July 23, 2008


Our illustrious neighbor, Josephine, charms our “Juda” from time to time. Seen here, she is doing a great job fake-vacuuming as she glances furtively at the conversation of the neighbors above (whose door was gratifyingly open).

Now, I am fully aware that this photo may be classified as typical Josephine-like voyeurism. This is absolutely true. You see, her ways are communicable, catching. Xavier and I peep out of our Juda to catch her spying on us and on others.

I stopped writing about Josephine. I was trying to just ignore her entirely. It worked on many levels. I became perceptive to when she typically went out in the morning for bread and avoided leaving the apartment around that same time. I listened for her shuffling in her apartment while I would wait for the elevator to rise up the building. If I heard the shuffle of her slippers, I would rush down the stairs, two at a time to the sound of her door opening in wonder above me.

Sometimes she would catch me. She would foxtrot out of her apartment at the exact moment I had entered the elevator. She would stand there, still sporting her floor-length t-shirt, holding me captive in the elevator by keeping the door from closing (with the help of her considerable form).

These moments weren’t as bad as they might sound initially. She would usually start by reporting the activity she had monitored going in and out of my apartment, any strange sounds that she had heard from within; all of which was incredibly lackluster information. I live there.

She would eventually peter out; there was a general lack of rousing events streaming in and out of my apartment, and yet she would always manage to report it all to me as if I were a stranger to the place and as if she were letting me in on a huge secret. I would insist on the fact that I was late and then she would release me, telling me that I should come over anytime to sit and have tea with her, that she generally has nothing to do (a real eye-opener).

You see, I had a real visceral aversion to Josephine after our beginning episodes when she sabotaged my bike-riding life in Paris. After that, Xavier officially killed her plant, a leafy fern that sat innocently potted outside her door. He urinated into it for a week straight. I am certain that she was peering out of her Juda watching him and didn’t say a word because she found it so engaging. (As you can see in the photo, she has found a suitable replacement).

So, back to the picture. We have become like her. We peer out of our Juda. We listen for her heavy steps, for her shrill voice as a warning not to exit the apartment. I shut the windows and shades that face her apartment. We take note of, even snoop in, her life; albeit with a dissimilar motive to hers.

And yet, it isn’t just her peering that is contagious, it is also Josephine herself. I think I might take her up on her offer to tea.


bdmalouf said...

hahahhah!!!! i cannot believe that M. X would pee in that plant daily! that is the funniest and most bizarre thing I have heard about him or most people= EVER!

Aralena said...

Oh, please DO take her up on the invitation -- she might prove to be an urn of insanely interesting information about anything. But be careful, Emilie. If she truly did witness Xavier urinating on her plant (which, what?? and is he rentable? we've got some prize-winning neighbors ourselves...) she might return the favor in your tea cup.

Praco Salfoy said...

Ok, that is too weird! How can you possibly take a picture through the "Juda"? I think she is contagious! Go for the tea! Mom

Julie said...

Hilarious Em. I can't wait to get a glimpse of her.

JR said...

I can't wait for her to get a glimpse of all of us!

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