Author Topic: is it better to be early or to be creepy?  (Read 3209 times)

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lellah

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is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« on: February 02, 2014, 02:21:28 PM »
Yesterday cold weather kept my car from starting. I had work responsibilities, so my boss lent me our dreadful (but oh so gratefully accepted) white panel van for the day to use for both work and my own personal errands for the weekend.

Last evening I had a dinner party invitation.  I'd never been to the host's home, so I left a bit early to give myself time to get lost and then found again.  I ended up making it to their neighborhood 20 minutes early.  I drove around for a bit.  Then I parked, freshened my lipstick, fluffed the bow on the bottle of wine, and generally wasted time.  Then I remembered their neighborhood has recently seen a rash of break-ins.  Someone driving around in a battered, windowless van and then sitting parked for a prolonged period seems like it would creep people out considerably.  So I popped out and knocked on the door around five minutes before time of my invitation.

Generally I would show up fifteen minutes later than the stated time, as is the convention around, so I was quite early.  My hosts were a bit surprised, to say the least. But later I spied a cop car parked behind the van, presumably running the plates.  Showing up early seems gauche.  Showing up on time in the company of police officers seem somehow more gauche, not to mention embarrassing.

So.  Should I have stayed in the van for another twenty? Or showed up just when I did?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2014, 02:25:00 PM »
I think you were OK but what might have been better would be to drive back out to a coffee shop for a bit then headed over to be on time.

I do hope you told your hosts the story; they would probably have gotten a really good laugh about it.  Even more so after spotting the police car running the plates.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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lellah

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2014, 02:32:48 PM »
I would've loved to have gone to a coffee shop! Alas, it's a housing development in a rural area.  A ten minute drive would've taken me to a sketchy convenience store.

Raintree

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2014, 02:35:17 PM »
I'd not have thought twice about sitting in a van for 15 minutes as you were not committing a crime. I frequently sit in my car if I'm early for something, or to finish listening to something on the radio that began while I was driving. Sometimes I get in my car after being out somewhere and sit there for a few minutes making phone calls or texting before I take off (they WANT you to be parked, not driving, while you use your phone; also it's a quiet, comfortable and private place to make a call). So sitting in a car is not THAT strange an activity, and it's also not a crime to be driving a beater, or a van.

If the police actually did approach me (and I think they'd need good reason beyond, "you're sitting in your car"), I'd say airily, "Oh, I'm early for a dinner party so I'm waiting." I think they'd get the general vibe once they saw you!

rose red

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2014, 02:35:24 PM »
Arriving 5 minutes early is fine.  If it doesn't cause suspicion, perhaps you could have driven around for another 5 minutes, but not 20.  I dislike an invitation which say a certain time but guests are just "expected" to know to arrive 15 minutes later. 

lellah

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2014, 02:40:25 PM »
I'd not have thought twice about sitting in a van for 15 minutes as you were not committing a crime. I frequently sit in my car if I'm early for something, or to finish listening to something on the radio that began while I was driving. Sometimes I get in my car after being out somewhere and sit there for a few minutes making phone calls or texting before I take off (they WANT you to be parked, not driving, while you use your phone; also it's a quiet, comfortable and private place to make a call). So sitting in a car is not THAT strange an activity, and it's also not a crime to be driving a beater, or a van.

If the police actually did approach me (and I think they'd need good reason beyond, "you're sitting in your car"), I'd say airily, "Oh, I'm early for a dinner party so I'm waiting." I think they'd get the general vibe once they saw you!

I agree completely! If it weren't for the break ins, I would've cracked a book, tipped my seat, and made myself to home.  But I was trying to be considerate of the neighbors.  I know that if I looked out my window and saw someone sitting in an unfamiliar vehicle during a time when I was concerned about break-ins, I'd be quite worried. 

demarco

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2014, 04:11:10 PM »
I probably would have been uncomfortable either staying in the van or arriving early but I guess I would have stayed in the van. 

A somewhat related story. A long time ago I was living in a mostly rural area and in the market for a house.  I needed to meet my realtor and suggested an isolated bank branch next to the interstate as a meeting point. She was coming from one town, I was coming from another and we were going to look at a house in a third area and the bank was the most convenient place. I arrived about 20 minutes early, just after  the bank opened, and sat in the car waiting for the realtor. Shortly after I arrived, an employee came out of the bank, stood there, and looked at me and my car for a long time. I'm sure she wanted me to see her watching me.

I understood the sensitivity. An isolated bank branch next to an interstate might be an attractive target for a would be bank robber, especially in a region known for fleeing wrongdoers disappearing into the mountains. It didn't bother me. I thought it was pretty funny and I understood why she did it. I had a good laugh about it with the realtor when she showed up.





 

GratefulMaria

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2014, 04:23:48 PM »
A close friend of mine lives in a neighborhood renowned for its holiday light displays.  Her family moved from a very dangerous area in another part of the country.  She sees a van circling her house, notes it, but doesn't stress; second time, gets a little worried; third time, she's on the phone with 911.  The dispatcher asks some questions, and finally says, "It's December. You live on XXX Lane.  People are driving by to look at your decorations." 

gen xer

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2014, 05:26:10 PM »
You were fine.  I wouldn't have thought twice about sitting there  for a few minutes.

White vans always get a bad rap don't they?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2014, 05:39:49 PM »
We have a guy on our ball team who is an HVAC guy and so he drives a white panel van with no side windows in the back.  It is marked with the name of his company but we've taken to calling it his perv van whenever he doesn't have time to go home and get his car before a game.  He takes it in good humour, fortunately.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2014, 06:01:32 PM »
I would have left the neighborhood as soon as I realized I was 20 min early and found a commercial area to park in till start time.

TootsNYC

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2014, 06:38:23 PM »
I'd have stayed there. Maybe I'd have turned the inside light on, if I were worried people were feeling threatened. Or, turned on the emergency flashers. Both of those would, I think, have sent a subtle message that said, "I don't care if you notice me; I have a legit reason to be here."

kudeebee

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2014, 07:28:58 PM »
I would have left the neighborhood as soon as I realized I was 20 min early and found a commercial area to park in till start time.

That is a good idea if it is possible to do.  OP stated she would have been at a sketchy convenience store.

I have also gone some places that were unfamiliar to me that were rural housing areas. There are no places to go to.  I just wait in the car in front of the house or in the drive, reading a book, until it is time to go in. 

Outdoor Girl

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2014, 08:04:14 PM »
I'd have stayed there. Maybe I'd have turned the inside light on, if I were worried people were feeling threatened. Or, turned on the emergency flashers. Both of those would, I think, have sent a subtle message that said, "I don't care if you notice me; I have a legit reason to be here."

These both would have been good ideas - obvious that you didn't care who noticed you.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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CakeEater

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Re: is it better to be early or to be creepy?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2014, 08:46:11 PM »
5 minutes is nothing - It wouldn't even occur to me that 5 minutes early would be a problem.