Lately, I've been doing some sidework for a friend. It's nothing major, yet it still gives me nervous diarrhea and makes me fear for my life every time I do it.

I'm taking photos of houses that are either a) about to be refinanced (1% of the time), or b) about to be yanked by the lender (99% of the time). I have to get four shots of each house: One head-on, one at a side angle, one of the address, and one of the street it's on.

Although I need the money and foam at the mouth every time I receive a new list of houses, it still scurrrs the shit out of me. Especially when the properties are in a less-than-desirable neighborhood.

So far, I've had the following encounters:

1. Neighbors across the street or next door are watching me like a hawk because they know I'm up to "no good", so I have to pretend like I'm lost and making a phone call.

2. The owners and/or children who live at the house are outside washing the car and I have to sit in my car across the street like a fucking creepazoid until they turn their back.

3. The next door neighbor gets in his car and follows me through the houses until I manage to lose him with Mario Andretti moves.

Now, I know I'M not the one in the wrong. I pay my bills and I don't let shit fall behind to the point where the bank is knocking on my front door. But I know these people are looking at me like I'm the bad guy. And when "these people" look like they could be featured in a collection of Homies dolls, you do NOT want to be the bad guy.

How would you feel and what would you do if you were in my situation? Would you go undercover brother style and try to make it look like you're not really doing what everyone knows you're doing?? Or would you stand your ground and not be ashamed to take pictures of these houses that you know are about to be foreclosed on?

Or- how would you feel if you were the person whose house was being photographed? Or if it was your neighbor's house?


suki said...

How can I get a side job like this?! :) Paparazzi style!

theTsaritsa said...

I think I would feel awkward, too. You're not doing anything wrong, but it's a reminder to the people that they're being foreclosed on. It's sad. I would be sneaky about it, if I were the one taking photos, too.

theTsaritsa said...

And HOMIES!!!!

mina2 said...

Tell them you are a PI and what you are doing is legal, however you can not reveal any additional information.

Erin said...

Oh dang. That's kind of rough but I can relate, having been forced to take a number of awkward photos for the shit-tastic newspapers I've worked for. What I learned from the real photogs was to just act completely entitled and obvious about it, and I swear hardly anyone ever bothered me. You're absolutely not doing anything wrong -- it's completely legal to take photos in public areas, even if those photos show someone standing naked in their living room.

Chrystal said...

lol! I can't believe you were followed! Maybe go undercover and dress up like mi Vida loca!

Bonnie said...

I would totally go full-on paparazzi and put on blinged out sunglasses, a trenchcoat, and a fedora.
But then I would prepare to be shanked by some homies.
So ...
I would actually probably do what you are doing now and be super covert about it in order to save my life.
Good luck with that.

Twitter: @GlamKitten88

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

SUKI - i just lucked out and happen to know someone who works in property appraisals.

TSARITSA - yeah, it is a reminder that they're about to lose their home. and people do crazy things when they're mad/ upset/ desperate.

ERIN - i know i should just act like it's no big deal. but when you're in a scary neighborhood, and you're sitting in a car, taking pictures of people's houses, it looks a little suspicious. but thanks for the advice... maybe i'll get the nerve up to try this "entitled" thing.

CHRYSTAL - i KNOW! i was like "wtf is this guy doing!?"

BONNIE - exactly.

MRanthrope said...

sucks to be them...but oh well.

Have you seen Michael Moore's first film Roger & Me? The dude from the Sheriffs office who goes around evicting everyone tells the families he's tossing out (on Christmas Eve no less) if he didn't do his job, someone would be eventually be tossing him out as well.

Sad but true.

rayray said...

You're not doing anything wrong! Stand your ground. Someone following you is a bit too extreme. I'd say they're the ones who should be ashamed. Take those pictures and make sure no one has a gun.

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

MRANTHROPE - i actually saw that movie in econ class when i was in high school. everyone in my class got all sad-faced when that woman killed the bunny. sad and gross.

RAYRAY - i know, i'm not doing anything wrong! but some of these people are scary and i want to figure out the best way to NOT get attacked.

Robin said...

OMG..I would so feel the same way..I would be very paranoid and self conscious about what could happen...but like you I would probably do the job too...Like we say in the social work field.."feel the fear and do it anyway".....BwHahahah...does this help you..?

drollgirl said...

ack! i would be scared! i would want to bring a pit bull and/or a shot gun! or a VERY BIG BURLY MAN so that nobody would bug me. be careful!!!!

Cake Betch said...

HOLY SHIT HOMIES!!!! My whiter than white boyfriend and I used to collect those things. Hahaha!

And I would probably be too scared to do something like that. People can be crazy. If I were a neighbor though I would probably be glad that you were trying to get someone in the house that would actually take care of it. I know a few of my neighbors on this street I could stand to lose.

Sandra said...

Don't be intimidated! You're in the right. Other people...so wrong...and tailing you!!! Really! Get a plastic gun!

Bonnie said...

I thought of you last night --
I interviewed for a new job. The job entails me traveling to the effing ghetto twice a week.
I thought about how to handle this if I was to get hired.
Wear a hood while driving? Wear sunglasses? Drive really fast? Get a spray tan? Grow 7 inches?
My car is already a beater, so that helps.
And I have a middle finger hanging from the rearview mirror.
Either way, this reminded me of you.

Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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