The old house computer I bought refurbished from Heartland America is still working just fine on dialup. I wish I could say the same for the netbook. Yesterday I used the Wi-Fi at the laundrymat to download anti-virus updates and a bunch of music. Last night it was playing the music and moving files and unzipping folders just fine. But today it seems to be stuck in hibernate, and I fear I will have to let the battery run down to zero so it shuts itself off.
But I digress. Nosy neighbors! I have some. They like to eavesdrop at the doors and windows, and peek inside the house. After years of ratty vinyl mini-blinds I installed some heavy curtains from Bed Bath & Beyond and I’m sure that has annoyed them endlessly.
They eavesdrop on conversations, if I have a guest. If I’m on the phone, they eavesdrop on my end of the conversation. If I am operating one of my many machines, they eavesdrop on that. When I hear them outside the window discussing what the machine might be and what I might be using it for, I know they are there. You see, eavesdropping works both ways.
I had a neighbor who had yard sales every weekend one summer. Every weekend she would open her gates, put her yard sale signs out, and hang stuff on her fence. People would park all over the street to go look at the junk she was trying to sell. I don’t imagine she was very successful at selling it because she kept trying to sell the same junk every weekend.
My personal view of yard sales isn’t very nice. I think it white-trashes the neighborhood. I don’t like my street looking like Little Baghdad every weekend. Very rarely have I ever considered buying someone else’s garbage. But it is true that sometimes one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I keep this in mind whenever I see a yard sale: they are trying to sell their trash.
One Saturday I noticed this neighbor putting her yard sale signs out and hanging stuff on her fence, and my phone rang. I left the front door open and answered the phone. During the conversation I was talking about this neighbor and her yard sales. What I said was that there is a county office down there where they issue business licenses. If the county people were to come up here and see all the merchandise this woman has stacked in her driveway, and all the inventory she has stacked in her garage, and that she has regular hours every weekend, they might issue her a citation and fine her for doing business without a license.
After I got off the phone I went outside. She had taken all the stuff off her fence, and had brought her yard sale signs back inside her perimeter, and had closed and locked her gate. You see, the nosy neighbor had eavesdropped on my conversation and ran and told the woman that I was going to turn her in to the county. We don’t have yard sales around here much any more.
My nosy neighbors’ children have learned that it is acceptable to eavesdrop and peek inside the house. One day I had the front door open again. I have a security door, like a screen door. It’s hard to see through it. I sat here on the sofa and watched as one of the nosy children came up to the security door and put her nose up against the screen, trying to see into my house. I said, "WHAT are you doin’" and scared the crap out of that child. That was fun.
One night I sent out for a pizza. It was nearly time for the pizza guy to arrive, so I went out front, and while I was waiting, I witnessed a nosy neighbor lurking in the shadows by another nosy neighbor’s front door. Eavesdropping. I watched for a while. The nosy neighbor did not notice me, too busy trying to eavesdrop. Finally I said "BOO" and scared the crap out of that nosy neighbor. That was fun, too.
Recently I had a houseguest who is digitally inclined. I figured the houseguest would raise the curiosity of the nosy neighbors to a fever pitch, since the houseguest is female and attractive. I was right.
One night the houseguest figured out how to download sequential episodes of a cable TV series called Weeds. As far as I can tell, Weeds is like Desperate Housewives, only takes place in San Diego, and it’s about smuggling dope, growing dope, smoking dope, and selling dope. My houseguest was fascinated by this and watched several episodes of Weeds, one right after the other, with the TV volume around 12 or 15, from about 9PM until around 6AM the following day, with the front door open the whole time.
My nosy neighbors had plenty of opportunity to eavesdrop, and concluded that someone in my house was engaging in an illegal activity. They ran that up the flagpole. When it finally hit that brick wall of logic downtown, the one that’s attended by lawyers and law enforcement professionals, I can only imagine how the conversation went.
"You are alleging that someone in that house is doing something illegal?" Yes.
"And you are basing this on what?" Well, the neighbors were outside and heard all this stuff on the TV.
"So you’re saying that because someone was watching TV, that means they were doing something illegal?" Well, yes, because what they were watching on TV was about smuggling dope, and growing dope, and smoking dope, and selling dope.
"I see. And they know all this how?" Well, they were eavesdropping.
"I see. Eavesdropping. Are you familiar with the concept of INVASION OF PRIVACY?" Well, yes, but it seemed illegal.
"So you are claiming that there is something illegal going on because they were watching a TV program? And you know what they were watching because someone was eavesdropping? And you don’t mind that you’re basing all these allegations on a TV program and an invasion of privacy?" Well, no.
"WHAT are you doing here??!?"
Scare the crap out of those nosy people.