Friday, July 28, 2006


Often not a good thing, complacency. Especially when something of real value is at stake.

When we get complacent, we’re not as alert as at other times. We lapse into routines and habits.

Since it is born out of becoming accustomed to events and surroundings that seemingly never vary, complacency is comfortable

Complacency can lull a good driver into accepting brief distractions, because nobody coming the other way ever crosses the centerline, right?

In a small town, neighbors don’t lock their doors at night because nobody ever comes inside the house with evil intent. “Hasn’t happened around here in years. In fact, I don’t remember the last time anybody got robbed in this area.” Sound familiar?

And for years we get away with it. Because for those who live where the pace of life and of change is slow, the odds are long in favor of things continuing on as they have in the past.

So what’s my point?

Last weekend Carol and I hitched up the camper-trailer and headed for the Austin area. We left on Friday afternoon, and returned roughly 48 hours later to find our double garage door wide open.

That double door is controlled by an electric opener, so when it’s closed you can’t get it open without a remote control. And the other outside doors to our house are locked when we leave town. But there is a door from our garage into our kitchen that is never locked. So from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, the house was open to anyone who might have chosen to enter and help themselves to its contents.

I had a momentary vision of our personal items rifled, the inside of the house vandalized, anything of fast (pawn) value gone, and worse. But nothing had been touched. I doubt very much if anyone ever set foot on the property.

Maybe the fact that there was still one car, my little commute-to-work Mazda, parked there in the open garage as an indication that someone might be at home helped. Or maybe the fact that we always leave a few lights turned on but attached to timers to give the illusion of someone’s presence made a difference.

But more likely, nobody even noticed the open house or thought of it as an opportunity.

Usually when we leave, we back out of the garage and watch the doors close as we’re backing down the driveway to the street. But when we hitch up the trailer we’re always facing away from the house and don’t notice such things as we pull away.

It’s said that locked doors will only keep out an honest man or a very casual intruder, but not someone determined to get in. Maybe so. But the momentary shocking images passing through my mind when I noticed the wide open doors to the garage will probably help me remember to close that darned thing next time we leave.


Christina said...

Wow, how fortunate that nothing was stolen. I know there's not much crime in your area, but still...I can imagine the thoughts running through yopur mind when you pulled in the driveway.

Anonymous said...

The great thing is that you won't ever forget to check the door again. Sometimes it takes a lesson with a little "zing" to keep us awake!

Speaking of lessons, I took the plunge today. Nine holes. It was humiliating. I think I was on the fairway ONCE the entire course. Tell me again why people play that game????

kenju said...

You are lucky to live where it is not so much of a concern. We have done the same thing; our door was left open 2-3 times when the car was facing toward the street instead of toward the house. It is easy to do. The door into our house from the garage is seldom locked - and even it it was - there is a window that would make it easy to break in. So far, we have been lucky too, but I think all of us should remember to close & lock the doors, don't you?

Anonymous said...

God Bless America because that certainly would not have been the case here - you would have been cleaned out. How lucky you were. I always lock my interleading door even if I am at home and maybe you should start getting into the habit of locking the interleading door when you go out.

Emmy Ellis said...

Ooooh the thought of going into the house and finding an intruder had my heart hammering for you!

Glad you live in an honest place.