Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Open Windows

On a morning like today in the 1950's and 60's, our windows would have been wide open. Few of us had air conditioning and it was so refreshing to go through our day and night in the fresh air and occasional breeze that came through our screens. At the beach, in the height of the summer heat, ceiling fans circulated the steamy air, cooling our sweaty faces and sunburned bodies.

I don't feel free to do this anymore.

This week alone, I've gotten notices from our community watch about vans of people selling magazines and steaks, several break-ins, cars stolen from driveways. One neighbor told me that thieves used her ladder to break in an upstairs window.

I don't want to live in fear. And I wonder if there's more crime or more dissemination of information.

When crime is in your neighborhood, every person becomes suspect. The teenager with his cellphone taking pictures. The car full of faces you don't recognize. An untidily dressed walker.

I want to get up in the morning and push my windows up. I want to see the slight wind ruffling my curtains. I want to hear the birds in the bush making a fuss.

I want spring to come into my winter-worn rooms and autumn to take away the heat of the summer. I want to leave my house open when I drive away for a few hours and come back to find it as I left it.

People only steal things like TVs, I tell myself. They aren't interested in the pictures or pages of short stories or family videos. They might take a ring or my camera full of photographs or a jar full of coins. But it's only stuff.

And yet, I leave on an errand or to go to work and reluctantly close the windows and lock the doors. It's one of our greatest losses, I think, the ability to leave our windows open.


Ally said...

Your post reminded me of George Carlin's take on "stuff"...

"And when you leave your stuff, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn't want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They don't bother with the crap you're saving. Ain't nobody interested in your fourth grade arithmetic papers. They're looking for the good stuff. That's all your house is. It's a place to keep your stuff, while you go out and get more stuff!!"

mamie said...

Oh gosh. That made me smile as big as an open window! Thanks for the reminder. :)

Greta said...

Mamie, I know you live fairly close to me...either Chatham or Wake, i think. So far we leave keys in the automobiles at night but lock up tightly when Mike's musical instruments are strewn about. In our mountain home we usually don't lock up b/c we're so far from law enforcement that they could tear the cabin down and haul it away before anyone would know they were there. but...we neighbors look out for each other. When I was growing up in WVA, we had a lock which required a skeleton key only. Luckily in the cabin we don't need AC, and the windows are open except in winter and we can hear the creek, the wind, the birds. Thanks for the memories!

mamie said...

So fortunate, Greta, to have not one but two places with open windows! We share the husbands with musical instruments though. I bet the music drifts out the windows so others can enjoy!