Who Needs Reality TV?



It was a rainy day. Gordon hated rainy days. He didn’t pay for this apartment with the amazing view to stare at the rain. He paid for it because it gave him a perfect view of the people living across the street. Setting his binoculars aside, he stared longingly out his bedroom window, wondering what everyone was doing right now.

Most people would be at work. That was the sucky part about daytime programming. But there were always a few kindred spirits cooped out in their little apartments, going about their daily lives. This time of the day, it was usually the bored housewife doing the ironing or laundry. But if you knew where to look, you could usually something interesting to watch. And the apartment windows gave Gordon a front row seat to the ultimate reality show.

Except when it rained. That would be the voyuer’s equivalent of a broken television. And Gordon hated being interrupted from his regular scheduled viewing. It was like missing an episode of your favorite drama, only there were no such thing as reruns. But life goes on, it always does. And Eric knew he would never need for another entertainment outlet for the rest of his life.

Anytime of the day, Gordon could look out his window enjoy a healthy dose of real life entertainment. There were no frills, no cuts and no retakes, just the way he likes it. Who needs TV or the internet when the drama across the street was so much more fascinating.

He glanced at his watch, it was a quarter past four, time for cartoons. Closing his eyes, he imagined that little Timmy would be bouncing around on the sofa now, watching the cartoon network while his mother prepares dinner in the kitchen. They lived just directly across Gordon in the next building. Gordon enjoyed watching cartoons with the little rascal, especially when he sings and dances along with the theme songs.

One floor down, Erica the artist would be hard at work in her makeshift studio, putting the finishing touches on yet another convoluted art piece. She had turned her entire apartment into a massive workshop, with random pieces scattered all around her living room. Eric watched her work sometimes, admiring the curves on both her body and her brushstrokes. He was never one for fine arts, but knew a beauty when he saw one.

Another two levels down to the left, Mr and Mrs Darcy would be just about done with tea. Sometimes when the mood strikes, Mr Darcy would put the record on, and he and the Mrs would dance for a song or two. Gordon imagined how embarrassed they would be if they knew he was watching. They were not very good dancers.

And the list goes on and on. Was the couple of level nine still together, he wondered. He hasn’t seen Brad for a while now. And Jane on seven, was she still sleeping around? Last he counted she was up to eight. But the last guy had been coming around a lot lately. So this time, maybe she has finally found the one. So many lives, so little time. Who had time for anything else.

But for today, the folks in Strathmore Tower can have their privacy back, for a while anyway. It was the least they deserved for the excellent show they have put on all year round. Pity though, Eric thought as he fell back on his bed. He was looking forward to watching Batman with Timmy today. God, I hate rainy days.

Three hour later, Eric woke up. The rain has stopped. Smiling to himself, he looked out to gaze at the tiny squares of light streaming out from the apartment windows. Below, a line of cars was backed up as they turned into the underground parking lot.

“Welcome home!” Eric squealed, grateful that regular broadcast has resumed. It was time to get ready for dinner. Eric went to the freezer and pulled out two random WeightWatcher’s specials. Today’s choice of dinner was either a three cheese ziti marinara or a raspberry cheesecake sundae.

Why not both, he thought, as he popped the marinara into the microwave and ripped the frozen cheesecake out of its packaging. When both were done, he poured himself a tall glass of diet coke and sat back in his usual spot. “Let’s see who’s available for dinner tonight.”

Sitting in the darkness, Eric picked up his binoculars and began browsing through the selection. Was he in the mood for a nice romantic dinner with one of the ladies, or did he just want to hang out with the guys in front of the TV.

Erica was another option. She was still there in the same spot, working on her painting. A half-eaten sandwich sitting on the stool beside her. She probably won’t make good company tonight though, her head was facing the other way. Eric did not like it when their faces were hidden, it makes it difficult to talk to them.

“Let’s see whether Jane is home.” He counted the squares vertically up to six and pointed his binoculars at the unit furthest to the right. And there, right on cue was Jane, sitting alone on her sofa gorging herself senseless on Ben and Jerry’s rockt road ice-cream. She had her fat suit on, namely sweatpants with an oversized tee, and her hair was a complete mess. Clearly she had been dumped, again.

“Oh you poor thing.” Gordon sympathized in between mouthfuls of low-calorie cheesecake. “Don’t worry dear, you’ll find someone better, I know you will.”

He simply loved watching Jane. Among all the people in that apartment. It was Jane’s story that continues to capture his attention every night. Time and time again she would throw herself into an empty relationships, filled with sex and little else, just to ease the loneliness. And time and time again, there would be the melodrama of the bad breakup, followed by her resurgent search for love.

How Gordon wished he could walk over right now to give her a hug, to whisper in her ear that there was no sin in being alone. But then again, he was having too much fun just watching her throw herself against the wall. If only he could do both, that would be perfect Gordon thought. It will be like watching reality stars battle it out on Survivor before attending the reunion specials. You get to see them live through it, and then you get to ask them about it again! Nothing beats the thrill of meeting your favorite reality stars in the flesh.

The more Gordon ran the idea through his head, the more he loved it. It would so so cool if he could talk about cartoons with Timmy, take art lessons from Erica and have a heart to heart conversation with Jane about her relationship problems. Who knows, he might be having tea and dancing with the Darcys.

Then maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t have to eat dinner alone anymore.


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