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Eyes Wide Shut
Breath of Fresh Air
And at Walmart, 15 Feet From the Toy Aisle...
Welcome Home, Bub.
Gruesome Fact of the Day

Click to go to the most current Cliff Between the Lines
Life, viewed sideways. Emotions, amplified. Answers, questioned. Me, between the lines.

- A Wounded Heart, Who Can Bear?
- Drowning Under a Tidal Wave
- Clawing My Way to the Sunlight
- Yes, Santa Claus, There Is a Virginia
- Fugu
- Touching the Spirit
- A Hole in the Universe
- Riding on the Dreams of Others
- Turning Into a Shark
 - A Heart, Ripped Asunder
- Surrendering to the Roller Coaster
- Hunting in the Jade Forest
- Dodging the Shark
- Dancing With Invisible Partners
- The Captain and the Harliquin
- Courting the Devils
- The Captain Makes His Mark
- Mad Dog to the Rescue
- Innocent in the Big City
- Dropping the Ball Briefcase
- Scrambling Brains
- Cheating the Reaper, Again
- What If the Man Behind the Curtain Is No Wizard After All?
- All of Us Have a Soundtrack
- Working With Broken Machines
- Happy Anniversary, Baby
- Standing on Stars
- Running the Film Backwards
- Identity Crisis ("Who am I?")
- Can We Ever Really Admit the Desires of Our Heart?
- Forgiveness is a Rare Thing
- Having Your Heart Caressed By the Creator
- Working With Broken Machines
- A New Leg to Stand On
- The Real Spirit of Christmas
- Chatting With Infinity
- Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
- We All Have a Great Capacity for Loss
- Brushed Lightly By Might Have Beens
- We See the World Through Our Own Looking Glass
- Every Storm Passes Eventually
- Accidents Can Introduce Destiny Into Our Lives
- Freedom Depends on the Walls Around Us
- Pulling Aside the Velvet Curtain
- Riding the Razor's Edge
- Dying With Strangers
- In Your Face
- Between the Lines
- The Bobcat
- Angel With a Coffeecup
- Innocent in the Big City
- Chains of Gossamer
- Playing With Knives
- Stumbling Through Memories (Ooops)
- Picture This
- Running the Film Backwards
- Playing the Score, Tasting the Music
- Coins and Corals and Carved Coconuts
- My God, I Confess
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 1, Speechless)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 2, Taxi)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 3, The Pan American)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 4, Guano)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 5, The Andes Express)

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More About Cliff Hursey

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"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."

Walt Whitman (1819-92)

"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."

Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rear Window

Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, from spectare to watch
1 : one who looks on or watches
2 : what we are becoming a world of.

I was just browsing.

It was the slow time of night when I usually stop doing important things and just play around. In other words, technically it was morning, but still night for me.

This night I had hooked up a webcam to my computer, and since none of my friends were on Yahoo I figured I would visit some of the hundreds of webcam communities that have popped up in the last few years.

Technology fascinates me.

So I flip through my search engine and find a service that doesn't seem to feature naked women, and load it up for a look see.

Looking at webcams is oddly addictive. Here on my computer screen is a window into other lives, other stories, other lifestyles.

Maybe this one is a student, his college books piled high as he studies and chats simultaneously. Maybe that one is a mother, absently monitering some chat room or other while she is ironing. Or maybe here is an old couple, perhaps talking to their grandkids 1,000 miles away, or just hoping to run across some long lost friends.

They had the whole parade. Ugly, pretty, fat, slim, young, old and everything in between.

I was flipping from one to another, finding all of them interesting but none enough to cause me to stop for any length of time (there was way to much to see, after all) when I came across one that looked like hundreds of others, but ended up stopping me in my tracks.

The image was of a lady from the neck down to the desktop, wearing normal clothes, and impossible to tell what age she was or anything about her except that she was not too fat, not too skinny, etc. I was just clicking on the next cam when a man's torso came between her and the camera. But right there, centered for a moment, was something I will never forget.

The man was hiding a gun behind his back.

I froze mid click.

I watched as they proceeded to do a sort of a dance, walking to and fro, obviously talking animatedly, moving back and forth and at times even all in a circle. Yet, the entire time the man kept the pistol hidden behind him, out of her sight.

Oh my God, I thought. What on Earth was I watching?

I started another browser and loaded the cam's profile. It was blank. Nothing. Not even a home town. Not a name. I didn't know what this lady looked like, how old she was, who she was, where she was, who she might be friends with. There was nothing I could do.

I watched in rising panic as they continued to move around, more and more agitatedly. Still, he kept the pistol hidden, finger on the trigger.

Then suddenly, he appeared to push her off to one side and they went off screen. I stared for what seemed like eternity at that empty chair. "She'll come back and I'll know it's all right. She'll come back and sit down."

Thirty minutes later, the man appeared on screen and sat down. He seemed to be typing, but the server said he wasn't in chat. Then, the cam froze and the connection was lost. She had never returned.

And, I realised, in the horror of the moment I had not even remembered the nickname on the cam.

Did I witness a charade? Or was it something far worse and more sinister? I'll never know.

But, had there been any information in the profile, perhaps some authorities could have been notified. Then again, we have a right to our privacy, and in the case of women on line, there is a serious safety issue that arises when too much information is given out. That's why so many on cam sites won't show their faces when they are in public view. It's too dangerous.

But after seeing what I saw, I don't have to tell you I was shaken. Deeply. When someone gives us permission to look in on their lives like that, what do we do when something appears to be going terribly wrong? Do we even have any responsibility in such a case?

Stella: We've become a race of Peeping Toms. What people oughta do is get outside their own house and look in for a change. Yes, sir. How's that for a bit of homespun philosophy?
Jeff: Readers Digest, April 1939.
Stella: Well, I only quote from the best.
--"Rear Window", Alfred Hitchcock

Permalink: 6/29/2005 09:19:00 PM |
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