Saturday, May 17, 2014

Queen of May




It's still May, so I thought I better write something on that theme of your mother is always right, or at least, she's right about a lot more things than you might initially believe (hear that, daughters?). Besides, I have a story.



My mother is a huge fan of locking things up. She keeps her doors locked tight in the middle of the day, even when she goes to her mailbox for 30 seconds. I, on the other hand, tend to be a little more caszh about keeping things locked. I've even developed a fear of locking the front door of my home after being woken up one morning at the condo by a contractor, who needed my car out of the driveway.



In pajamas, undereye mascara, morning hair, and no shoes, I moved my car with a single car key in hand and returned to discover I had locked myself out. The alternate entrypoints were also locked tight, thanks to my mother the locksmith, who had been over to watch the kids. I asked a guy on a ladder if I could borrow his phone then drove 45 minutes to San Jose to pick up the extra housekey from my mother. Thank god I had gas in the car.



I mean, I live in a quiet neighborhood and feel safe. Several neighbors throughout the complex happen to work in law enforcement. So why freak out about locking a door when the real risk seems to be getting locked out? I'm in my 40's. I've got some wisdom of my own now, Mom. So when my daughters told on me to Grandma, that I hardly ever lock the door except at night when we were sleeping, I rolled my eyes. Here we go again with the negative naysayers that are my mother and children. Everyone, chill out.



Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I had an evening work engagement and came back to my homey unlocked front door, setting my workbag and purse just inside and taking my dog Scout out for a short walk. I was gone for somewhere in the 5-10 minute range and when I returned, there were two police cars parked in the street. I didn't think much about it because it's not an unusual sight in my neighborhood.



As I walked up my driveway, I noticed I must have left my front door ajar because it had blown wide open. It was raining a little that night so my feet were slippery on the tile as I hung up the leash. That's when I heard something and it was coming from my bedroom downstairs. In shock, the only sound I made out next was, "police!" as two policemen moved up the stairs toward me as I slipped, startled when they asked me about my daughters.



I was so scared for a moment that something had happened to my daughters, who were supposedly with their dad. The nightmarish vision of a crime scene in my bedroom faded as they referred to my daughters with unfamiliar names and told me they had been given my address by a mother of a missing pre-teen. There were more names I didn't recognize.



My fierce watchdog didn't bark at the policeman - Scout is the only male in a household of human and canine females so he usually greets men as his long lost best friends -  but I asked the guys if they would step outside with me so I could take my dog off the leash. At this point, all three of us seemed to be pumped with adrenaline. Later, I realized how it might have looked through their eyes.



The police explained what happened: when they pulled up to the address they were given as the last known whereabouts of the missing little girl, they saw the front door open with a purse just sitting there and noticed the car was still warm. They said it looked like someone was in imminent danger. I wondered for an insane second if they were in cahoots with my mother.



Of course they had ended up in my bedroom, which unlike the rest of the condo, was in complete shambles with clothes and private things people normally put away for company strewn about. It had the look of a place where a struggle of some sort had occurred.



More than once, the police guys said, "We thought someone was in trouble," apologizing for entering my home. I found myself reassuring them, it's OK, cringing with the knowledge of what they surveyed in my bedroom. They returned to their cars and long story short, the girl was hiding out next door with her friend from school. The mother was close on the address.



The moral of the story is though mothers aren't always right, they all too often are. Yes, Mom, locking your door is a good idea any time, even - or especially - with police around.



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