You could use a little funny right about now, couldn’t you?
I’d been isolated in stir my home, alone, for about three weeks. I’d stopped bothering changing from day pajamas to night pajamas and just went with whatever until the fumes were visible.
One day after an extra cup of coffee, I had enough energy to fill my bird feeder. The seed container was half empty so I admit I was having some feelings about filling the tube feeder to the top. Less than an hour after I filled the feeder I went to the sliding door, a third cup of coffee in hand, to watch the cardinals, woodpeckers and nuthatches that regularly visit. But there were grackles instead, their weight almost pulling the feeder from the deck railing. I love birds in general but I hate grackles. They’re big thug birds with oily feathers, beedie eyes and they don’t like sharing. Outraged, I stepped out onto the deck and yelled, “Oh no, you ain’t eatin’ today!”
Now, I have new next door neighbors. I’ve judged and disparaged them the way I do most of my neighbors as I mentioned in my doorbell cam post. I judged their social class by their clothes. I judged their decision making abilities by their apparent lack of coronavirus protection. Whelp, when I screamed at the grackles I hadn’t noticed that the new people were in their backyard playing ball until it was too late. In that moment I saw myself as they saw me; an old women in a food stained shirt and wrinkled pajama bottoms, hair sticking up on her head, shouting at birds. Karma is a bitch.
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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.