Dear Elderly Neighbor: No, I'm Not Looking at You in Your Bathrobe

This is a public service message to the elderly lady who lives a few houses down the block

Dear Elderly Neighbor: No, I'm not looking at you in your bathrobe.

Each morning when I take my Labrador Retriever puppy out for a walk, I pass by your house. And each morning you turn on your porch light and come out in your robin-blue cotton bathrobe with a light-colored slip and white slippers to pick up your morning newspaper left on your door stoop.

I can't help but notice how you quickly cover yourself up as I pass by.

I want to assure you that I am not staring at you, nor in any way deriving pleasure from noticing your short-cut, orange-dyed hair still in curlers, or your pasty white legs and varicose veins.

Often my morning walk takes me in the opposite direction from your home and yet you still stand warily outside your door, like some silent beacon of modesty, casting a suspicious glance in my direction as if I'm a sexual predator. I believe this is unfair and it makes me uncomfortable.

Again, I want to tell you that I'm no masher; I am simply following my puppy's lead. Nor do I think of you as a hussy. Still, you coquettishly cover yourself up, as if you're Scarlett O'Hara. I can assure you I am no Rhett Butler.

The other morning, I passed your house from the opposite side of the street when my dog stopped to relieve himself. Your door opened and you stuck your head out like an ancient tortoise, looking both ways to see if the coast was clear and then slowly pivoted your ample frame onto the porch. When you squatted, making a harrumph noise to pick up your paper, you locked eyes with me across the street and your face once again took on a look of disapproval. I'm not sure if you noticed but I quickly looked away.

I hope that this message clears up any misconception that you have that I might be staring at you in your bathrobe.

While on the subject, though, I did notice that there is an elderly gentleman on our block who does indeed appear to be staring at you from his windowsill.