Too Much Criminal (Conversations)

I am amongst the Serial Podcast junkies.  I may have listened to the whole series more than once.  When Undisclosed appeared a few weeks ago my fascination was rekindled and I typed “Podcast like Serial” into Google.  I found tons of recommendations.

I was in my neighborhood, on my morning walk listening to the Podcast Criminal when a security car pulled up.  Two security guards got out and started walking on the path in my direction.  My mind raced. Oh my goodness. What has happened?  I looked down at my hands holding my camera.  What could I be blamed for I thought?  This is the moment when I should have realized I’ve been listening to too many True Crime Podcasts.  Panic at the site of security guards for doing nothing.  I felt fear & worry.

I smiled. “Hello, sir.”  Ugh. I thought.  Why didn’t I use a local greeting?  Fortunately, his English was excellent.  “Miss, do you live here?” I did.  I named my building and apartment number so they would believe me.  He said that he received a call from residents that someone was taking photos of their homes.  “Oh, no,” I put on my most sympathetic face.  I felt like such an idiot. “I’m sorry. I’m taking close up photos of flowers. I didn’t intend to upset anyone.”  At this point I still felt fear.  People take their privacy seriously in my neighborhood and I had no idea who I had upset. 

The second guard was not so friendly and his English was a lot harder to understand.  He started lecturing me about requesting permission, not being allowed to take photos of the flowers, and a whole slew of things I couldn’t understand.  Of course, when I asked him to slow down and repeat himself that just made him madder.  I was trying, honestly, to sort out how to make him feel better.  Fortunately, the first guard was still acting pretty light hearted. 

I was wondering if they were going to toss my in their car or ask for my camera or delete my photos.  I even pulled one up as a gesture of good faith to show them my nearly macro close photos. 

“Please come this way and speak with our manager,” he said.  I followed, reluctantly, not knowing where we were going.  I assumed I was going in the backseat.  I was dressed in work out clothes.  I was hardly prepared to be taken to someone’s office. 

We took a few steps around the corner.  The manager was in the front seat of the car.  He was dressed professionally.  He opened the door and smiled.  We chatted briefly.  He politely said, “You live here too and I’m sure you like your privacy.  Please try to be a bit more cautious and send my team an email in the future so we know it is you.”  I agreed. The conversation was over. We smiled and said farewell.  My heart was racing as I walked away.  I had committed no crime.  Why was I so stressed? I packed my camera, walked passed the flowers I had been shooting, put my headphones on and turned Criminal back on.  Um, duh, wasn’t I supposed to learn not to listen to this already? 

My fear of the security team is embarrassingly comical to me now that I am at home sitting at my computer.  Serial, Criminal and the other Podcast shows I have been obsessing over are making me seriously paranoid.  As if I’m going to be convicted of some crime I didn’t even know occurred because I was standing in my neighborhood taking pictures of flowers.  Hello, I have the camera with time and date stamped photos of flowers. Only flowers. My imagination is unreasonable. Impossibly unreasonable.  I think I better go back to listening to TED Talks.  Wait, why am I downloading the next episode of Criminal?





First published: May 19, 2015