When you work outside the home, you have an office. A place of business. A location filled with people and security guards. You have lots of eyes around to make sure your surroundings are safe and secure. There are codes. And badges. And mean secretaries to keep the riffraff out.
As a mostly SAHM, my place of business is my home.
And I take workplace security seriously.
I take it seriously because I don’t have Rent A Cop Officer Bill in my foyer screening the entrants to my house. I take it seriously because I don’t have fingerprint recognition pads on doors preventing any old intruder from entering my home. And, I take it seriously because I don’t have a secretary to whom I can say “If that bozo I just fired shows up, call security”. (Note: I don’t get to fire people in my day job but that’s neither here nor there, although, I did just attempt to fire Fruit Loop #1 for insubordination). My point? I am the first line of safety defense and security in my workplace.
Suffice it to say, I take my job as Head Security Agent of The Fruit Loop Law Enforcement Firm earnestly. I should have a badge. A bright shiny one, dammit.
For the number of times I’ve had to call the police, some would argue I take my job too seriously, in fact. And by “some”, I mean my best friend, who regularly asks me if the officer on the phone thanked me for the baby gift I sent his wife. She swears I’m the only person in my township who has her name regularly said on the police scanner and not because I’m the one in trouble. And don’t get her started on the number of car accidents, medical mishaps in grocery stores and running injuries that have forced me to call the po po. Those alone are a whole other blog post….
In my defense, for a long time on my street, I was the only grown up at home during the day. While everyone went off to their security protected offices, I was left behind in the neighborhood trenches, armed only with 911 on speed dial. The only grown up who happened to notice the drunk and high exterminator going from door to door. The only grown up home when the mail carrier’s truck slid down my driveway in an ice storm and wound up on it’s side. The only grown up home to witness questionable characters peddling knives, magazines or home meat delivery and the only one home when a bear was roaming through our suburban neighborhood. A BEAR, people.
All perfectly legitimate reasons to call the police. All phoned in by yours truly. All mocked by my BFF. All reasons I have a blog.
In my head By default, I’ve been tasked with the job of keeping our street safe. And, if it comes at the cost of knowing all seven of our township’s finest in blue by first name, then so be it. And most of the local firefighters. Okay, and pretty much all the paramedics, too. And the lovely dispatch ladies. You get my point.
So, as you can imagine, when I came home recently to find my front door wide open, I immediately deputized myself in the name of neighborhood safety. Specifically, my safety. And, by deputized, I mean, ran to my car and called 911. The dispatcher, to her credit, didn’t laugh and say, “Oh, hi, Mrs. Burke, what’s the emergency today?”. She listened patiently to my description of the crime scene, ignored my use of the words “perpetrators”, “premises” and “K-9 unit” and instructed me to stay in my car and wait until help could arrive. As I sat in my car, waiting for Officer You’ve Been To My House Twice Before to show up, I naturally called my BFF. The conversation went like this:
Me: Hey, my front door was wide open and I had to call the police. I’m sitting in my driveway waiting for them.
Her (mock surprise): Did Officer Bill get the booties you crocheted for his wife?
Me: Shut up. This is serious. The door was WIDE OPEN.
Her: Okay, Columbo, I’ll wait on the phone with you…
When two officers well known to me arrived, they got my story and told me to sit tight as they did a sweep of the house. I watched as they made a formation to enter the house safely (very Law and Order style) and started to panic that they’d actually find someone trying to steal my collection of Broadway CDs (yes, I still have CDs. Shut up.). I started to get sweaty when a THIRD officer showed up in his blue and white and made a beeline for the house without stopping to ask me any questions. And, when a FOURTH man showed up in plain clothes carrying a briefcase entered the premise, I was convinced they’d found Jimmy Hoffa having lunch at my kitchen island.
Me: A fourth officer just showed up. With a briefcase. I think my house is officially a crime scene.
Her: Relax, Kojak, it’s because they are compiling evidence that you call the cops too often. That, or proving your house is so neat, only a serial killer could live there.
Me: I don’t think you are taking this very seriously. You can’t have a badge.
In the end and after an exhaustive search of every nook and cranny of our house, it was determined that I *might* not have turned the lock all the way in the jam and that a windy day may have contributed to the appearance of a crime scene. The four officers bravely assured me that all was well and told me that the only reason a plain clothes officer showed up was because he happened to have the fingerprinting supplies in his trunk. They all promised me that they did not spend the better part of the search laughing their asses off at my safety consciousness however, they said these words with smirks. And, as they headed off, one turned to me and said he’d had a nice time at our neighborhood BBQ and hoped he’d see me soon.
Okay, maybe I do call a little too often…..but you better believe the next time I call, I’ll be wearing Fruit Loop #2’s bright orange bus patrol sash and blowing a shiny chrome whistle. Because safety is no accident. It’s every SAHM’s responsibility.