeur and being a successful writer/storyteller seem to go hand in hand.

darth sardonic

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