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What is the fine line between Neighbourhood Watch and stalking ... or just plain nosey? | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com
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Neighbourhood watch or stalking?

 

When does Neighbourhood Watch get classified as stalking–or just plain nosey?

 

When did neighbourhood watch become stalking?  There’s stalking.  And then there’s stalking.  Right?  In my best Kim Kardashian voice: I feel like the term stalking is so overused these days.

These days stalking describes social media habits—you know the ones? Your Facebook friends who know exactly what you’ve been up to but don’t ever press the like button (you know who you are).  Then there’s the people that hop on your Instagram and browse your page and like all the photos they haven’t liked because, well, they like them.  In this day and age this is stalking.  The fear of the double-tap is real people.

Neighbourhood watch

What about when you have a neighbour who happens to be an actor and you glance over to see if there’s any activity in the front yard.  Is that stalking?  We all do it, don’t we? Glance over to see what the neighbours are up to?  Don’t we or is that just me?  In my day it was Neighborhood Watch—note the capitals to show it’s a genuine bona fide program.  These days (especially if you live next door to a person of interest) it’s called stalking.

Is it stalking when you follow them in the car because you both happen to leave your houses at the same time? That happened to me the other week.  He pulled out first (unbeknown to me) and I was on my way to tennis.  How was I supposed to know that he was traveling in my direction? For the longest time.  The longest time.  Suddenly I felt like a stalker yet all I was doing was doing what I always do on a Thursday morning.

It got so bad that I put my indicator on and moved into the right-hand lane ultra early so he’d know I had a purpose—and that purpose was not to follow him.  How was I supposed to know that he was turning right on that street too? Maybe he was stalking me? I’ve never been so relieved to see the tennis courts were up ahead and I was turning off thus ending the seemingly stalking-like behaviour.  (And, by the way, in case he was stalking me he now knows where I play tennis.)

There was the time Miss 14 and I were reversing out of house and we noticed his double doors that we hadn’t noticed before.  We were noticing how nice they looked. “Oh God mum, he’s caught us stalking him how embarrassing.”

“That’s not stalking, that’s admiring his doors,” I was quick to comment back.  Isn’t it?

Admiring our house

Maybe he’s a little paranoid of stalking us too.  He told me he loved our house and how pretty it is.  “If you catch me staring at your house it’s just because I think it’s so beautiful”.  (See, goes to argument of him stalking me.)

When we got our beautiful new gate put in, he fell in love with our house all over again.  My daughter was walking out the gates and caught him looking in.  “Just admiring your beautiful new gates,” he said.

When Mr 16 got his car and licence I saw him not long after and said, “Check it, I have my very own driver now.”

“I know,” he replied.

See?  See?  It’s not stalking to survey the scene, admire the renovations, goings on, check that everything is as it should be; look, notice and move on.  I think that’s healthy good neighbour behaviour.  And if he was anyone other that who he is then I wouldn’t even be having this conversation with you.

Mrs Mangle/Mrs Kravitz/Nosey neighbour

But at what point does “genuinely-interested-neighbourhood-watch-neighbour-who’s-not-a-stalker” turn into “nosey-neighbour”?

Nosey neighbours make great television.  Over the years there has been many a classic nosey neighbour (whom I hasten to add you love to hate).  They invented Neighbourhood Watch.

In conducting a little research I came across this post.

I get it—there are definitely those neighbours who gawk and spend hours out the window with curiosity at fever pitch.  But that’s not me.  Is it?

My 16-year old and I were out the front washing cars and he came out into his front yard.  We couldn’t see him, we could only hear him.  My first instinct was to yell over the fence, “Hi. Need your car washed?” But all I could think of was nosey Mrs Mangle from Neighbours or that Mrs Kravitz from Bewitched.

Remember this is the young lad that knocked on my door when he first bought the house?  I can say “hi” can’t I?

But instead we stayed quiet and pretended that we didn’t know he was there.  How lame is that?  I wanted to say hi, why shouldn’t I say hi but the kids’ paranoia coupled with my vision of Mrs Kravitz trying to catch her neighbours out stopped me dead in my tracks.

Instead of friendly neighbour saying hi all I could picture was that dreaded neighbour who comes out from out of the bushes every single time you head outside saying, “Yoohoo”.  Damn you stalkers and nosey neighbours.  You make it hard for us normal non-stalking stalkers to live.

