I Am A Modern Day Mrs. Kravitz

Security Cameras Will Make You One Too

I assume most people here have seen or heard of Bewitched? It was a sitcom that aired between 1964 and 1972 and has since been in syndication. Think TBS or Nick-At-Nite; it might be on Hulu or Netflix.

The urban fantasy centers around a witch who has betrothed herself to a mortal man, and vows to adhere to the life of a suburban/domestic housewife, abandoning the use of her magic. Easier said than done, especially when her eccentric, spell-wielding relatives come to visit. Hilarity and hijinks are sure to ensue.

Gladys Kravitz is the protagonist’s nosy neighbor. She witnesses all sorts of otherwise unexplainable things but is never able to produce proof.

Like Kravitz, I too am something of a nosy neighbor. Err, rather I like to know what is going on around my home.

Wait. Hold on a sec. Maybe I should fancy myself more of a James Stewart from Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954). It is a fantastic movie. Stewart plays a photographer who is temporarily confined to a wheelchair while recuperating from a broken leg. The character, Jeff, resides in a small Greenwich Village apartment with a rear window that looks upon a courtyard and several other apartments. Jeff, restless and with little to do, occupies his time by neighbor-watching. Many of them have their windows open due to a particularly unpleasant heat wave. Throughout the course of the movie, we glimpse the good and bad of the neighbors’ lives, and at one point think we’ve witnessed something criminal. Jeff’s girlfriend Lisa (played by the VERY young and lovely Grace Kelly) and his home health nurse, Stella, get roped into his hobby. There is humor, suspense, and the writing and characters are wonderful.

Rear Window film poster (via Paramount International)

But I digress…sorry. Couldn’t help but load up with exposition.

Now, unlike the aforementioned characters, I’m not going around peeking into windows. That is criminal. I do, however, frequently engage in watching our security footage.

When we moved in last year, my ever so tech-savvy significant other, installed a security system with several cameras. Screening the footage is one of my hobbies.

In the last year, I’ve seen the following highlights:

  • I question the safety and skill of local drivers as, each and every day, at least one drives the wrong way on the one way we live on. This is especially concerning since there are a couple of schools nearby.
  • I’ve seen and judged how my neighbors and their guests park their cars. You would think they would get how downtown/city parking works, but no. They park haphazardly, taking up 2–3 spaces for their one, or gently tap one another when trying to parallel park.
  • There is an older gentleman who is extremely particular about yard maintenance. So much so that I’ve caught him mowing the yards on the opposite side of the street from his home. He also fusses about with a broom and dustpan, tidying up along the curbside. Sometimes he uses the blower of his mower to remove clippings from the road. From an aerial view though, he looks like he is mowing the street. Kinda weird.
  • We discovered, after-the-fact, a young man as he swayed and stumbled his way up the street. Likely drunk. He then sat down on the steps of our walkway and promptly passed out. This was around 3 am on a weekday. Other night owls passed him by, not showing him any attention. It wasn’t until someone (we assume) during the start of morning rush-hour spotted him and thought to call 911. Around 7 am, an ambulance arrived and four EMTs checked on the man. He roused from his fetal position on our steps, stood, and walked away from the scene. Sans the cameras, we would have never known such a thing occurred.
  • I watched as a man, shrouded in dark clothing, walk along the other side of the street. Suddenly, he halted, turned and began to march towards our front door. It was 2 in the morning and I was home alone, asleep at this time. Just as he began to come into the light of our porch, and realized he was under surveillance, his body language changed completely. He stopped, turned, and walked away. I have no idea what would have happened had he not seen the signs and cameras.
  • A homeless man taking water from our hose.
  • We know when our kids come and go.
  • We’ve recorded accidents.
  • I’ve seen when and HOW our packages get delivered.
  • I can tell when someone has broken up and or moved out.
  • I’ve watched as a couple living two doors down kiss one another goodbye, and it was one of the most romantic things I’d ever seen.
  • I see when people use our trash bins or go through the trash.
  • I see how quickly people will take a piece of furniture left on the curb.
  • I’ve seen people and animals come and go all hours of the night.
  • When it started to rain or snow, during the night.
  • I know when we’ve had some utility or road crew come through to do work outside.
  • Officers showing up, looking for former homeowners/tenants.

It is amazing the life our home leads when we’re not there or asleep. In terms of likening myself to the aforementioned film characters, so far, I’ve not come across any of them performing witchcraft or disposing of a body.

Technophobe Who Codes | Writer | “Egalitarian”-Feminist (redundant, I know) | True-Crime/Forensics Enthusiast