I’m going into the archives of my mind today. I thought about this story, and figured it might offer some thoughts or lessons.
About ten years ago, we were redoing the flooring in my living room. Yes…it’s as annoying as it sounds. We ripped up the old carpet, and had mainly decent, if old parquet floors. Unfortunately, some of the flooring wasn’t great, so we needed to cover it. We didn’t have the ability to replace the floors, so we did a patch job: bought vinyl tiles to cover what was there.
- remove old carpet, including staples
- clean existing floor
- replace with tile
At some point I went to our basement to look for a box to put some remnants in so we could throw things out. When I went to the basement, I literally looked in the boxes that had collected there (people bring large garbage and boxes to the basement and staff takes care of it and throws it out on the appropriate days)
Two days later, our super approached me. He said that when someone was cleaning out the apartment of a relative that had passed, they mistakenly brought a plate down to the basement that they didn’t mean to throw out. He asked me to return the plate.
I didn’t take the plate.
I didn’t even see the plate.
Which I mentioned to the super.
The super responded with “But I saw you on video looking through the boxes.”
But did you see me take the plate? I asked.
I was guilty by association. I was in the right place, and it looked like I was rummaging for things. But I knew that I didn’t take the plate.
Does it matter that I was innocent?
Not really, because the super didn’t believe me. He saw what he believed to be evidence of me taking the plate. He even said to me:
I know it’s not stealing because things left down there are fair game
And there was no way I could actually prove my innocence. What annoyed me most is that because it was assumed I took it, they never put up a notice saying that something was left there by accident and if someone took it, please return it.
It doesn’t feel good to be guilty of something one didn’t do.
It’s also a good lesson that just because you “see” something doesn’t mean you actually “saw” it.
Video is great. Until it isn’t.