Mrs Kravitz

Mrs Kravtiz from Bewitched (image copied from Michael in Madrid the Blog).

Bodyguards outside my house

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before that my daughter has a rather famous friend.  I think I may have but those of you who are new to the Blog might not know.  Anyway, this friend has been coming over to the house a bit lately.  His visit comes with a bodyguard.  Sometimes I know who the bodyguard will be, other times I don’t.

The first time I knew the bodyguard was going to be outside I thought I better text G to let him know the person sitting in the car outside my house is not paparazzi, nor a stalker but a bodyguard.

There’s quite a perk to having a bodyguard stationed outside your house.  Firstly, well it’s obvious, you feel safe.  And let’s face it in LA that’s as good as it gets.

Their very first “hang” I was told they’d be fine as the bodyguard would be there to watch over them.  I must admit my first thought was that’s all great but if something’s going to happen your bodyguard is paid to protect your son and my daughter might not be able to get the same level of protection.  I don’t know how this all works, it’s still new to me.

The second perk to having a bodyguard stationed out the front of your house is well … the couple I’ve met have been very easy on the eye.

Will the real nosey neighbour please stand up

The guy that lives opposite from us walks his dog 10 times a day.  He stops outside your house, looks in, lurks and lurks.  When we first moved in, he and his mates would sit in his garage talking for most of the day.  I thought this was fabulous: the best neighbourhood watch you can get.

Then when my gate and front fence were being put in my “gate guy” would report back on his chats through the day.  The real nosey neighbour was telling our gate guy about how the neighbours didn’t want our house built, how the lady on the corner asked everyone why they needed to tear down a perfectly good house to make way for a new one.  I’m pretty sure this guy knows everything that goes on at my place.  I warned G when he moved in.

We look straight into his place from ours so it’s actually much easier to stalk him than it is G next door.  We never really see anyone other than him.  Sometimes we see someone who may be his son, rarely see any females but there are three cars in their drive.  The one thing that strikes us though is the number of people who pull up, go into their garage and come out again.  Some come with packages, others don’t.  That’s what’s earnt him the nickname  “The Drug Dealer”.

In a further twist, one day I was at the kids school picking them up and there he was waiting in the carpark.  I have no idea who he was picking up.  I have no idea what he was doing there.

I’d know if someone from school lived near us as we have a carpool dating app.  The carpool dating app essentially allows us to hook up with our neighbours to arrange to carpool to and from school.  If you don’t carpool then you have to drop off ultra early and pick up ultra late so it’s in your best interests to hook up.  Plus it saves you driving the school every day.  And, in a very un-American twist they police it.

A real stalker would have stayed in the car to see just who he was picking up and work out exactly what he was doing there.  Was he making a drug delivery?

But alas, I’m a failure in the nosey neighbour/stalker department.

We haven’t seen the drug dealer at school since but the mind boggles.

Facebook stalking

I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to Facebook stalk.  I always forget to even when I think I should go into their page and see what’s been going on.  But, when I comment on someone’s post I get the notifications and occasionally one pops up and you think, “get out of town” or “that’s interesting”.

Over the weekend it was a friend’s birthday.  Birthday post notifications were coming in thick and fast.  One post caught my attention as I recognised the surname.  Yes, it was the wife of one of my fave actors, minding her own business commenting on a friend’s post just like I did, safe in obscurity.  Well from everyone that is but this alleged-not-so-good-at-being-nosey stalker.

Just another one of those, “Holy cow I do live in LA don’t I?” moments.

When good neighbours become good friends

Back to neighbours, or neighbourhood watch as the case might be.

When I was growing up one of my fondest memories was being outside painting with my Dad.  The neighbour dad comes out and says hi, two seconds later neighbour mum comes out saying come for a drink.  Next thing you know there were four neighbour families all having drinks, which turned to dinner and we didn’t leave til the wee hours in the morning. Fun times.

You tell me.  Be honest.  Pretend I’m still neighbours with Sue & Tony in Sydney, or Sue & John in Shanghai, or the neighbours I grew up with.  Do you think I’m nosey or a “stalker” or just a friendly neighbour?  I would think nothing of calling out to them, or inviting them over for a drink.  It would be rude if I didn’t.  Or they didn’t.

But they’re not actors whose every move are scrutinised in the tabloids I suppose.  Watch this space.

xx It Started in LA xx

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