Peeping Tom

April 25, 2006

It was recently brought to my attention that I have a reputation among the neighbors as a peeping Tom, and I know exactly how that reputation originated.

Two summers ago, I was doing the finish work on the Regal Beagle, the grill/bar area in our back yard. It was August, and scorching, searing hot outside.

I was up on a ladder, installing some lighting. The location of the light's junction box necessitated a particular location and angle for the ladder. It happened to give me a view into the neighbor's back yard, and that view happened to show me nothing but their hot tub.

A new couple had just rented the house. I had seen them in and out for a couple of days, and I might haven even told them hello. Of course you see where this is going.

They came out of the house, clad in swimsuits, and got in the hot tub. I think they're crazy to want to baste in chlorine water when it already feels like a hundred degrees, but whatever. I tried to keep my eyes on my task.

By and by, they started making out. Then, I glanced over and noticed that the suits were lying on the side. And then... almost... yes... BINGO! We have intercourse!

So that's when I officially became a voyeur.

But before you get titillated, let me describe what I could see. A giant, hairy, man back and butt. It sloshed around as if it were a dead sea creature getting rocked by small tidal waves. There was no sign of the female underneath. In fact, if I didn't know better, I would actually think that he as trying to make a meal of her. I don't mean that in a nasty way. I mean that he looked like a lion gorging on an antelope. A hairy, fat, sweaty lion.

(If this story sounds familiar to you, I actually wrote a post about it right after the event. My provider had some sort of technical problem, and this particular story didn't make it through the recovery. Either that or big hairy neighbor knows good hackers.)

There is no chance that they saw me, or that they know that I had to witness this. I didn't mention it immediately. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny showed up with lunch as I was finishing up, and there we sat, just across the fence and some bushes, eating our sandwiches, while they squirmed around in the hot cesspool.

It turned out that the man wasn't around much. Rumor has it that he had a wife somewhere else, and just hopped into Baton Rouge for a quick poke now and then.

The chick spent a year or so in the house. I saw her leave to go work out once or twice, but she didn't get out much. There was clearly no job, and no hobbies were evident. She did like to go out in the back yard after midnight, sit alone, and play Coldplay albums really loud. Sometimes she would be in the hot tub, sometimes just in a chair.

When she would do this, I would go into our bathroom and turn on a light. Our bathroom light is the only one she could see from that back yard. I counted on the assumption that she was stupid, and that she would think I could see her better with the light on rather than in the dark. (Of course, with the light on at night, I could see only my own reflection. I just wanted her to know I was there.)

I think my bathroom light episodes were the ones that started the neighborhood tongues wagging about me being a peeping Tom. As if I would want to watch her sit in a chair and listen to Coldplay. I just wanted to get some shuteye.

She's long gone, and there are now two new guys living in the house next door. Nice guys. Louie set out to make nice with all of his new neighbors, and has filled the previously unoccupied role of telling us what all of the other neighbors say about us. Thus, the new knowledge of being a suspected pervert. God only knows what he tells the neighbors what we say about them.

Yesterday after work, I dragged the trash to the Curb for Tuesday morning pickup. As I turned to go back in, I saw a mist coming from the front of their house. I walked slowly back, trying to stay discretely behind a car and the shrubs. When I got right up to my front door, I could see the whole picture: Louie was sitting on his front stoop, smoking a cigarette. Somehow, he had started a little brush fire in the dry leaves in his flower bed. He was blowing on it in a futile attempt to put out the fire.

I got Mrs. theskinnyonbenny to go spy on him out of the window, to make sure the fire went out without incident.