One Thousand Words on Hearing Zebras

The last couple of days, the board of directors of my homeowners association has been abuzz with emails about solicitation. I don’t mean solicitation like prostitution, although that would be more interesting. Just people selling stuff door to door.

It all started with an email from someone who was concerned because a man in a red van had knocked on their door trying to promote his new business. None of the emails said what the new business was exactly. Maybe it was prostitution. That would certainly explain all the outrage.

The homeowner told the guy in the red van that the community had a rule against solicitors. The guy said there was no sign posted anywhere prohibiting him from knocking on doors, and drove off in his van, presumably to bother someone else.

Emails flew back and forth, mostly discussed how there used to be a sign posted at the entrance of the community, but it “disappeared” and how people should put signs on their door telling salespeople to go away.

(It’s no wonder we don’t get any trick or treaters at Halloween.)

Then the association president got involved and said he thinks “it is likely that at this time of year someone is ‘casing’ homes” and that if we see someone driving around and knocking on doors, we should write down the make, model and license plate number in case of a ‘breakin.’

(The association president is a lawyer. You’d think he’d know that break in is two words, not one.)

Of course, this got everyone all upset and an email was sent to the entire community saying that we should keep watch, not open the door to strangers and write down details if we should see anything suspicious.

I read some of this email exchange to my mother, thinking that she’d share my opinion that the leap from knocking on a door to drum up business to casing houses in order to rob them was a little ridiculous and overly suspicious.

She didn’t agree.

She said that she would have thought he might be looking to break in too. And that she’s actually written down some information when she’s seen a strange car driving around.

We then got into a discussion about whether I was naïve (her opinion) or just trusting (my opinion). But that’s neither here nor there.

As I thought about it further, it is kind of strange that the idea of someone casing a home didn’t occur to me. I have an active imagination and watch too much Law and Order. Why wouldn’t I jump to the most crime related conclusion possible?

In fact, I usually think zebra when I hear horse hooves.

Just the other day, I was walking into the grocery store when I heard a pounding noise. Most people would assume it was some sort of construction, right?

But I started looking around, thinking that maybe someone was trapped in the trunk of a car. Either by accident or because they were being kidnapped.

Not that I know how someone could accidentally got locked in their trunk, exactly.

See what I mean? Zebras.

I didn’t hear anyone yelling for help, and the pounding stopped, so I went on my way. But when I was leaving, I noticed there were two guys working on the roof. I’m sure they were the source of the pounding, not a victim of kidnapping.

I also assume that when a car is driving along and honking their horn, that they have lost their brakes and can’t stop so they are honking to warn everyone, when usually it’s just a jerk who likes to make a lot of noise when he’s driving.

So I don’t know why I didn’t assume the guy in the red van was casing the joint, like my mother and the HOA president did. Maybe I’m just not in a suspicious mood right now, what with the holidays and everything. But I’ll be on the lookout from here on out. Especially for red vans.

Ok, it looks like another multiple topic post tonight…

I’ve really enjoyed the last two books I’ve read, but one of them had a ton of typos and the other doesn’t use commas, or at least not enough of them. I know things like that shouldn’t distract me, but they do.

I don’t know anything about the publishing industry, but the book with all the typos was by a rather well known author. I mean, she’s been on the Today show and everything. I would think that any book, much less one by a prominent writer, would be proofread carefully. By more than one person.

But I found little typos (like “an” instead of “am”) and big ones (like one of the characters names being misspelled). It got annoying very quickly.

I was tempted to start circling the errors, but if there’s one thing I hate more than typos in a book, it’s when someone has circled them. So I didn’t.

I’m currently reading the second book and it’s taking a long time because of the lack of commas.

I don’t think I ever truly understood the importance of commas until I read this book. I constantly have to reread sentences because I read it one way and when it doesn’t make sense, I have to go back and mentally insert the commas so it does make sense.

I guess this was a choice the author made. Like writing in a certain style or dialect. And I keep thinking that I’ll get used to it, like I did with Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. But that hasn’t happened yet. I’m still rereading sentences and still inserting my own commas.

In both these books I’ve liked the characters and the story. I want to know what’s going to happen. But every time I come across a misspelled word or a missing comma, I’m reminded that I’m reading a book, that these lives aren’t real.

But the typos? They’re real.


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