Ding Dong

I got a doorbell camera. There have been unintended consequences.

When I had it installed a few months ago I didn’t know about the alert feature that indicates when there’s motion near the door and records it. There had been some car break-ins and package thefts in my neighborhood, so I set the detection range from my car in the parking lot to my front door. This is what the camera has detected ninety-five percent of the time:


Nothing. Nada. Not a thing.

The other five percent of the time it has detected the routine comings and goings of my neighbors. This has resulted in making me what my son calls “that nosy old woman”. I know what time everyone leaves in the morning and what time they come back. I know which people are frequent Amazon customers and who still gets old school newspapers. I know what time they walk their dogs and who doesn’t pick up the doo. If the alert chimes at an irregular time during the day I run to the window to see who’s up to what. Worst of all, I judge everybody. I’ve come up with names for them like, Mr. Back and Forth, The Phantom, Weird Guy, Crooked Parking Grandma…

Anyway, it wasn’t just the package thefts and car break-ins that prompted me to get the camera. I got it because I felt vulnerable. I developed insomnia from worrying that someone was going to break into my house in the middle of the night. I think that as I’ve gotten older, I feel I can’t defend myself the way I once could. It didn’t help that racoons were setting off the motion detector on my back slider every few nights. The point is that it was all in my head. I knew it was the racoons lighting up the deck at 3am but I couldn’t shake the fear. I imagined that someone was going to get in and something terrible was going to happen to me. What my doorbell camera has shown me is that nothing ever happens in my neighborhood and that my neighbors are just plain folks. It has shown me that the problem is internal not external. Security measures are a good thing, anxiety isn’t. My therapist daughter says that I need to think about that and for God’s sake stop watching people. I think that from now on I’ll only turn the alert on at night.

10 thoughts on “Ding Dong

  1. Very, very funny……you have become what we use to call the “neighborhood sentinels”. Although we are somewhat critical of these people, they, in fact, serve an important role in community life. Who do the police depend upon when thefts have been committed? The sentinels. Who provides the best tips when a child goes missing? The sentinels. Who contributes to all of the crime-solving camera footage we see on TV? The sentinels and their Ring doorbells!! You may certainly wish to modify the Ring schedule, but remember, you’ve joined the ranks of neighborhood VIP’s……Sentinels, Town Criers, etc! Who would have thunk??

    Liked by 1 person

    • “What makes the hot n tot so hot, what puts the ape in apricot…” Lolololol. Sorry Big Sis. Your comment reminded me of how you used to torture me with “If I Were King of the Forest”. Seriously though, thanks for your positive take on my nosiness.


  2. I have anxiety disorder and truly understand this post. Also, I have lived alone for a very short time, and it was uncomfortable at best. Too often, my husband was deployed or gone on training and I experienced similar feelings. We live on a short dead end street, where most of us are sentinels. Foot traffic and unknown cars are unwelcome. I like it very very much.
    However, just the other night, in my fear grip, I thought about if something happened to my husband and I was left on my own, kids gone, dog no more etc, I’d want another dog, a security system, a roommate — so while I realize you have some anxiety going on and you should treat that, there is nothing wrong with an ounce of prevention.
    Also, my neighbors don’t much have names either. Some of them do, but mostly, they’re labels.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yup, the transition from having my people around 24/7 to living alone has been a challenge. I’m sorry you experience the “fear grip”. Obviously, we both know it well. Thanks for this comment, Joey. It would be great if we could be relieved of our anxiety but it’s somewhat comforting for me to know I’m not alone in the struggle. My neighbors are a whole other story. 😳

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We install cameras in the front door and back patio areas. And in our kitchen/living room area. It was a bit creepy that when I was on vacation, I would watch my husband in our living room. He was just sitting on the couch working on the computer, but it was still creepy to be able to watch him. Big Brother has arrived!
    P.S. Our neighborhood is as boring as yours!!


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