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Hangry April 12, 2020 Spying in the age of Shelter in Place

The website gives us the synopsis of Rear Window (1954). “Professional photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate.”

It was hot weather: one couple slept outside on their balcony, a young woman sunbathes in the rear courtyard, a cute little dog is lowered in a basket on a rope.

Now that it has warmed up here, I see the across-the-street neighbours visiting with their daughter and granddaughters six feet away. The backdoor neighbour is painting an elaborate wooden headboard, or maybe it’s a shelf – I don’t have Jeff’s arsenal of long-distance lenses, so I can’t be sure. On our walks in the quiet streets we look judgmentally at a half-dozen cars parked at a small house. “Alberta license plate,” hubby comments, to which I reply with a stern, annoyed Marge Simpson “Hrrrm.”

A friendly guy named Steve doing yard work warns a neighbour kid to get out of the tree –- the owner is driving up. A neighbour whose hours of work have been halved is selling his Subaru — $43,000 and equipped with a 5,000 pound tow-bar, not that anyone is going camping anytime soon.

A toddler who is accustomed with visiting with his grandparents through the front window gleefully bangs on the back window when he sees me, and keeps going until I stop what I’m doing and wave. It is normal to see one woman in a car with an open window in the driveway, and another sitting on a lawnchair six feet away.

A person who is trying to de-thatch his front yard (way too early in the season) starts up a conversation, and we suspect he lives alone and just needs to talk to some people. Probably wants to get some Vitamin D, like we do. Young women prefer back porches for scrolling endlessly on their phones.

More to come, I’m afraid. Will update as I learn more.


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