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The Dudes See Me Naked

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I’ve had scaffolding on my apartment building for the better part of six months. Most of that time I was working from home, while the Dudes (Tony, Jimmy, and Vinny) power washed the brick of my 97th Street building.

Day in and day out, they would start up the battery that sounded like an airplane motor at 9 a.m., take their lunch at Yabba-Dabba-Do at noon, and then close down shop at 5 p.m. I was forced to close my windows and my curtains for the daylight hours of six months.

Before the scaffolding was erected I had enjoyed a daily dose of 97th Street Soundtrack. Part truck, part beeping, part Spanish Harlem music blasting from cars waving Puerto Rican flags. I loved living with my windows open; New York City was always in my apartment … and then the Dudes turned off the Soundtrack.

The scaffolding, which now extends across most of 97th Street, is right outside my window—past my fire escape—and functions as an extended balcony of sorts. My own sturdy terrace on 97th Street—minus some charm. Instead of potted plants, I had leftover cigarette butts, coffee cups, a screwdriver, and a basketball. On two separate occasions, the workers rang my bell and asked if I could reach out the window for a wrench they had dropped.

In the “what else would you expect” category, they stopped the power washing right about the time I got my new job that took me out of the apartment. The Dudes, as I called them, moved onto the building next door. I can open my windows again. And that brings us to today.

So this morning the weather is delicious, the birds chirping, sun shining, can’t-help-but-love-the-world weather. I come out of the shower and my apartment is about 90 degrees (uncontrollable apartment radiator heat). I pull back the curtains and open the windows. I start to put on makeup in front of the living room mirror—my morning ritual (only now I was finally able to use daylight). I put the Today Show on in the background.

Happy as a clam, I moisturize, I power, I fluff … all in the buff, of course. Then I hear voices. Not from the Today Show. Shit! The Dudes are back!

I turn around in slow motion—and like the scene where Tony walks in on Angela in the Who’s the Boss episode, I feel their eyes go up, down, all around and we connect eyes. Me and the Dudes. Them in gear, me naked with a face full of makeup. I blushed (no pun intended) and ran into the bedroom.

I emerged from the bedroom dressed and crawled under the window sill to close the curtain.

Something tells me the Dudes are coming back.

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