She Said, Z Said: View From Your Window a New Picture of Leisure Time
What will they think of next? The Internet creates an explosion of mini hobbies designed to
waste enhance your time online
She: If one of my girlfriends told me that her husband spent every Saturday morning peeping through strangers’ windows, I’d say he was probably a little perverted.
Z: And not that bright. You have to do that at night. Or so I’ve heard.
She: I can’t believe I caught you not surfing porn — again.
Z: Sorry. I’m distracted.
She: What on earth is so interesting about The View From Your Window contest?
Z: It’s a cool challenge that never would have been possible maybe even five years ago, and will probably be too easy five years from now.
She: Can you win something great, like a new car or a trip to Paris?
Z: You can win a book. Of views from windows.
She: Seriously. Is The View From Your Window contest actually porn? Whose view is this?
Z: It’s a contest on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Dish.
She: The Dish? View from a window? Sounding more and more like porn.
Z: Every Saturday, they put up a picture submitted by a reader of a view from their window, anywhere in the world. The contest is to try to figure out exactly where that window is.
She: That sounds massively frustrating.
Z: And very satisfying when solved.
She: Have you ever figured one out?
Z: I’ve gotten a handful of the right buildings, but never the exact window. I can only maintain my nerd focus for so long.
She: I don’t know. I’ve seen you maintain your nerd focus for almost 24 years.
Z: That’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me.
She: I’ve seen you scroll through screens and screens of random buildings and street signs and buses.
Z: You try to grab on to any clue you can. Really, the fantasy part of it is that I’m working for the FBI, and have to find the location of the last image sent out by the kidnap victim so we can save her in time.
She: Which pretty much kills that conceit in movies. Now all the FBI would have to do is to hand Sullivan that photo, and one of his nerd readers would have the location of the kidnap victim in minutes.
Z: The Internet is a movie plot killer.
She: That and cell phones have destroyed a lot of movie suspense.
Z: It’s also changed my definition of leisure time.
She: So you no longer define leisure time as your entire life?
Z: It seems like there’s a lot more lower-case-“l” leisure time than there used to be. Serious man-hobbies can take hours. There’s no such thing as a 20-minute golf game, or casual deep-sea fishing.
She: Oh. That’s why you gave that up?
Z: With the Internet, you can have all sorts of tiny hobbies. The View From Your Window is one of them.
She: I have a handful of those tiny hobbies. My lower case leisure is clicking around on Pinterest boards and adding to my fantasy shopping spree board. And I like to read cooking and gardening blogs, although I rarely do either of those things.
Z: Very low maintenance. I approve.
She: My upper-case-L Leisure activities usually involve buying expensive jewelry and art supplies, which I actually use. I seem to recall that your upper-case Leisure activities involve an electric guitar and a mini-recording studio, both of which are gathering dust in the garage.
Z: Yes, but actually playing them would involve learning how to use them. Who has time for that when there are views from windows to be solved?
She: So, where is this week’s View From Your Window anyway? Whose window are you peeping through today?
Z: I don’t know yet. It looks like it’s the civic center of a smallish, newish city in the Southwestern United States. I’ve been scrolling through hundreds of pictures of courthouses and city halls.
She: Wouldn’t Penthouse.com be more fun?
Z: Yes, dear.