The Lesson We Learned the Hard Way
“Once you have lost your privacy, you realize you’ve lost an extremely valuable thing.”
Remember the apartment of the ugly fat naked guy from the popular sitcom ‘Friends’? Well, that was the way I had lived in Barb’s apartment before we got married last year. Barb was one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen through my window. When she was unpacking her stuff along with her room-mate, I stayed there by the window with a few hot cups of chocolate, gawking at her beauty shamelessly. The two girls had just sheer curtains on their windows that they did not care to close often. I spent a week unnoticed by Barb and her roommate, watching them study, play and unpack while having fun with each other.
Finally, Barb threw a glance at me. It must have been the bright yellow T-shirt I was wearing. She immediately summoned her roommate to show her there was a guy out there watching them. I could not hear them but could make out that they were having an argument. Finally, after 15 long anxious minutes, Barb was back at the window and gestured “what?” I did not know what to do or say, of course, even if I did, she would not hear me. Suddenly I realized that I had been at the window stupidly watching them for 15 minutes. OMG, how dumb have I turned out to be? Suddenly, I saw a placard I had prepared for my friend from Poland who was visiting NYC sometime last year. It said, “Hi. Welcome To New York!” I held that up against the window. The tension eased on Barb’s face and she waved back. I waved and pulled myself away from my window. I did not see Barb or her friend for the whole of the next day. I started to miss her but did not have the courage to walk up to the door of her apartment. I had seen the flare of temper in her when she was having the argument with her friend. The sheer curtain was closed as well, but I could see them walking around more clearly during the night.
I had trouble concentrating on my work. An idea flashed in my mind. I pulled my working board towards the window and wrote, “How are you doing?” Occasionally, I shot a look towards their window without being too visible. In the evening, I saw a placard against which said, “I am fine.” My joy knew no bounds. This was the beginning of our own unique communication, which continued for eight months. Yes. Not many would believe that. It was just that we were busy with our studies and jobs, and moreover, it made us feel special. Finally, I asked Barb if she would want to call. She said she would like to meet me over coffee. Since our apartments were close to Riverside Park, we decided to meet at the Blue Café. There was no looking back after that for us. In a year, we decided to get married. Barb suggested that I move to her apartment and Levine, her friend and roommate, would move into mine. We decided to go ahead with the changes only after our honeymoon. Everything went smoothly. Levine found a new roommate for herself and settled down. We continued to use placards and boards to send messages to her.
We never realized that we were being watched and filmed until NYPD knocked on our doors after arresting a guy who lived two apartments from mine. He was found secretly photographing a couple through their window by their neighbors, who informed NYPD. When the police arrested him and searched his apartment, they found a telescope pointing towards our apartments and tons of videos of Barb and Levine at first and then us as a couple. Some of them were very embarrassing, and we felt so vulnerable when we were checking them out.
We were oblivious to the pervert living among us when we were using our windows as a message board. First, lost in love, and then in our marriage, it never occurred to us that someone else would be watching us, let alone recording or photographing us. Unfortunately, he had already sold few photos and videos on the internet. The cops assured us they would do everything they could to see that this would not affect our lives, but we knew it did. We felt terribly embarrassed and violated, but at the same time, we knew that we could not change what happened. But we could be more careful in our future. We decided to hunt for proper window coverings that would give us complete privacy.
For some reason, I just wanted to stay indoors for few days and so did Barb. We felt everyone was looking at us when we stepped out. From our apartment, we looked for high privacy window treatments online. Finally, we decided that CrystalPleat Graber Blackout Cellular Shades with the honeycomb structured fabrics would be the best solution for us. The Blackout property would bring maximum privacy to our rooms as they block outdoor light. Due to the blackout feature of these Shades, shadows and silhouettes were also not seen through, which was our top priority at the moment. The video shoot of Barb and me through the sheer curtains was one of the worst the guy had taken. To ensure high privacy, these shades had a metallic lining as well. The fabulous Solitude fabric of the shade was made with Polyester Spunlace with Metallic Liner inside, and the Cocoon shades were made of Polyester Spunlace with a concealed Metallic Liner which prevented it from being exposed from the side of the shades. Apart from darkening our rooms and increasing our privacy, they had the highest insulation capability as well.
Once installed, we realized how comfortable our indoors can be with proper window treatments. All of a sudden we felt safe and protected in the new ambiance. It was so calm and peaceful inside since the shades reduced unnecessary outdoor noise commendably. Levine and her roommate also decided to have shades over their windows. Levine was quite upset that her pictures were taken as well, but since she was the one who decided to leave the curtains open most of the time, she ended up being apologetic. I realized that was the big argument Barb’d had with her when she found me looking at them through the window. Finally, we’d all learned the importance of keeping our privacy and making use of the window treatments the right way. It took us some time to get over the whole situation, but we did and got on with lives.