by a neurotic woman.
I have never been much of a curtain twitcher. This is simply due to the fact that I discovered a long time ago that, usually, there is nothing of great interest to peer at furtively, unless one happens to enjoy the sight of people getting in or out of their cars or walking along the road. However, I have long enjoyed the practice of gazing out of the window. This probably began many years ago when I was a young mother at home with my babies. At that time we lived in a rented detached house at the end of a cul de sac. From my living room window, when the baby was asleep, I had a choice of gazing material. I could look at the many trees and plants surrounding the garden or look at the trains which passed by about every half hour along a high embankment which ran along one side of the house. My preferred view ,though, was of other human beings. As we lived on a small dead end road, there was no passing traffic and little activity in the road outside. However, any glimpse of my fellow humans was greatly relished due to the fact that, during that stage of my life, I was quite isolated both physically and geographically.
Now that I am self isolating at home, I find myself living a somewhat parallel existence and, once again, I find myself cherishing the sight of any human who happens to pass by in the street outside my house. An extra treat occurred recently when a friend walked passed, presumably on an essential trip, and waved to me; who would have foreseen a time when such a small thing would hold some importance? The road outside is normally used as a bit of a rat run for locals in the know. Pre-lockdown this tended to annoy me somewhat and I have been guilty of trying to persuade the local council to address the matter. Now that it is almost devoid of traffic, I find myself wishing that it was busier.
The back window of my house has long been a favourite gazing place of mine. I enjoy looking at my garden which, for the most part of the year, I manage to keep in a tidy and quite attractive state. Now though, I am not just admiring my garden, I am hoping to catch sight of neighbours from the houses that back onto my garden, such is my need to have the comfort of seeing other humans in the flesh.
I suppose that none of this is surprising, Human beings are, after all, social animals and, as in normal times, I spend most of my time in the company of adults and children, this isolation is most aberrant for me and, of course, countless other people around the world. I enjoy plenty of contact via the phone, video chats, email and social media but the sight of a real live fellow human is special. I wonder how long this pleasure will last once the world returns to normal.
Living in a crowded city in a crowded country, we have tended to relish the times when we have space and peace away from the bustle of many others; perhaps, in the times to come, when this period of isolation is over, who knows, I may feel slightly different about the proximity of my fellow humans.