Geez, I've been checking the blog, looking for today's post, and I realized that *I'm* today's post!
Okay, let's talk about due diligence, otherwise known as using some sense.
This sounds like a mystery story, and it may be one some day, but this actually happened this week. In fact, let's make it a mystery story, copyright 2008 by Marian Allen.
In The Wake Of The Storm
"Hey," I said. "You still out of power?"
The man looked at me, puzzled. "How do I know you?"
"Oh, I was over at...." I shoved a thumb to the left. "I heard you say you hadn't got power back yet. We got ours last night about 10:00."
"Really?" The puzzled look was replaced by a beleaguered frown. "No, I'm still out. Patterson Road, Dahlgrave, West Bethel and Crawhorn--every road around me has power, but Leaman is still out. I back right up to Patterson, but they have power and I don't."
"That's a shame. Gosh, that's been a long time."
"Yeah, I was kind of worried. Even the burglar alarm is off. I called Estemyer Security and asked them about it, and they said there's nothing they could do. So I called my insurance agent to see if being robbed while the power is out was an Act of God or if it was covered, and he said it was covered. So at least there's that."
"Some good news--I bet you were glad to hear that. Do you at least have water?"
"Yeah, I have water, but no hot water."
"No gas water heater and a gas stove?"
"No." Disgusted grimace. "I've been taking cold showers and eating out. I work at Greenbriar's Restaurant, greeting--"
"Oh, yeah! That's where else I've seen you," I said.
He nodded. "It's expensive, eating out every meal."
"I'll bet. You know you can grill out. You can get single servings of a lot of things that don't need to be refrigerated until after you open them, but you can eat them all up in one sitting."
"Yeah, yeah, I guess I could."
"My mom lives next door, and one of our daughters lives next door on the other side, so we've been having family grill-outs and stuff."
"I live alone. No family around. Nobody I know in the neighborhood."
"Oh, that's too bad. It's a lot easier to take, if you have family and friends around."
"Yeah. Well, I'm meeting this friend tonight at 6:00 at Shanda's Deli across the river. We met online, in a singles chatroom. So at least I can get my mind off it for a couple of hours."
"Good. Well, have fun."
We waved goodby. I went to the computer room to Google his street. He'd have to leave by 5 at the latest to get to Shanda's by 6. I'd be waiting in the shadows with an SUV. No burglar alarm, probably got something worth stealing or he wouldn't have the house wired in the first place, no friends in the neighborhood, I knew exactly when he'd be away from home and I hadn't even had to invent a name and a story to get him to confide all this to me. Easiest haul ever. Thanks, Hurricane Ike. It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
The names of the places are made up and I am not a crook, but this conversation really happened. This guy really did give me all that information when he didn't recognize me or know who I was.
And they say children are at risk from Stranger Danger.