Although a home security system is good to have, there is no substitute for a good neighbor.
Years ago I walked over to my neighbor’s house after work to ask him for a typical neighbor favor. “Hey Jim! I’m going to the Keys for the weekend. Could you keep an eye on my house while I’m gone?” Since my friend Jim is a one-man neighborhood watch, he was really happy to take on the responsibility of doing what he does all the time anyway. Just ask any pizza delivery person… no one (not even me) gets down our street without an I.D., passport, note from their mom and a thorough questioning. So I always feel secure about leaving our house when we go on vacation.
That particular night, after packing our bags and doing last minute preparation for the next mornings road trip, I put the kids to bed, and then walked around the house checking all the doors and motion lights before I set the alarm clock and settled into bed for the evening. I was just starting to doze off when I noticed a light outside, shining through the curtains. I sat up in bed, completely awake. (What the… There’s someone outside with a flash light walking around the house! Wait… there’s TWO people!)
Moving like a ninja, I slipped silently out of bed, crept over to the window and slowly peeked out through the curtains. It was pitch black outside, so all I could see were flashlights. Then… I heard the screen door open. (Holy… they’re trying to break into the house!) I was ready, because I’d been through this situation a thousand times. Well… in my head. I slowly backed away from the window and then deftly moved through the completely dark house like a cat. BAM “OWWW!” I quietly cursed as I hopped on one foot after stubbing my toe.
Limping quietly and quickly, I made my way over to the sliding door to the porch and then leaned back against the wall. The lights on the porch swept back and forth; searching… but they could not see me because I was like a shadow… camouflaged in (I looked down) my bright white underwear? (OH GREAT! Too late to put some pants on. Wait… I’m going fight two burglars in my whitey-tighties!?) As I started feeling more and more vulnerable and my adrenaline fed ninja powers began to fade, the intruder’s flashlights crossed each other’s bodies and I caught a glimpse of them. (They’re Sheriffs Officers?) I was really relieved, so without thinking I turned the porch light on, shoved the sliding glass door open, jumped out of the door onto the porch and said “Hey guys!” This was a REALLY bad idea. In the blinding light both officers completely freaked out, spun around and began frantically trying to get their guns out of their buttoned down holsters. Luckily for me, before they could get their guns drawn I said “Soooo… what are you guys doing on my porch?” I have to admit, their next response was completely appropriate and I suspect, by the book… they both started laughing hysterically. OK, it might have been the sight of me in my underwear, but maybe they were relieved that they weren’t going to be involved in a gun battle with a crazy half naked ninja!
After about thirty seconds of them laughing uncontrollably, holding their chests and trying to get their breath I had had enough. I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms. “OK, OK… very funny! Now… what’s going on?” The one officer sighed a deep breath. “We’re sorry sir, but your neighbor called and said you were gone for the weekend and that he heard noises at your house and that the lights were going on and off. So, we came by to (he snickered) take a look.” The other deputy choked back a laugh, put his arm around his partners shoulder and just before they turned to leave said “Well, I think we’ve seen enough here!” They both laughed again. “Goodnight Sir. Sorry to disturb you!”
On second thought… Although a good neighbor is wonderful, thank goodness for excellent sheriffs deputies with a sense of humor… And our new security system!