The Looky-Loos


They are known by many terms: busy bodies, Chatty Catie’s or gossips. While working at the fire department we called them rubberneckers, and they were the main reason traffic was made worse around any emergency scene this firefighter worked.

They may have different names, but their main goals are the same: find out what’s going on and tell someone about it.

I retired after twenty-seven years from the fire department, leaving the emergency scenes, trucks, and turnout gear behind. And I thought that would be the last time I’d have to deal with rubberneckers and the like, but I was wrong.

This week The Wife and I will celebrate sixteen years in our home located in a subdivision with streetlights and sidewalks. It also has something else. Welcome, Dear Reader, to the melding of busy bodies, Chatty Catie’s, rubberneckers and gossips into one creature. Welcome to the land of looky-loos.

The cooler temperatures and low humidity brings them out in a never-ending stream. Early in the morning and late in evening are the perfect times for looky-loo watching in our subdivision. While sipping a glass of sweet tea, I swing back and forth on the front porch glider watching the looky-loos walking their dogs.

Passing one another, the looky-loos stop to let their dogs greet while they spread the gossip of the day. The sharp curve in the street brings them close to our house and, if the wind blows just right, it will actually carry their conversations across the lawn and up to our front porch.

Nothing on TV tonight and want some real entertainment for a change? Just sit outside and wait on a looky-loo or two walking by. That’s what I do, and that’s where The Wife found me last night when she got home from work. She came out and asked me what I was doing sitting on the front porch all by myself.

“I’m not by myself, look.” I pointed across the street at two looky-loos who had stopped about five minutes ago and were still talking to each other. Luckily there was a slight breeze and I had been able to hear everything they had been saying.

As the two looky-loos walked, I was able to recite their entire conversation about what all was going on in the neighborhood in great detail. I may have even added a bit of my own commentary at the end.

As The Wife sat down, she gave me a kiss and started to rock, “You do know there’s a name for what you are doing?”

Suddenly I stopped rocking. The weight of what she said finally registered. By repeating wind-blown conversations, I had become the very thing I’d been making fun of just moments before. I too was a looky-loo!

Instead of running from the truth, I’m gonna embrace it. As long as we have nice weather, you’ll find this looky-loo rocking on our front porch glider, listening in on all the latest windblown conversations of the day.

Being a freshly minted looky-loo does have its advantages. Not only will I stay up today on all the important stuff going on, but I no longer have to worry about what to wear for Halloween. Trick-or-treating this year with our granddaughters, I don’t even have to wear a costume – I can just go as myself. A looky-loo.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]