Be-be-be-be-be-be-be-beeeeeeeep! As soon as my son and I walked through the kitchen door our security system let me know it wasnâ€™t happy. I quickly punched in our code only to have the system indignantly infer there was a problem with â€œarea 9.â€ â€œWhere the heck is area 9?â€ I wondered. Is that where the government keeps space aliens?
I checked the security menu and discovered the mysterious â€œarea 9â€ was our patio door. Huh. It was then that I noticed the answer machine light blinking â€œ1,â€ â€œ1,â€ â€œ1.â€ Geez, now what?
I listened to the recording, which said the security system company had received a distress signal. Please call them immediately. Oh oh. My son and I had been gone all day and the message had come in several hours earlier. Why, oh why, was this happening at a time when my husband was out of town for the night?
I grabbed the phone and started dialing the security companyâ€™s number. My son, looking a bit perturbed, said, â€œShouldnâ€™t we have a look around before you tell them everything is fine?â€ Good point. I checked the door, which to my relief, was still locked and seemingly normal. But, as I touched the handle, the alarm started going off again. Dang it. Sprinting through the house I punched in the codeâ€¦twiceâ€¦because it continued to beep after the first attempt. Thereâ€™s nothing like a cranky security system to catch oneâ€™s attention and make the heart go pitty-pat.
I called the company and was told the police had been dispatched earlier. â€œIâ€™m sorry to hear that,â€ I said. â€œFrom what I can tell nothing is wrong, and yet the door seems hyper-sensitive. Iâ€™m not sure what the issue is. Maybe a sensor acting funky?â€ I was told to contact the security system installers first thing on Monday morning for a check-up. â€œOkay,â€ I said rather meekly. Why was I feeling guilty for owning a wayward door?
After I hung up I glanced about for my son. Heâ€™d disappeared, but our cat, Pudgy, came slinking into the kitchen. Her tail was the size of a bristle brush on steroids and she was pacing. She was definitely spooked about something. â€œStop it!â€ I said. â€œYouâ€™re making me nervous too.â€ I momentarily wished I had a tail to poof, but chose to remain nonplussed.
As I soothed Pudgy, my son re-appeared. â€œI checkedâ€¦everywhereâ€¦and thereâ€™s nobody hiding or lurking,â€ he said. â€œThere are no signs of attempted entry, either.â€ Apparently, after serving six years in the Navy, he goes into auto-protection mode when it comes to loved ones and decrepit mothers. Heâ€™s always nagging, erâ€¦prompting, me to lock doors and to be more aware of my surroundings. I know heâ€™s right, but I stubbornly want to believe the world is still made up of the rural values that cushioned my life as a child.â€œThanks for looking,â€ I said. â€œIâ€™ll sleep better.â€
A short while later the phone rang. It was our neighbor, Kevin, saying theyâ€™d received a call from the security company and had been made aware there was an issue at our house. â€œAre you okay?â€ he said. I explained the little I knew, and thanked him for his thoughtful call. Kevin and his wife, Kim, deserve the â€œNeighbor of the Year Awardâ€ pretty much every year. They are always helping us in one way or another, and shrug off our sincere gratitude. â€œItâ€™s what neighbors do for each other,â€ they say.
After I hung up I felt a surge of warmth. We live in a world riddled by increasing isolation supported by technological reliance. And yet, on this night where the cat was weirded out, the security system was wacky, and there were unknown circumstances, I felt protected.
The technology of our security system had warned me something was amiss. An attempted break-in, or a sensor going bad? Hard to say. And while I do appreciate the peace of mind such a system offers, it is not comparable to the feeling my son gave me when he checked every nook and cranny. Nor does it compare to the comfort good neighbors offer by checking-in when a situation arises.
I reset the alarm before I went to bed, but I slept well knowing I have people who care, and who have my back come what may. Thank you!
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