09 January 2007

Are You Looking at Me?

Since moving into our new apartment I have noticed people walking along the street in front of our house and actually stopping in order to stare up at the building. I had put it down to nosy neighbors wondering about the new people on the block. But you'd think they could be more subtle. When I look into people's windows, I always do it casually so that they don't know I'm doing it.

I figured that after a time the curiosity would fade and it would stop.

Today I mentioned it to Frau M., our new landlady.

Apparently the people staring at the building could care less about us. This building, which contains three apartments, is still relatively new. And it is unusual in that most new constructions in the Zurich area are very modern cement and glass cubes. This home was designed in the traditional Swiss vernacular -- large shutters, peaked roof, flower boxes and all. It looks as if it could possibly be a single family home. Just with all the conveniences of modern living (except closets, of course). People actually walk or drive out of their way to have a look at it.

Who knew?

However, there is no doubt the old woman who lives next door is staring at us. I see her lace curtains twitching frequently when we are in the kitchen. Behind those curtains, you can make out the faint shape of someone who is most definitely being nosy.

One of these days I am going to open the window and cheerfully wave at her. Will she come out and say hello? Or will she scurry back from the window in guilt. Any wagers?

Almost done putting things to right. Woo hoo!


The Old Woman Who Lives Next Door said...

I don't care about the two of you. I just like cats.


Don't you ever let them out?

Sara said...

people in europe in general stare at each other wayyy more than in the states. it is totally acceptable to be caught staring at someone on the tram, people dont do that fake, i wasnt looking face. i used to yell at the husband when we lived in california to stop staring at people when we were out at dinner/in public in general, and when i got here i realized he wasnt rude, it is just the norm.

Jul said...

People here stare in our windows allllll the time, and there's nothing interesting about this building. The Swiss are just nosy like that.

Global Librarian said...

As long as they don't point and laugh at the same time, I suppose I can deal with it.

And to OWWLND: keep away from my cats! And no, they NEVER go outside!

Ms Mac said...

Scurry away. For sure.

I got fed up of being stared at and started to smile and say "Gruezi!" It generally frightens the crap out of people!

I really don't care about the cultural aspect of European staring, I find it rude.

Beejum said...

What happens if you stare back? Nothing? Or do you just have a stare-down? Or is there that uncomfortableness of inappropriate behaviour, caught, like here in the US?