There's one in every neighborhood. That one person who takes it upon themselves to watch everything and everybody. They have this incessant need to know everything as if it gets them some level of respect. Which it typically doesn't. It gets them an unprecedented level of untrust. Still, they do seem to know a lot.
I was on this case recently watching a house in a predominantly African American neighborhood. I expected (which really is the problem lol) some older, middle-aged woman to be the neighborhood busybody. This is typical in most neighborhoods regardless of race or color. I was dead wrong. I'm not ashamed of that, this entire job is a constant learning experience so I went with the learning on this one.
So I parked at a church. I love these. The parking lots are rarely empty and most people just instinctively dismiss any new cars parked there as being visitors, etc. This church just happened to be in full view of my claimants home. It was perfect. I climbed into the backseat of my car and sat there for quite sometime before it got too stuffy in the car and I moved up front to crack the windows.
I sat there a few minutes enjoying the breeze. (My claimant wasn't home and so I wasn't too worried about being burned by the way.) Then I noticed that there were several people walking in the neighborhood and some were going to the store and other close by locations. I just sat there an observed the human behaviors before me. Then I noticed a young man, maybe in his mid 20's came walking from behind my car and across the parking lot. He looked at me and I just kept on about my business, being careful not to look in the direction of my claimant's home.
The young man came back through the lot again about 10 minutes later. That's when I got suspicious. It's not common for anyone to walk to the store twice in such close time frames. Another thing that complicated his actions was that it was raining. The area was under a tropical storm warning and here he is walking around in the rain to go to the store twice? He didn't have that much in either bag so I have trouble believing that he forgot something important the first time and went right back.
A few minutes later my claimant came home and purposely did some things that lead me to believe he was expecting someone to be watching him. I caught on quick though and I followed him very briefly and then turned another direction and doubled back to his house. When I got back to his house, he was already there which just verifies I was right in my initial assumption.
So I didn't turn down his road, I took another road and went to a nearby business. There I parked under a carport amidst other cars and blocked from his view by some heavy machinery. I had a small hole in which I could see his house. I sat there about 30 minutes when the same guy who walked by me twice earlier walked through this parking lot, looked right at me and went toward my claimants home.
Yeah now I know he's the neighborhood busybody. What I couldn't figure out is how he knew I was there. I know people talk and word travels quickly but this seemed rather fishy indeed. I had entered this area from a back road, hadn't passed my claimants home or the church and no one was around when I did it. There were also no houses in this area. I didn't like it....AT ALL.
I immediately began scoping out other places to park. Once you have one person watching you, there are bound to be more. Busybody types don't keep their mouth closed for long and I'm dead sure he had told other people - even possibly my claimant. Changing cars at this point in the game wasn't an option. I felt like my safety was compromised at this point.
But where does a girl go who needs to hide in plain sight in these circumstances? Simply getting into the back of my car was no longer an option. I couldn't sit to far away on this case because there were too many options for where he could go. Dilemma, dilemma. It's like a battle of wits with the players in opposite rooms. I had a paycheck at stake though so I did not want to be defeated.
I finally decided just to drive around a bit and see if I could find anywhere else that was feasible that wasn't on this block. That's the beauty of the neighborhood busybody. He/she sticks to their block. So it only takes a short move away and they stop looking for you. The trouble is, it's not always easy to find an inconspicuous place to park that has an easy exit. I'll be writing more about why you need those soon.