Thursday, December 22, 2005

Private Eyes

The current media furor over the domestic spying scandal has made me wonder if I’m being spied on. Right now, as I type. Or earlier today, on the phone. Or ever. Forget Guardian Angels; do I have a Personal Spy? Has some poor schlub been assigned to keep tabs on me? Have you heard of anyone being fired from the CIA or FBI recently? That would be my Personal Spy, fired for sleeping on the job: my life is just that dull!

I’m sure that even our extravagant government would not dedicate the resources needed to watch me 24/7, so I wonder just which bits of my life they’re watching (if they’re watching). A good first bet for surveillance would be my PC at work. As a government employee, there is a fair to middlin’ chance that every keystroke is logged. And there have been times when I have had the eerie feeling while on the phone that an unannounced presence was following the conversation. You know what I mean - the little chill that makes you feel haunted or watched.

Then there’s my PC at home. I’ve had haunted moments while computing, too, and in the privacy of my own castle. I suppose most of us have been observed while computing at one time or another. Think of a time before firewalls, and think of all of the folks nowadays who spend most of their time trying to climb over your firewall. So I’ve probably been watched while computing, I'm just not sure whether or not the eye has ever belonged to the US Government. It’s sad that I can’t rule it out, but there you have it.

Do they have photos of all of my bad hair days? Video clips of the time I slipped on the ice on a sidewalk in Somers Point, or the time (not too long ago) when I dripped a trail of coffee across the interior of my poor car, then cussed up a blue streak? Has someone had to listen in on one of the long-for-no-good-reason conversations with my sister, with discussions of the latest diet trends, the same old family trivia, relationships and job stress?

Do they have vacation pics of me? I'd love to see them. I'm not in too many of our photos, since I'm usually the one holding the camera. Personal Spy, when you read this (this is, after all, in the public domain), would you send me a copy of any photos you have of me? I'm sure that the Freedom of Information Act or the Open Public Records Act can be made to apply somehow. I'll be looking for the envelope in the mail; please be discreet - wouldn't want the Post Office to see my business.

I could keep going with this, but you get the drift. The phone line at home, those video cameras in public places and at traffic lights – all are possible means of surveillance. How about that creeped-out feeling you get sometimes in restrooms and clothing store dressing rooms? There’s always a chance that someone is watching there, too.

But here’s the big question for today: who is my Personal Spy, this person who knows so very much about me without having been properly introduced? Ever pass a total stranger who looks at you as if he or she knows you? You’re certain you’ve never seen them before, but you sense complete recognition in their eyes, and the prelude to a greeting on their lips. Déjà vu? A kindred spirit from a previous life? A simple case of mistaken identity? Nope, it’s your personal spy.

And in an aside to my Guardian Angel: no insult intended here. Please continue your usual fine work, and keep an eye on that Personal Spy fella, while you’re at it. That guy could bear some watching…


Virginia Gal said...

That is wild Merci - I do sometimes get that feeling I'm being watched. Ugh, creepy though to think of them seeing everything you do.
I suppose I'm a bit of a cynic and being so close to Washington DC I know that our government would like us to think they are all powerful, but its just one big bureacracy, probably would need five guys approval and 12 meetings before they could even get a camera on you, hee hee.

Virginia Gal said...

Funny post : )

Merci said...

Of course, I don't really think their watching me, but I don't think a question of ethics or law would stop them! It's pretty sad we feel the only thing stopping them from spying on all of us is bureaucratic red tape and budget limitations!

Merci said...

Oh for crying out loud. I used "their" instead of "they're" in the comment above. I'm slipping!