The inadvertent voyeur

We love our apartment. It is in an old palace. The ground floor was built in the late 15th century. The floors above have been expanded and converted into apartments.  The building faces the Arno river.  Our apartment is on the top floor (4th floor) but faces a side street.  If we stick our heads out the windows we can peer around and see the river.  We do have significant road noise.  The aforementioned side street is a bridge street across the Arno, so it gets a lot of traffic.  Especially, late night pedestrian traffic after the clubs close….Italians certainly have much to proclaim in the late night hours.

On the other side of the street facing our windows, is another apartment building.  The street is two lanes.  It provides the perfect width for our windows to look down into the windows of the apartments across the street.  I have never been a city dweller.  I am still learning how to avoid looking into someone else’s apartment.  It’s one of those acquired social etiquite things.  My learning curve has resulted in some moments ‘in delicto.’

The first night, I went to adjust the shutters, and seeing movement in a lower apartment my eyes automatically focused in this movement.  (* Side note: Voyeur justification- Having spent much of my life outdoors, hiking trails, etc…when you see movement in the woods, you automatically look to see what possible beastly creature is in your vicinity.)  My eyes focused in on a naked man walking from his bathroom to his bedroom.  It is not as though he was parading in front of his window. He was at least twelve feet back from his window and I was looking through a darkened front room into the back of his apartment where the bathroom was located.  The angle of our view is expansive.  I immediately felt a twinge of embarrassment and turned away, thinking to myself:  “welcome to Europe.”

Having, thought I learned my lesson the previous night, the next morning as I opened the bedroom shutters, my eyes automatically tracked down towards the street.  Damned if they didn’t track right into a window.  And in that window looking up at me was a teenage girl wearing a shirt and not much else.  She must have seen movement above and looked up.  Our eyes briefly met….and I mean briefly, because I turned away before I could see her reaction.  That glimpse went a long way toward hastening my learning curve…..not to mention that I am now concerned that the people across the street think that there is some perv’ American living above them….a proud moment. Then again, they probably didn’t think twice about it.

A couple of days have passed; no more embarrassing moments. I am learning.  Instead of the old axiom “Eyes front,” it’s now “Eyes down….straight down”   Aahh, life in the city.

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One comment

  1. It’s a sad part of city life in general that I’ve found (having always lived in a city) that people generally don’t make eye contact.

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