Thursday, 30 June 2016

Richer than fiction

I do something rather creepy at night. Self-admittedly I am a bit of a creep. Allow me to explain…

Each evening when the day reaches that tipping point into ‘sleep prep time’ I get a little restless. I experience a surge of energy and a touch of crazy that either results in one final blast of creativity or me wearing out the floorboards from pacing back and forth so much. When the latter happens the one thing that calms me, is to pack up into the car and set off on a drive about town. This makes sense  because my mother says that when I was a baby the only way to get me to sleep was to drive around the block. Little did she know she was setting a pattern for life, as it appears I have not grown out of this.

This drive which, bless my husband happens more nights than not, does wonders for me. I sit warmed up on the passenger side (thank you to whoever came up with seat warmers in cars… Just, thank you) and stare out the window, taking in as much detail as possible and dreaming the stress of the day away. In particular, I am most thrilled by those people still awake whose lights are on...

Yes, here comes the creepy part. Thanks for waiting…

I love to look up through the windows, into the homes of others as we pass by. I see so many interesting objects, so much rich unique detail. I get a snapshot, a glimpse into a private world. Seconds of someone’s life are highlighted for me by the yellow glow of a table lamp.

I take comfort in seeing someone else curled up into a blanket staring out at the water, longingly. My heart swells at the sight of lovers or friends (perhaps unknowingly meant to be lovers) dancing cheek to cheek in their kitchen while their wine glasses teeter precariously on the windowsill nearby. I marvel at the brilliance of stacking empty canvas frames against a window to create a ‘frame within a frame’ of an ocean view. I spot a man sitting alone at a table, staring down at a coffee mug, seemingly bereft and beside him, in the next apartment, which might as well be another world away, a woman doing the exact same thing. I want to call up at them, “Knock on your wall!”... I don’t.

Each of these stories moves me. Each one inspires. Each let’s me know that I’m not alone in the madness of this fleeting existence.

I think of what people see when they pass our window... which words, sentences or paragraphs of our life together are highlighted for their view. I wonder...

Is this the kind of thing that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s, 'Rear Window'?  Probably not, but it’s a nice thing to muse on. I love that film. I love these drives and I love my husband for taking me on them.

Happy night wanderings to you, fellow creatives and restless spirits...  The world is chock full of peculiarities and inspiration. It’s true what they say, real life is stranger than fiction… but I’d like to alter that slightly to say this… in my experience, real life is richer than fiction, much, much richer. It's all in the details.


- Creepy J

*J, I do this on the bus, I'll look around and make up stories about people's lives. This practice is probably why we are both such storytellers. - M

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© M&J
Maira Gall