When I moved in to The Detective Agency, Will told me three things:
1. The neighbors are like vampires. Do not invite them inside the house.
2. Sometimes the septic system backs up into the tub.*
3. Keep the drapes shut and make sure that the shade is pulled down on the bathroom window before showering. Because one of our neighbors is a Peeping Tom.
This apartment has a long history. It's been handed down from person to person for the past twenty years, tracing back to Will's ex-fiancee's half-sister's boyfriend. Along with a set of keys and a reminder that the landlady will go through the garbage for hidden treasures, so make sure to throw your porn in the neighbor's trash or donate it to the porn-less during the holidays, those three rules should be carved in stone and mounted our doorframe like a Hobo Mezuzah.
When I wake up in the morning or before I shower for the day, I hear a cough, I catch a whiff of cigarette smoke, and sure enough, there's Tom, lurking like a Peeping Ninja. Americans sometimes get branded as weak and lazy, but wind, rain, sleet or snow, nothing deters our man. His level of commitment to his craft is commendable. And with the downturn in the economy and the rise of unemployment, many people suddenly have more time and less cash. We're going to need to find cheaper hobbies. So with that in mind, I've compiled a list of five do's and don'ts for the beginning Peeper.
1. DON'T peep when you have a cold. You may be able to camouflage yourself in the bushes, but your hacking cough and runny nose will give you away. If you're going to peep while sick, stock up on Nyquil. Sure, you might pass out in the bushes and get discovered, but people will just think you're a drunk!
2. DO vary your wardrobe. Yes, the Internet these days is all about "branding" but branding doesn't work well as a Peeper. If you're going to be lurking in trees and around windows, don't wear a signature leather vest and aviator sunglasses unless you can fake that you've have amnesia for 25 years and think that you're an extra in "Magnum, P.I." This is why mimes and furries don't have successful peeping careers.
3. DON'T smoke. Don't you watch Law & Order: CSI? They always catch the bad guy from cigarette butts left at the crime scene. If you're going to smoke, wear lipstick. As a woman, you'll look good for your mug shot. As a man, at least you'll confuse them.
4. DO have business. Improv comics and actors talk about having "business" - something they're doing when opening a scene. Make up your story beforehand and practice acting like you're doing that instead of peeping. This the one case where a mime can corner the peeping market. Get trapped in a box right outside your intended's window.
Note: Make sure that your business seems plausible, and use it only for peeping in medias res. Do not use it for post-peeping purposes, such as coming to my side door and asking me if my water pressure is okay because "I heard you taking a shower."
5. DON'T peep at home. Unless you live in a building like mine, which is the weird, creepy building on the nicest block. Then we just advertise that as A Unique Brand of Hobo Charm.
And that's it for Advice You'll (Hopefully) Never Use, with your host the slackmistress. Thanks for not playing along!
*This is a lie. Not that it's not true, but a lie in that Will didn't tell me this. Details here.