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20 January 2014

Curtain Twitchers

I'm not sure how widely the term "curtain twitchers" is used. I first heard it when we lived in Scotland and it was used to describe the old ladies who were constantly at their windows, twitching their net curtains so that they can have a peek outside and see what was happening. Who was visiting whom, what time the husband across the street came home and whether he was a bit tipsy, what the teenaged girls were wearing for a night out on the town, whether the neighbor's dogs were digging up the petunias etc. When they see anyone looking back at them, they dart behind the curtain and pretend that they have been in the kitchen making a pot of tea the whole time.

When Scott's friend took us out for a weekend cruise on his sailboat in Scotland, I quickly realized that the term "curtain twitcher" can also apply to middle-aged men sizing up what the other boaties were doing in the anchorage. I caught the two of them twitching the curtain down below and saying things like, "Oh, he is going to drag anchor for sure!" and "That guy doesn't know what he is doing!" and "Oh, [insert naughty words] that [insert more naughty words] can't possibly think he can drop his anchor so close to us!" That's when I discovered, little old ladies have got nothing on middle-aged sailors when it comes to wanting to know what everyone else is doing and muttering under their breath all the different ways in which they are doing it wrong.

Now, don't get me wrong, I can curtain twitch with the best of them. And in fact that is what sundowners in the cockpit is all about. You sit there, have a cold drink, watch the sun go down and check out all the other boats. It sure beats television. Usually, everyone is subtle about it and if you are caught curtain twitching at another boat, you just give a smile and a wave and everyone is happy as Larry. Usually that is. There are exceptions.

Just the other day, we actually had someone get out their binoculars and stare straight at us. No pretense at all that they were looking at the birds or the vista, just the binoculars pointing directly at us. It certainly brings curtain twitching to a whole new level. I think they were just jealous of our spacious 26' sailboat. Or they coveted our worn out, sun-beaten pink decks (which were white at one time). Or envious of the cute little seahorse painted on our stern with leftover anti-foul paint. Or maybe they read our blog, recognized our boat and just had to check it out. Once they got a good look through the binoculars, they probably realized the pictures on the blog make it look much nicer then it is. After their curtain twitching, they went down below never to be seen again. Hopefully, they were practicing their subtlety. 

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