When my husband occasionally takes a job-related trip, I don’t blink an eye. As a medical student, resident, then small-town doctor, he considered hospitals his home away from home. Or was our home the home away from home?
We never got that straight. But we worked it out.
Those early days proved challenging. Alone in a big-city apartment, this small-town girl read thick books to fill nighttime hours. I went to the grocery after dark only if my books weighed more than me. I braved the laundromat only if the hamper attracted flies.
A new basement apartment expanded the all-night-alone experience. Window sills were at sidewalk level. While eating dinner, we watched anonymous feet and legs walking past.
When Hubby spent the night at the hospital, the thought of feet kicking in screens kept me wide-eyed. I sang along with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and saluted the flag when television stations went off the air. Since continuous noise forms a shield no criminal can penetrate, I turned on the radio. I triple-checked the dead bolt.
Why “dead”? Why not “alive bolt”?
Stop, I prodded myself. This is the era of Charlie’s Angels. Women don’t have to live scared.
But I didn’t own a gun or know karate. Worse, my hair refused to do the Farrah Fawcett thing.
Should I block the door with heavy furniture? Given our basement windows, not overly effective. Perhaps create a burglar alarm using Pepsi cans, á la my dad?
Outside stairways creaked. Anonymous feet lurked. …
My creativity shifted into overdrive. Maybe I’d grease the entrance and window sills with Crisco®?
But what if Hubby received an unexpected night off?
Hey, it could happen.
I decided to leave the bathroom light on. After all, science has proved all-night bathroom lights morph into deadly lasers that zap intruders, then flush them down the toilet.
What, that would never happen?
How do you know?
Please do not knock my imagination, as Hubby and I eventually discovered our apartment complex was a major drug center. Still, thanks to TV, radio static and vigilant bathroom light, I suffered no harm. Many pushers never made it back to the street.
Fast-forward four decades. Hubby’s gone tonight on a rare trip.
I will handle nighttime like a pro, as we live in a small town. No scary feet tramp past window sills. I turn off the TV and radio before retiring. I even click off the bathroom light.
I am dead asleep when the phone rings. Hubby, leaving early, will arrive soon.
See, it can happen.
But how do I un-Crisco the doors and windows?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you follow a different nighttime routine when your spouse is away?