Mr. Forte (my husband and, no, that’s not his real name) goes out in the backyard to eat a banana and survey our property beyond the snake wall nearly every morning after finishing a bowl of Cheerios and before he suits up (his term) to go downtown to the office. On weekends, we eat (not Cheerios) together and drink coffee while reading the horrible San Diego newspaper and the enlightened New York Times, but the Outdoor Banana routine doesn’t skip Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
I was rinsing dishes in the Dirty Kitchen this morning when I saw him out there, his banana peel laid carefully on top of the three-foot wall, looking through the binoculars we’ve had since the old football game days. He came in a few minutes later.
Me: Spying on the naibs again?
Mot: Checking out the ‘hood. (This from an 82-year-old white guy. Good thing the nearest houses in this ‘hood, not counting our next-door neighbors who are – lucky for them – screened from view by dense trees, are a good quarter mile away across deep, wild canyons.)
Me: What could there possibly be to look at?
Mot: I have to keep an eye on that huge house going up over there (gesturing to the south).
Me: Aaah. The one you call The Compound?
Mot: It’s an Al Qaeda training camp.
Me: I won’t ask you again what possible basis you could have for believing that. But I will point out that the building you call The Barracks is really the same size as the one that was built on the lot across the street last year by those other people. It’s just that you’re looking at it side-on instead of end-on, and it makes it seem much larger.
Mot: (Spatially and architecturally challenged, doesn’t believe a thing I just said but can’t think how to frame the argument.)
Me: I really hope no one sees you.
Mot: Why not? I’m performing a public service.
Me: They just think you’re one of those creepy old guys looking in people’s bedrooms, Peeping Tom.
Mot: It’s Peeping Mot.
Me: Much catchier.
Mot: Peeping Mot’s Neighborhood Watch.
Me: Keepin’ us safe.