Friday, June 13, 2008

One-way mirrors, aka two-way mirrors. (Flammable/inflammable, anyone?)

So, there are things in movies that you wish existed in real life, and there are things in movies that you kinda wish didn't exist. I mean, if you're me. So I've always been a little fascinated (by which I mean terrified) of the one-way mirror. Without getting too deep into the dark recesses of my psyche, let me just say that, as a child, before undressing in clothing store dressing rooms, I would occasionally (always) check the edges of the mirrors, trying to determine what sort of mirrors they were, and leave it at that. Ok, maybe one more step - I would occasionally address the person supposedly watching from the other side of the one-way mirror to let them know they weren't fooling anyone, even though I had no choice but to go ahead and try on the clothes even though I knew they were there. I had an active imagination (and extreme self-consciousness).

As I was saying, I've always found the one-way mirror thing to be intriguing and a little bit scary, and I'd count it as one of things I'd just as soon not have exist. Are they used outside of psychology experiments and police interrogation rooms? Are they used in actual police interrogation rooms or just in Hollywood ones? I am here to tell you that they really exist and they are really out there - just this week in my own small life I've encountered two of them.

I was about to describe each and start out by saying that the first isn't that freaky, but come on. It's a one-way mirror; it's freaky.

So, there is a dance studio in the Valley where my dance company sometimes rehearses (as do some of the contestants on Dancing With The Stars! Yes, I met Mario. Yes, these are the perks of living in Los Angeles.). The large studio at the back has one stretch of mirror that is actually a one-way mirror, and there is a small sitting room on the other side of it. It's great - when you arrive early for your class or rehearsal, you get to sit and watch without disturbing anyone. Except, that whole idea is disturbing!

And just now, I am actually sitting in a cafe (in San Diego today, not LA, more on this later[0] if you care...) with some grad student friends. While they type away at their dissertations, I'm surfing and blogging and being otherwise unproductive, yay me! So I just went to the restroom, and in the space over the sink where a mirror should be, there is a one-way mirror. Ok, to be very clear, it's set in such a way that the pee'er can look through the window side and see the patrons of the cafe at their tables, NOT the other way 'round. But freaaaaaaaky! You walk in there and realize there's a window, and you fight the overwhelming urge to walk right back out and look in the window... and you lose that battle, so you do walk right back out and around the corner and there is the same plant you just saw through the window, but it's in front of a mirror, not a window. Allow me to say it again: Fuh-Reak-EE.
(Click the pic to biggen.)

[0] So, on Thursday afternoon I met someone for ice cream, and from there I met another couple of friends that were out to dinner, and from there we went dancing, and when that ended at midnight I went to another friend's house and played Guitar Hero for four hours (I LOVE Guitar Hero. Make no mistake. If you were in the mood to buy me a little something to brighten my day, that would be an excellent choice. But then, I may never leave my house again). After that, at 4:30am, I drove down to San Diego, I arrived at 6:30 or so and crawled into bed with my bestest friend. You'd think I was trying to get in a whole summer vacation in the three days before I go off to work at sleepaway camp or something. That is how I ended up in this cafe with the one-way mirror in the bathroom, this lovely cafe that has as many laptops in it as people and has free wi-fi and yet apparently no website. It's in South Park and it's called Urban Grind, if you care. The turkey-and-brie panini is fabulous. The grilled veggie sandwich less so (even if you get it with pesto instead of hummus (which, speaking of which, are like the two most anti-social foods ever. Either it's green specks in the teeth or terrible garlic-breath, yeesh. Who invented these things?) but if you're going to try to pick the little green pesto bits out of your teeth, don't use the mirror behind the plant... someone is probably looking right at you from the other side!).

OMG UPDATE: Since not everyone will read the comments or follow links from there, I had to update to include this link to these public toilets with one-way mirrors - I will tell you the truth; I do not think I could do it. Thanks, jjd!

1 comment:

jjd said...

Your bathroom looks pretty tame compared to this one!