When our landlord showed us our rental condo for the first time, she was very proud of all the window treatments. She showed how they provided a great amount of privacy while also giving us an opportunity to look outside. “Hey, cool,” we thought. One-way viewing at its finest.
The living room has sheer blinds that when open can provide air from the outside while also giving us light. At night we need to close them because people can see inside. Easy to understand: Daytime open, nighttime closed.
Our rear inside patio — the “Florida Room” in local parlance — is another story completely. This room is just off the bedroom and has become an art studio for Gorgeous.¹ In between her readings with clients, she is back there happily painting and creating her visual magic. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a door to the outside are treated with an anti-glare coating. It keeps the sun from heating everything up in the hot Florida summers here. This coating also provides a wonderful privacy.
But this is where things also become a little interesting.
I am not a man of much skill when it comes to understanding tools, home maintenance, construction, etc. “It’s broke” are words I use followed closely by having the name and phone number of a handyman to come fix whatever it is no longer working.² It was therefore obvious to me that our coated windows in the Florida room were nothing more than a one-way mirror just like on the police shows. If I was ever to interrogate someone here, I could now do so just outside these windows for Gorgeous to watch. I proudly took her outside on the afternoon after we moved in to show her that indeed, no one could see through the windows. There may have even been a sophomoric suggestion about a kind of activity that could also take place in this room since no one would ever see us. I should point out that this idea was received with what I have learned to refer to as The Silent Stare. In hindsight, I’m grateful that the suggestion was never put into play.
Since we’ve moved in, Gorgeous has happily spent much time in this room creating beautiful paintings. She can do so while looking out at trees, wildlife, and the occasional golfers in the distance. It’s all… very inspiring for her. While most of this is done during the day hours, she has worked a bit in the evenings too. Because this room also has a closet where our washer and dryer are, it is where we will often step in quickly to toss our clothes into the hamper. Each time we do so, we are often in a various stage of undress or no-dress. We are buck naked, nude, birthday suit, without a stitch. Who cares, right? No one can see us!
One evening last week, while deciding to work on her paintings, Gorgeous felt self-conscious in front of these large windows at night. In a confident voice full of bravado, I again explained how the windows are treated so that no one could see inside. In order to assuage her fears, I asked her to step outside the door and look inside. I told her I would wave my arms for her.
“Oh my God, I can see you!!!!!! I can completely see you!”
These were words I was not prepared to hear. Not believing her, I stepped outside convinced that she was somehow confused. To my surprise, I saw a very well-lit room with all of her paintings clearly in view. In addition, I could also see the fuzzy but still viewable outlines of our bedroom furnishings through the internal sliding glass door that separates the two rooms. It would appear that anti-glare is not one-way at least at night. It is as transparent as my earlier assurances to the contrary.
It would also appear that we’ve been putting on quite a show for the neighbors. So much for lying low with my current underage status here.
I have never fancied myself to be an exhibitionist. Even in my worst Walter Mitty moments, I’ve never fantasized about being a Chippendale dancer. A budding Al Kaline or Cal Ripken, yes. A Peter Gabriel or Ernie Isley, yes. But never a stripper. I suppose whether I’ve been successful at this new status is in the eye of the beholder. But somehow I think it best not to make an inquiry of those beholders. As the expression goes, let us never speak of this again.
Gorgeous has penciled in a trip to a window treatment store for today. I suspect we’ll be getting a very thick shade or curtain for that back room.
¹ My initial unspoken plans for the Florida Room were something along the lines of a “Highbrow Man Cave” with a vintage 1970’s stereo, lounge chairs, bar cart, and a wine fridge. But as the old saw goes: you snooze, you lose.
² I once admitted this failing to a co-worker. I loved her response: “Oh, that’s so refreshing to hear. My dad used to insist that we save money by having him fix everything. But he rarely fixed anything, and then we were all forbidden to point that out for fear of hurting his feelings!” I know there are husbands who truly are handy, but I’ve always been grateful for this anecdote to validate my own deficiencies.