I used to work for a company that had surveillance cameras. We all knew they were there and we even understood why they were there. We handled highly sensitive data and printed it for highly sensitive bank mailings.

Most days, those cameras just chugged along, collecting video of unsuspecting employees picking their noses or tripping over skids or hurrying under security garage doors as they slid into the down position, sometimes with drastic, bleeding results.

One night during World Cup soccer, the third shift, third world employees had an impromptu match which resulted in low productivity and raised a flag so big and so red that the day shift supervisors demanded a viewing of the previous night’s tapes. Yep, there they were in black and white, having the time of their lives. Sometimes, I wish those tapes had audio as well!

Did those cameras ever catch anyone doing anything illegal? Hell yes! Let’s see, there was the Peeping Tom who would crouch outside of a Men/Women’s room and peek through the keyhole whenever a woman went in to relieve herself. There was a group of folks who would walk the hundred or so yards across a field to the liquor store, come back and enjoy a six-pack at the picnic tables in the smoke break area before returning to work. There was incredible footage of a woman in a van who backed into a parked car. I never found out if she did it on purpose or if she just forgot she was in reverse and stepped on the gas to get home as quickly as possible.

The cameras caught unsuspecting lovers, deviant urinators and belligerent brawlers. On film, we found lunch burglars, cell phone thieves and downright criminals who stole money from their “best friends. I was gonna pay her back on pay day. I didn’t think she’d miss that $40.”

I loved the cameras because I knew where they were. I’d often smile up at them when passing by. I used to think that my employers would be  relieved to know that I made it to work safely at 2:00 am after I’d been on the phone for an hour trying to solve a technology issue that ended up being something I had to drive 35 miles to fix. I think they forgot to review the tapes the week I worked 48 hours straight and was less than pleasant to a co-worker.  Maybe they saw my head bobbing as I sat in an chair in the server room and felt that qualified as a good night’s sleep.

More often than not, I felt like I was on a covert mission when I arrived at 4 am to straighten out some technology mess.  I used to imagine that I was dressed in black from head to toe as I surreptitiously walked through the halls of my mind, peering around corners and plastering myself to the walls as I inched my way to my office with Belushi-like stealth where I would finally breathe a sigh of relief having avoided those God-forsaken cameras.



Filed under Fact is stranger than fiction

10 responses to “Covert

  1. CCTV is watching… Sometimes we go about our days not really noticing, but to think of it… it’s pretty scary

  2. blisshappens

    this was very good, very entertaining! funny how people act when they think they are not being watched… deviant urinators made me laugh!!! nicely done! -Meg

  3. I love the image of you creeping into your office dressed all in black at 4am!

  4. Dee

    “the stealthy geek” LOL made me laugh!

  5. b

    You just made my day…are real “covert” life style…cameras and all! :-D

  6. We had cameras at my last place of employment. One day, there were these mirrored globes in strategic locations. Management said they were placed in areas where people might collide with one another. Until I got curious and found the room with the dvd machines.

    Near the time I left. I mooned each and every half-globe.

    Mothers in Arms

  7. far too often, i wave at those kind of cameras… and i remember the days of working under one… thanks for the reminder

  8. I’m sure we’re on camera more often than we think – love your descriptions of the miscreants.

  9. interesting findings on the tapes… i have wondered what kinds of things they see on a day to day basis..

  10. Dayv

    LOL! You forgot about the motorcycle that was walked OUT of the employee entrance! I think we were too scared to investigate further on that one…

    I’m just reading this post tonight, but about a week after you wrote this, those very same cameras recorded me running around in a panic after I set off one of the building alarms. Sheesh, what good is having a key for emergencies if they don’t tell you the alarm code too!

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