Ross: The doorbells have made me paranoid
Lately we’ve had a lot of stories that involve doorbell videos — whether it’s porch pirates, or worse. I suddenly became aware last week of the effect that this crowd-sourcing of security can have even on law-abiding citizens – by which I mean, me.
The situation unfolded as follows:
We were back east last week visiting family, and my wife and I were packing up to leave. I have the rental car parked on the street just outside my daughter’s house. It’s one of those classic city neighborhoods with the houses close together separated by alleyways. It’s a cold morning, and I tell my wife that I am going outside with my suitcase, and I’m going to start the car and let it warm up; when you’re ready with your suitcase, just bring it out to the car.
So there I am, in the car, and it’s warming up, and I’m arranging stuff in the back, and after several minutes, I notice my wife is not coming out.
I leave the car running and I go back in, and there she is in the house, and I say, “are you ready to go?” She says she is, and I ask her where her suitcase is. She says, “I put my suitcase in the car like you told me – where were you?”
I said, “I’ve been in the car, and there’s no suitcase.” And she says, “I put it in the car – I’ll show you.” She points to the running car – across the street. It was a running car all right, and it looked a little like our rental, but it wasn’t our car.
It was obviously owned by the guy across the street who was also getting ready to leave, and had left his car running too.
So she says, “OK, just go and take it out.”
Now, we don’t know anyone in this neighborhood. I’m thinking, I am not going to walk up to someone else’s running car, parked right in front of his house, in a neighborhood that’s probably got 10 doorbell cameras, open the door, and start taking stuff out – even if it’s mine.
But I have to do something, because clearly, he’s about to drive off with our stuff, and whatever I do, it has to be something that will draw zero clicks on the internet.
So, I ring the doorbell, and the guy answers, and I say, “Here’s what happened: I didn’t want you to think I was some stranger taking something out of your car, even though I am in fact some stranger who needs to take something out of your car.”
And he says, “No problem, my name’s Phil.”
“Thank you, Phil, I’m Dave, that’s my daughter and her husband across the street,” I answered. “They just moved here.”
Suitcase retrieved, crisis over, and we met the neighbors.
And as far as I know, there’s nothing on the internet.
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