Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Big Brother Is Watching

I read an article the other day that made me think twice about ever dashing outside in my nightgown and curlers to empty the trash again.

The article said that technology is so advanced nowadays, a satellite that’s a gazillion miles away can zoom in on any object with such accuracy, it actually can photograph a pimple on someone’s nose.

Needless to say, the thought that a satellite might be zooming in on my zits (or heaven only knows what else) is not very comforting.

The article made me think about all of the crazy things I’ve done outdoors over the years when I thought I was alone, and how the government probably has collected a huge file on me entitled, “The Biggest Klutz in New Hampshire,” complete with hours of videotape.

The other day, for example, while everyone in my neighborhood was at work, I decided to mow the lawn. I finished the lawn out back and started working on the side lawn. As I was backing up with the lawnmower, I tripped over a stump, stumbled backward and landed, my legs up in the air, in (and I am totally serious here) my neighbor’s rowboat. Despite the fact that I bruised a part of my anatomy that I knew would make sitting very uncomfortable for a few days, I started to giggle.

“Thank goodness no one was around to see this!” I said out loud, thinking how dumb I must have looked with my feet sticking up out of a boat.

Now, however, I can’t help wondering if a satellite captured my every move and a bunch of scientific guys were sitting around, eating popcorn and busting a gut over my fall.

Sunday, I decided to take my dogs for a hike in the woods. Just before I left the house, I downed a tall glass of iced tea.

“Now why did I do that?” I said to my husband. “I’ll probably get halfway through my hike and have to go to the bathroom!”

He shrugged and said, “So, just go behind a tree in the woods.”

Leave it to a male to make a statement like that. Men just don’t seem to realize that anatomically, women were not created in a way that makes “going” behind a tree a simple matter, the way it is for them. We women have to contort into muscle-cramp-inducing positions that defy gravity as we battle to keep our balance…and still, we inevitably end up with soggy shoes and socks.

“Oh, sure,” I said to my husband. “Go behind a tree and have satellites zoom in on me because they think they’ve discovered a huge new moon? I’d rather have my bladder burst!”

The poor man had no idea what I was talking about.

Before, whenever I took hikes in the woods, I always worried about hunters dressed in camouflage secretly watching me, so I made sure not to scratch, pick or adjust anything on my body. But when hunting season ended, I always felt as if I could relax a bit. Now, I’ll never be able to relax, not while knowing that a satellite could be zooming in for a close-up of everything from my gray roots to my bra bulge.

I finally told my husband about the article and how true it is that Big Brother is always watching us, no matter where we are. At first, he laughed, but later, he appeared to be deep in thought.

“I’d hate to think of all the things I could have been photographed doing,” he finally said. “I mean, how many times have I fallen off the porch?”

“The front one or back one?” I asked.

Actually, I was thinking about an even more embarrassing incident of his – one that would make my rowboat episode seem tame in comparison. It happened one night when he was sound asleep and I heard strange noises outside. Panicking, I woke him by shouting, “There’s a prowler out in the yard!”

Not even opening his eyes, he jumped out of bed and grabbed, of all things, his ornamental Japanese sword, and dashed out into the yard. At the time, the neighbors had one of those motion-detector floodlights, which immediately popped on and bathed him in bright light. I’ll never forget the sight of him standing out there clad in nothing but his Fruit of the Looms and holding a sword over his head.

“Oops!” I said between giggles. “I forgot about the neighbor’s floodlight. I guess if there had been a prowler out there, it would have popped on for him, too, eh?”

My poor husband was so upset and embarrassed when he finally was fully awake, he barely spoke to me.

Now that I think about it, I hope one of the satellites did catch him on tape. Maybe I can cut a deal with the government and buy a few dozen copies of it. Never can tell when something like that just might come in handy.

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