I’ve never been afraid of the dark. Although the light doesn’t intimidate me either, I don’t perform optimally under too much fluorescence or sunshine. Late fall and all of winter are my favorite seasons.
From about early June through late September, I keep my windows open. My kitchen window faces an apartment in a building that’s next door to mine. No one currently lives there. The previous renters were public nuisances who viciously screamed at their kids, in between blasting Celine Dion’s greatest hits, at all hours. “Shut up,” I occasionally sing-songed out my window, late at night. “Tell your mother to shut up,” the chief screamer advised. One time she lectured that I should have said, “Please keep it down,” while someone in the background calmly barked out something more menacing, something vulgar. With my bathroom window open, I’ll be sitting on the toilet, daydreaming about turtleneck sweaters and blizzard warnings, and hear the sound of someone in a different next-door building pop a tab to open a can of pop. (I don’t care how long I’ve lived outside the Midwest, I won’t say “soda.”)
It shouldn’t be much longer before I get new neighbors, replacements for Celine’s loudest fans. From my lookout point, I can see that those who own the place are getting ready to show the unit. I’ve smelled the fresh coats of paint from my kitchen. And I can see how they sometimes leave the overhead lights on when they’re done working for the day – this is what might drive me back to drinking pop. (In my office, I’m the colleague who turns off lights in unoccupied areas, including bathrooms, and in occupied rooms where there’s enough natural light streaming in.) Oh, the fantasy of constructing a zip line, like Kevin’s in Home Alone which allowed him to fly between his treehouse and the main compound, so I could wriggle through the window and switch it all off.
I would also not just switch off but unplug the window air-conditioner the masters of that house think nothing of running when there’s no one around for a cool down.