Whew! Cameras aren't yet all-seeing

November 20, 2007|By SUSAN REIMER

I admit it. That's my back end.

I mean, that's the back end of my van.

I don't even have to be able to see the license plate, although the City of Baltimore helpfully zoomed in on it for me.

That's my 10-year-old, bird's-egg blue van caught in the act by the red-light camera positioned at the intersection of Russell and Hamburg streets. You can tell by the Naval Academy bumper sticker and the Annapolis High lacrosse bumper sticker, although you wouldn't even need those clues.

"That van defines you," my daughter said pleadingly during a discussion over who had rights to the next new car in our family.

Often, when journalists are caught in the jaws of law enforcement, they write impassioned columns about the injustices of the system.

Not me. I confess. That's me sliding through what I am sure was a yellowish-pinkish light on my way home from work. My check for $75 is in the mail.

I am just grateful that there aren't cameras focused on me during the rest of my daily routine, if you know what I mean, because video cameras are everywhere else.

There are speeding cams and tailgating cams and toll-booth cams to make sure you are an EZ Pass subscriber. There are cameras to monitor tunnels and bridges and ATM machines and gasoline pumps and convenience store cash registers.

There are surveillance cameras in bad neighborhoods, and I am pretty sure there are cameras in the dressing rooms of department stores.

There are nanny cams to keep an eye on your babysitter and cams to keep an eye on your baby sleeping.

And if you follow developments at the Naval Academy, there are also cameras trained on you while you are having sex in your sponsor's house.

But, thank heaven, there is no bathroom cam in my house. If pictures of me getting dressed in the morning made it to the Internet. ... Well, let's just say there would never be a Paris Hilton-esque bidding war for them.

I am glad there is no refrigerator cam. Or second-piece-of-pie cam. Although evidence of my husband's late-night snacking is always left in plain sight.

I am pretty sure he is grateful that there is no you-are-getting-bald cam, either. Like most men, he is silently relieved that he has no top-down view of himself.

I am glad there is no steering-wheel cam, and therefore no record of me putting on my makeup at stoplights or looking for stray chin hairs with the help of the visor mirror. And I am willing to bet my husband is glad there is no tying-your-shoes cam, or getting-the-newspaper-in-your-bathrobe cam.

If there were a bedroom cam, there would be proof that I snore and my ladylike denials would no longer be credible.

If there were a recycling cam, you know just how bad a week it was by the number of empty white wine bottles.

"Let's go to the tape," could someday be an expression more unnerving than "Perhaps you should speak to a lawyer."

When the children were little, my husband and I had an unspoken agreement not to buy a video camera, a device that was just coming into its own at the time.

We knew the still pictures we took of our babies would someday break our hearts. We suspected that film of their little selves moving about, the sound of their young voices, would be too much to bear after they had grown up and away.

There are just some things that should not be captured on film, if you know what I mean.

That's why I am grateful the city's red-light cam caught the back end of my van and not of its driver.

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

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