Safe As Houses

Didn’t get much sleep last night. When it’s raining hard outside, I sweat like a… sweaty thing, for some reason. Maybe this is the same sort of thing as when you put a sleeping person’s hand in a bowl of warm water and they wet themselves.

We got a leaflet for a neighbourhood watch programme the other day, which made a change from the We Need Your Unwanted Clothes To Help The Poor People In Solidarity With The United Nations Please No Cash Donations stickers that come through daily.

(I have built a makeshift greenhouse out the back with the bags that accompany these stickers. I am growing Tomatoes And Scallions And Butternut Squash To Help Feed The Poor. All Vegetables Will Go To Poor People In Developing Countries So That They May Enjoy Decent Living Standards Because Of The Failure Of Their Governments)

Anyway, the neighbourhood watch thing got me thinking about burglars. Our house is the only house on the street that has no burglar alarm. Two main reasons:

  • There is nothing of resale value: if nosy evening strolls are anything to go by, we have easily The Worst TV Set In Town;
  • I’m damned if I’m going to get up in the middle of the night to turn off a burglar alarm because some pigeon has eaten too much alcohol-soaked egg fried rice vomit.  This does not mean that I do not often think about getting a burglar alarm. I do not like the idea of taking on a gang of baseball bat-wielding intruders in a t-shirt and underpants. (To clarify, that’d be me wearing the t-shirt and underpants)

Thinking about burglars had me dreaming about them. They were in our kitchen, rifling through the cereal boxes to locate the Really Important and Valuable Object that I had hidden, in what seemed perfectly rational in the course of the dream, at the bottom of a box of organic Weetabix.

Once they located the Really Important and Valuable Object, and made off with it, I was doomed. My life would fall to bits, not least because I would have to attend the Garda station in my t-shirt and underpants, where I would have to share a waiting room with assorted rapists, murderers and rugby supporters.

As I awoke to the sounds of the rain battering the windows and the creaking guttering outside, I was, quite naturally, convinced that the burglars were downstairs. I figured that I had been dreaming about burglars because I had heard them rustling about.

I thought about defence. There are very few useful weapons in our house. Oddly enough, we have a large ceremonial sword, but this has only ever proven useful in hillside battles where there is room enough to swing it. In the confines of the house, it is worse than useless. I would end up cracking a vase over one of the burglar’s heads instead,  sprinkling the episode with a hint of melodrama.

After a couple of minutes, reason had been restored, and I was sure there were no burglars, so I went downstairs and closed the bathroom window that had been left open. I rolled over and went back to sleep, cussing the Gardai and all those neighbours with burglar alarms and massive TVs for making me feel unsafe in my own home.

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February 2007

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