The hotel suite was beautiful, in the centre of Sydney, with a view, and nightly fireworks that shook the windows, and filled the air with smoke that refracted the street lights. Both beautiful and toxic.
But there were too many channels on the tv that I couldn’t work. Eventually, I found ‘Jake and the Fat Man’. It seemed familiar, and comforting, and there were multiple reruns. Something about their calm, deep voices, and the fact that nothing riled them, and they always solved every case. They were buddies, and they had each other’s backs. They got through everything together. And they were there for me that week and a half.
I remember every inch of that suite that I cleaned every day, even though we had cleaners. The bath that we never used, and the little bottles of toiletries that I saved in my luggage. The coffee machine with tiny extra pods, and packets of cocoa and tea that the cleaners gave us each day, that I saved in my luggage like a homeless woman, even though I was paying for them, and they were mine.
I remember the office chair and desk, where I ordered our groceries, having to repeat my surname multiple times and resorting to a ‘T for Tango’ scenario, the letter of my last name embarrassingly ending up described as ‘P for poo,’ before I realised what I had said, then apologised but couldn’t think of an alternate word starting with P, as I sat on the swivel chair that faced the man in the window.
The Man in the Window.
I watched the man in the window every night in the dark. I had to pass through the office to get to our bedroom and ensuite, and I’d peek through the crack in the curtains and watch him as he sat at his desk, his back to me, his office building just metres away from our windows. His desk faced away from the window, and I could see his screen and what he ate for his dinner.
I wondered why he worked back every night, and who he was, and what was on his screen and what he was eating. I could see it all, but, frustratingly, not clear enough. Every night I’d glance as I walked past. I think partly it was a distraction from everything else that was going on. An innocuous pass-time. He typed, and ate his dinner. I could really only see the back of him, and a blurred screen and container of food.
I’d always loved the Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘Rear Window, ’ adapted from the short story ‘It Had To Be Murder’ by Cornell Woolrich. Watching people, and not knowing, and guessing, and piecing clues together, set in a confined area – the same scene all the way through the movie, the intensity of interactions, and emotions and heightened awareness, and guessing, and not knowing. Bliss!
We’ve always watched people from our balconies and houses, wherever we’ve lived, as we’d sip our coffees and chat, before and after work. We named each apartment, or house, given them our own names – ‘Burke’s Backyard’ for the balcony with lots of plants. ‘The brothel’ for the apartment with the red lamp light. ‘Barbecues Galore’ for the apartment that held regular BBQ’s on their balcony and played seventies music on their tinny transistor radio. ‘Bill and Ben’ for the guy next door, whose name we were never sure of. ‘Caravan Man’ for the guy who lived in a van while he built his house (you know we love you ’S’), who, even to this day, is still ‘Caravan Man’, even though he finished his house years ago and has become a good friend.
I think as writer’s we have a natural tendency to be inquisitive, to watch, observe, notice tiny things, feel things, think things, create and expand. There are stories all around us. In every day, and every interaction we have, no matter how small. Even the man in the window.
2 thoughts on “‘Jake and the Fat Man,’ and stalking ‘The Man in the Window’.”
Another great post . . . I was/am a fan of Hitchcock films and “Window’s” one of his better ones (in my humble opinion) . . . funny, “Jake and the Fatman” is something I (recently) viewed often with my mother (her favorite show). It’s soothing indeed, like comfort food when you’re having a bad or off day.
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Thanks Tylerus! I agree with your mum 🙂