The kids all thought he was weird. All the old man ever did was sit in his house and look at the window. Kids, you know, can be cruel for no reason. I had been walking around town with a camera and a mindful of ideas. I came across his house the same time they were laughing as the man took pictures of them.
His name was Mr. Avery. I never understood him myself, but I was far from berating an old man’s idiosyncracies. He would walk to his window and take pictures of the outside. His windows were unusual. They were not single panes of glass, but a pane broken into squares.
The kids rode off and I remained. I had been meaning to ask Mr. Avery why he did this for a long time. Today was the day. I walk up the long walkway to his house. His was one of the nicest in the small South Dakota town I’d grown up in. Made of the finest brick and granite, this had been a mansion (respectively) and a smaller house to the south had actually been the servant’s quarters.
I rang the doorbell and stood, waiting, in front of the heavy oaken door. After a nominal pause, the door opened. There he stood, camera slung around his neck, peering at me.
“Yes? Can I help you young man?”
“All I ask is for an answer to a simple question.”
He chuckled. I think he knew what I was going to ask. “Go ahead.”
“Why do you take pictures from inside your house of the outside world?”
“You’ve noticed my windows, haven’t you?” I nodded. “The world seems so much simpler when you divide it into panels. It can be quite … overbearing to take it all in at once. I divide and conquer, so to speak. I trust this answers your question?”
“Yes, Mr. Avery. Good evening.” I headed back down the walkway, and the door shut carefully behind me. Back on the road, I turned to his house, camera in hand, and snapped this picture (complete with blades of grass that belie his lawn grooming techniques). It only seemed fitting when I got home to divide it into panels.
I have to say, I think Mr. Avery is on to something. Too bad not everyone can have their own panels.
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