What happened to me was not, actually, the mid-semester crunch, but more appropriately a household scare that could happen to any one of us, so I’m here to fill you in on my dilemma so you won’t make the same mistake.
We all watch shock-journalism shows like “Dateline,” right? So by this point in our adult lives, we should all have a fairly universal idea of “right and wrong.” We teach our children about “stranger danger,” and what to do and not to do in certain situations. Let me recap last Tuesday morning for you and tell me what you think.
Tuesday morning, 8am:
Following a trip to my son’s bus stop, I found myself putting hot rollers in my hair in the privacy of my master bathroom when my dogs began barking out on my back lanai. I threw on some boxers and one of my boyfriend’s work shirts, half-convincing myself it must be my aforementioned boyfriend home early from work to surprise me. (I don’t get much company, if you can’t tell.)
I installed a new front door a few years ago, one of those fancy glass-fronted jobs, and as I arrived at the door, I had my finger on the deadbolt to unlock it, but at the last second I pulled the curtain aside to reveal a gentleman on the porch with a clipboard in his hand. He was turned around looking up at the ceiling, so I said through the glass window, “Can I help you?”
To make a long story short, he explains to me that he’s been sent by the power company to disconnect a surge protector I have on the side of my house, but that in order to begin work, he just needs my signature on his clipboard. I asked him who authorized the disconnect, and he said, “The homeowner did.” He flashed me his clipboard, which had a faxed or copied piece of paper in black and white with the FPL logo at the top and my name typed in, but it just didn’t feel right. This guy could’ve gotten my name from anywhere: the phone book, a piece of mail in my mailbox, anywhere.
I called FPL and while I was waiting on hold, the guy is still trying to convince me to open my door, telling me this time that if I could sign on this OTHER line if I wanted to decline the service. I flat-out told him that I was declining to sign ANYTHING, thank you very much, and that he could leave. I said since I hadn’t authorized anything with FPL, I would take care of the miscommunication myself.
Do you believe that, after I walked away from the front door, the guy still entered my side yard? I was incredibly skeeved out. The actual FPL (who I finally reached much, much later) confirmed that no one had been sent to my house, and told me to call the police.
So, what would you have done? Men? Women? Do you know what you would do if a stranger approached your door asking for a signature? Trust me when I tell you that you might feel like an idiot talking to someone through your door, but when you consider the alternative, suddenly you don’t feel so dumb. Now that the weather has cooled down, home invasions and scams like this are on the rise. Please be safe, keep your eyes peeled, occasionally glance at your neighbor’s house as well, and if you see something suspicious, report it. I’m not saying to call 911 at the drop of a hat, but remember that more often than not, people feel silly about reporting things to the police department, thinking they might be overreacting. Let the police decide that. You don’t have to dial 911, you can also report on the non-emergency number for your area, but stay alert this time of year, and be safe.