Thursday, February 9, 2012

Every Window Tells a Story

Every Window Tells a Story, 2012
I figure every window in this picture’s got a story. (Or as Rod Stewart put it, every picture’s got a story.) The muse is evading me at the moment, though. So we’re going to have to work together to draw from this picture whatever stories there are to be told about these windows.
Let’s start at the top.
It seems safe to say that the lady who lives in the apartment at the top left, the one with the curtains neatly tied back, is so neat and tidy that she probably avoids the hallways when she hears the man next door. I mean, really. Who wants to be around a man—he probably smells—who’s got a big hole in the glass in one window (the one beside the fire escape) and another in which he can’t seem to figure out to manipulate the Venetian blinds?
Maybe this same lady invites her widowed friend from downstairs, the one who lives in the apartment with the plants in the window and has no air conditioner, to come up on hot summer afternoons to have a bowl of ice cream and watch South American midget wrestling on the satellite television. The lady from downstairs can afford neither an air conditioner nor a satellite dish. The lady upstairs means well, but her repeated mentions of how comfortable the window air conditioner makes the apartment and how her son who lives out on Long Island is so nice to pay for the satellite dish just sounds like so much bragging after a while.
The retired couple in the lowest apartment we can see on the left is obviously scared of break-ins. Why else would they have that metal screen over the window by the fire escape? They probably like the young lady who lives in the apartment next to them, the one with the window at the bottom right. But does she have to bring so many men home with her at night? And do the kids that hang around the bodega downstairs have to play that music so loud? And what about their own son, Mister Big Shot works on Wall Street and lives in Manhattan? Would it kill him to pick up the phone and call his mother once in a while?
Speaking of Rod Stewart, I was a fan in his early days. But then one snowy Sunday in 1971 I was getting a ride with a friend back to college after visiting my girlfriend at her college across the state when we happened to stop at the all-girls Hollins College for the driver to enjoy what turned out to be an extended afternoon and evening of bliss with an old flame. I didn’t want to sit out in the cold car, so I went looking for someplace warm to hang out and found a girl I knew slightly. She invited me to wait in her room, but didn’t want to do anything but play cards and listen to music. The only record she had was Rod Stewart’s then new “Every Picture Tells a Story,” which I figure we must have listened to in its entirely at least 11 times. As far as I’m concerned, that’s more Rod Stewart than anyone should have to endure in a lifetime, no matter what he says about pictures telling stories.


  1. Apartment house living can be even stranger than these windows. Take it from one who grew up in these dwellings.

  2. Lots of good stories in every neighborhood, I suppose!