Victims of Habit

My daughter bought a house in L.A. about four years ago and has always felt safe there. It has a detached garage but that has never bothered her. Last week she went on a date after work and arrived home around eleven. She heard rustling in the bushes on the street and thought it was raccoons. A man came out of those bushes and started to walk up her driveway mumbling about something she couldn’t hear. She jumped back into the garage, closed the door, called 911, and waited.

Of course, when the police arrived the man was nowhere to be found. From her description the cops thought he might have been on drugs, or drunk. They also wondered if he had climbed a back fence from the street below. That bothers me. She’s convinced it had to be some random act, and not someone waiting for her. Here she is with my big Akita, Nikki. Maybe she needs to get a dog.100_0025She’s calm about it, but I can tell it shook her up. She’s normally home by about six p.m. on that day, straight from work. She said one thing this brought home to her was not to take things for granted, and to always be aware of her surroundings. She’d often sit in her car in the garage and finish a phone call, or collect things from the back seat, with the door still open. She said she’ll never do that again.

This reminded me of when I was a young woman living alone in Sydney. I had the basement section of a brownstone that had been turned into an apartment. I was an RN, worked the 3-11 shift, and I left at the same time of day and arrived home on the same bus every night. Half a block from my place was a very popular hotel and bar.

One night I arrived home close to midnight to find my front door open a crack. I went to the hotel and called the police. (This was pre-cell phones.) They checked out the apartment and then I went in to find nothing missing, nothing out of place. We figured I hadn’t locked the door and the wind had opened it. To this day I doubt it, because I’m compulsive about locking doors. However, I had no other incidents the entire time I lived there, although I did switch my hours to 7-3 shortly after. So, changing my hours and my habits might have kept me safe. Who knows?

Have you ever experienced anything like this?

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7 Responses to Victims of Habit

  1. Marge says:

    So sorry she had to go through such an experience. Unnerving for you also since we never stop being a “mom’

  2. robena grant says:

    Thanks, Marge. It is worrisome. I dreamed about it last night. Ugh. And it is so true, once a mom always a mom.

  3. Mia says:

    Yikes! That sounds like an awful experience. I’m glad she is all right. I spend a lot of time home alone. Having two dogs has always been a great comfort. They spend most of their time destroying squeaky balls, but I like to think they’d evicerate an intruder if needed.

  4. Voicing concerns for your daughter, but I think this wake up call was good in that she will be more vigilant.

    Once, when I was in nursing school (totally stressed with working to support myself and going to school – an intense time) I arrived home at night to find my front door completely open behind the screen door. I freaked, but went inside. I lived in a triplex on a residential street that was okay at one end, but further up the road had gangs. Yeah, so I cautiously went inside and realized, I must have been in such a hurry that morning, trying to keep everything together between school and work etc, that I’d forgotten to close and lock my door! Nothing was missing in my little apartment, but I slept a little less comfortably that night.

  5. robena grant says:

    Your situation was so similar to mine, Lynne. Work and school and life, juggling all three is so hard. Exactly what my daughter is doing now with her masters degree. I drove up to see her today. She has a bad cold and sore throat. Yes, these things happen and they’re out of our control, but all we can do is always be alert to our surroundings.

  6. Thea says:

    Lights! Between the garage and the house, big shiny, illuminate-every-square-inch lights. A dog is great too but only if she has the time and money to care for one. I do think she handled herself well, her mother obviously taught her how to be smart. Sounds as though she’s relearned the fact she lives in L.A., a city of neighborhoods, it’s true, but still the big city.

    • Robena says:

      Thanks, Thea. Yes, she has the lights, but no dog. I think that might be something she’ll consider once through with her Masters and has more time to spend at home, or get a roommate. I too thought she was smart to close herself into the garage and call 911. Scary business this living alone.