So far, much of the time I have to myself comes in short bursts of twenty or thirty minutes. I am the type of person who needs at least an hour to start accomplishing any sort of significant task, so I have been spending a lot of time by my windows. In my kitchen area, I have two massively tall windows, reaching from ceiling to floor, and another two directly next to those, reaching from ceiling to counter. When I raise the blinds, it is a glass wall of clouds and city and light.
As you may have been able to tell by my photo from this past week, from my window I can see an extremely varied and expansive skyscape. Every morning, I get up, put toothpaste on my toothbrush, pour some bottled water over the bristles and wander to my window to survey the day’s view. I can tell immediately if it is a “good,” low smog day, because the sunshine bursts through the windows, passes through the kitchen, and through the glass walls of my bedroom. So, I immediately look to the right, checking the south for that faint glimpse of mountain range. Today, day three, I could see the faint outline through the smog.
Directly beneath the window wall is my view of the village. It is a small village, and from my eleven-story view I can see the entire cluster of homes. The roofs are a mixture of materials: on many, the bare corrugated steel is most prominent. Most have at least half of the metal surface covered in terra cotta tiles, albeit haphazardly arranged. Thick plastic banners from cigarette companies cover smaller sections of what I imagine to be makeshift porches and overhangs for rainy days and motorbikes. Most mornings, the village is still: chickens scratch outside and only a few motorbikes zip through the narrow, barely visible street. Later, in the afternoon, children will run up and down the paths, and more people will park their motorbikes in the little brick parking lot at the edge of the block, and laundry will be hung to dry.
The towers to the north are visible in layers, skyscraping giants immerging from the thick, clouded mornings. I never have wanted to live in the “big city,” and so I find myself paying less attention to my northern skyline than the view below me, or the hope of seeing mountains in the south. I do wonder who works in those buildings, and if they look out their windows and think about the people and chickens and motorbikes below their office windows.