Real Life Lessons: The Story
[flickr]photo:218204744(small)[/flickr] I will sometimes have friends over. This blog series with an event that occurred after a small gathering and then veers into a security analysis. It is my hope that it is as educational for you as it was for me.
We ended the night much later than planned, and since I had a busy morning, I neglected my normal nightly routine. Thus, that night, I neglected to arm the security system. I also assumed that my friends had locked the door as they left. As I am sure you can tell, this does not bode well…
Later that night, I awoke to the smell of smoke. While unpleasant and unusual, my neighbor is a smoker and when the wind is just wrong, I sometimes get a whiff of it in my bedroom. Since it was definitely cigarette smoke that I smelled, I went back to sleep. Then, a bit later, I woke up to my cats acting oddly. Not terribly unusual, but strange enough that I probably should have checked it out. Being half asleep, I didn’t. Instead, I just closed my bedroom door to keep my cat from bugging me. This is the part that I’m kicking myself over.
Well, once I finally wake up, I go about my normal morning routine. During this process, I see a pair of shoes on my living room floor that had not previously been there. Looking up, I see a young man sleeping on my couch, who had also not previously been there.
This is a situation for which I did not have a ready response.
Since it was dark, I considered the possibility that one of my friends couldn’t start his car or had gotten kicked out of his house (unlikely, but not outside the realms of possibility, especially given how late we broke up the party) and came back to my place for the lack of anywhere better to go. Another possibility was that a stranger had broken in (unlikely) and taken a nap on my couch (considerably more unlikely). Obviously, the way to determine which of these two possibilities were occurring was to turn on a light somewhere.
First, however, I decided to put on some pants. *shrug* it just seemed like a good idea.
Given that I was going into an unfamiliar situation, I decided that preparation would be wise. I grabbed my sword from my bedroom (I don’t own a gun, but that’s a completely different post), and entered 9-1-1 (but did not hit “send”) on my cell phone prior to waking the individual. I then turned on the light in the kitchen, so that I would have enough to see by, and positioned myself between the man (boy? Not really sure. He seemed to be in his (very) young twenties.) and the light (maximizing my visual advantage), and started prodding him.
He is probably not the only person in Des Moines to wake up that night in a strange place, utterly confused and hung over. He is, however, likely the only one to wake up with a sword at his throat.
He was quite apologetic.
In response to my questions, I learned that he had been drinking last night (he said “a lot”) and that the last thing he remembered was thinking that it was too cold and he had to go inside. He then gathered his shoes and windbreaker(!) and left, asking only what part of the city he was in. I locked the door behind him.
I elected not to call the cops as I suspect that he had just learned a lot in those sixty seconds, and I have no desire to ruin someones life over a single stupid mistake.
So, what did I learn from this experience?
- When suddenly finding myself in a potentially dangerous situation, I am calm and logical. I have suspected this for a while, but it’s nice to have the (very) occasional confirmation.
- I was in complete control of the situation from the moment I became aware of it. While I am not a control freak, it is nice to know that I have that in me when it is needed.
- At no point was I afraid. Concerned, yes. Afraid, no. I like that.
- Even though I hardly ever use the front door (garage is in the back), I need to check that door nightly and not assume it is locked. I do always check the back door.
- I need to be better at arming the security system at night than I have been. I used to be an extremely light sleeper, but I can apparently no longer rely in my ability to wake up at the slightest noise. (I guess living in a city has changed me).
- It was stupid of me to ignore the subtle indicators that did wake me up. I need to be better at checking those out.
So, in conclusion, I did some very negligent things that resulted in a situation that should never have occurred. This is bad. However, once in that situation, I think that my reaction was acceptable. There is, however, ample room for improvement. We shall explore the lessons learned in greater detail in future posts