Not the Brightest Candle

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I’m sitting down for breakfast early one morning, in my pre-caffeine daze, munching my way through a bowl of cereal. The dogs are waiting for their morning walk, and Andy’s whirling around the house in his usual pre-work routine.

“Oh my God”, I splutter through my cereal, staring with huge eyes out the window.

“What?” Andy says, looking at me as if I’m a little strange.

“It’s Big Fat Naked Guy, only he’s not fat!”

“I’m sorry?” He says in his best British accent.

So I point out the window, and discreetly snort the last bit of milk out of my nostrils while Andy’s looking the other way.

And there, directly across the street, framed in a huge picture window, is a guy. A fairly young guy. And he’s completely naked.

Now I’ve seen my fair share of naked people. I’m an artist, and we take Life Drawing classes. You show up with your pad of paper and your charcoal, or conte, or whatever you’re working with that day. There’s a circle of easels and a little stage area in the middle. You set up at an easel. And when you’re all set up, someone walks out, gets on the small stage, takes off all their clothes, and stands (or sits, or lies) there. For an hour. Completely naked. So, you know, I’ve seen a lot of naked people. But not, generally, over breakfast.

“Do you suppose he thinks we can’t see him?” I say.

“Oh, geez, I’ve just lost my appetite” says Andy.

Now we are both, at heart, watchers of this world, and students of the human beast. We have endless discussions about why, exactly, people do the things that they do. And here, right out our window, was a very unusual person. Motives unknown. Why in the world was he standing naked in his window?

Naked Guy made many appearances over the next few months. And he was the subject of many conversations. Was he an exhibitionist? A nudist? Did he really think no one could see him? I mean, he put on shorts to go out on his balcony. So one morning, when I took the dogs out, I looked up to see if I could see him from the street. Yup, there he was, naked as a jaybird, framed in the picture window of his 2nd floor condo, looking right back at me. I laughed a bit to myself and walked off.

And you know, he doesn’t stand in his window naked anymore. Nope, he stands a foot or two back. Sometimes, if there’s a siren, he’ll hold a magazine in front of his package when he comes to the window to see what’s happening. Once I saw him crawling on the floor to adjust his TV. Still, of course, completely visible through his floor-to-ceiling picture window. Not, perhaps, the brightest candle in the candelabra.

For those of you who weren’t fans of Friends, Big Fat Naked Guy was a recurring character - a big fat guy across the way who was always naked in his condo. Just like my guy. Only fat.