Should I worry about the stranger who knocked on my door?
November 26, 2012 2:51 AM Subscribe
How much should I worry about the sketchy character I paid to clean leaves from our front yard this afternoon? I haven't had a sleepless night in ages, but my brain has decided to obsess over the possibly foolish thing I did today.
posted by Glinn to Home & Garden (26 answers total)
I live in a pretty nice neighborhood (suburb just north of Chicago), perhaps in one the older houses on the street, with my 12-year old car parked out front. A fellow knocked on the door today, took a moment to tell me he was "Jamaican but not a scary guy or anything", and that he had recently lost his job and had a $55 bill of some kind due, and could he clean the leaves from my yard.
He said he was one of my neighbors, and also that he knew my immediate neighbor. I prefer to think well of people, and am also perhaps less skeptical than I should be, so took him at his word. He said $30 to clear the leaves, I said ok, but didn't need anything in the back. He also needed a rake, and a bag. I gave him both. After about 20 minutes he knocked again to say he was done. I took a look. It was not a particularly well done job but the leaves had been pretty bad, and now they were mostly cleared, I figured he was down on his luck so whatever.
Before I gave him the $30 he asked if I could "lend" him another $20. I said sorry, I really couldn't, but that I would give him $35, which I did. I noticed at this point he had a friend with him, who was waiting on the sidewalk. We waved at each other.
Then he asked for a bottle of water. I was a bit bugged by the $20 thing and was finally realizing that probably his story wasn't true at all. (For instance, he does not live "a couple houses down" because I walk my dog and I have seen most of the people on the closest blocks. Also, if he was a neighbor, why not go home for a drink?) But I went to the kitchen and filled an empty water bottle from the fridge. Then I went back and realized I had left the door ajar, so he could probably see the guitar equipment in the front room. This was very stupid. Why did I do that?
When I handed him the water he sort of perched on the railing and tried to make some small talk, in a way that made me uncomfortable. He made some comment about how I lived in a nice house. I thanked him, said I had to go, and closed the door. He said I'll see you again, when it snows. I realized how I should have made it more clear I did not live alone.
We actually live on a fairly busy street, the houses are close together, and in fact there is a city street light directly in front of our house. Do I need to worry about this guy breaking in or something? Any calming words appreciated. Stories about how you had a break-in maybe less appreciated unless you have some practical advice to go with it!
Sorry for the ramble. No sleep and I have to get up for work in about 2.5 hours. Meh.