tisdag, april 05, 2005

Naked Windows

The Design Magazine for Sunday's NYTimes had a familiar type of advertisement. A woman was holding up a small section of curtain against a picture window, and the caption read, "Light." Well, actually, she is taking away light. The curtain, no matter how sheer, takes some of the sunbeam down. It cannot help it. It is science. This type of "say the opposite of truth and people are more prone to believe it" advetising has been fashionable f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I am tired of it, but no one asks my opinion on these things, so I do not waste much time on it. I am more likely to instead wonder why we as consumers (to say nothing of constituents) are so gullible.

The window ad takes me one step further. I wonder why we as Americans are so darn uptight. Curtains, shades, blinds - they all remind me of one of my favorite topics: Naked Windows.

Swedes, deprived of the light yet never deprived of visuals regarding the human body, rarely cover their windows. They crave the light and rarely have to worry about voyeurs. I like the clean line of a good window, myself, but as I sit at my desk in the living room sometimes at 2 or 5 am, I cannot help but wonder why I am still alive. There are no fewer than 6 big windows in that room looking out onto a oft-traveled sidewalk in the middle of a big American city. There I sit, exposed to the world in typical blogging clothes. There I sit, unbothered, undisturbed, unharrassed, unrobbed.

On those nights when I get a big edgy, I will ask myself:

Why can we not have curtains at least in some windows? I was thinking that maybe in the window in the living room that faces the busy street and which for the present doubles as a showcase window for the "Berlin Mall"?

Varför kan vi inte ha gardiner åtminstone i några fönster? Jag tänkte att kanske i det fönster i vardagsrummet som vetter mot den livliga gatan och som för närvarande dubblerar som skyltfönster för "Berlin Mall."

Sometimes, what I really want to say is, "Enough with the light, already."

William Safire taught me "Enough!" in Iraqi: Kifaya
Parents in Italy taught me "Enough!" in Italian: Bosta
Parents in the grocery store teach me "Enough!" in American all the time: "If you don't stop it this minute I will kill you." "Enough" will do, too.

Swedish requires four vanilla words to get this message across, which tells me that they don't have to say it very often. Otherwise, it would be reduced to one or a series of rough words. They say: Nu för det vara nog. (Now for it to be enough.) Hmmm. Very civil. Very civil, indeed.

So I got to wondering.

A. Wide-open exposure seems to have the opposite effect of what one might assume,
B. Complaining about the lack of curtains takes more words than I can remember at one sitting, and
C. Swedes must not have a shorthand obnoxious version for, well, anything.

If my ABC's are correct, then maybe the Swedes have the right idea. My business partner says about First Amendment issues that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Maybe fewer closed drapes would keep us all a little safer. Sort of like,

"You want the television that for some reason takes three remotes to work, be my guest" or

"A house that has plastic toys in the living room does not have diamonds in the bedroom, you know that" or

"If you enter this house and disturb my ability to publish this post, then you will die."


Blogger Francis S. said...

I think maybe the closest short version is "sluta!" which, of course, just means "stop!"

They also say "håll käften!" (I think I spelled that right) which means "shut up."

3:05 fm  
Blogger Bebe said...

Your suggestion provides wonderful insight. It's funny what phrases my husband is absolutely useless at, having been the perfect golden child and all. Sometimes when I ask him what words to use he gives me the most confoundedest polite and Berlitzeyish responses imagineable. "Sluta already" will be introduced at breakfast tomorrow. Tack.

11:24 em  

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