Too Old to Be a Burglar
My daughter-in-law was in a bind. She was getting a roof repaired on her parent’s house and having the air conditioning fixed in her parent’s other house, about 20 miles away, on the same day. Her parents were out of town and she was being a good daughter.
She called me and asked if I could help her out by waiting for the air conditioning repair man.
I was going to be baking that day, making desserts for Break the Fast the following day, but figured I could make it over to the house by one o’clock if she scheduled the appointment in the afternoon. She readily agreed.
That morning, while I was baking, I sent Barbara to get the key and the code for the burglar alarm system.
Barbara returned just as I was finishing up the last touches on my Linzer Tarts, Raspberry Sauce and Lemon Mousse. I had about twenty minutes to get to the house and left immediately.
On the way, I looked at the paper my daughter-in-law had written containing the code and password if there was a problem. I called her to make sure I knew where the keyboard for the alarm was and passed through the guard gate at the entrance to the community.
I arrived at the house, unlocked the front door, easily found the key pad and punched in the code.
I tried again. No effect!
Getting a little anxious now, I tried to punch in the code and various buttons on the key pad that said “Off”. I checked what was written on the paper my daughter-in-law had given me to see if I was punching in the wrong code. I punched it in very slowly.
The alarm starting clanging. I mean REALLY CLANGING !
It was deafening.
I called my daughter-in-law to see if I had done something wrong.
She answered, but I couldn’t hear her because of the alarm. I went outside and questioned her about the key pad. I only had to punch in the code, no other buttons were needed.
On a hunch, I asked her to repeat the code to me.
The number she repeated was different than the one she gave me. She had written a 0 but told me 6 for the last number.
I ran back in and punched in the new code. The alarm stopped.
I heard a phone ringing and ran to get it. I lifted the receiver and yelled in the password, but the alarm company had hung up.
I told my daughter-in-law what had happened, and she assured me that the alarm company would probably call her and she would verify there was nothing wrong.
I hung up and called my wife to tell her about the fiasco.
Barbara told me the alarm company had tried to call her, but she hadn’t answered since she didn’t recognize the number, a practice we had been doing to avoid sales calls. She realized it was the alarm company when they left a message. Turns out we were next on the emergency call list.
We speculated that the police would probably be dispatched to the location. She assured me she wouldn’t post bail if I got arrested and to have a good time overnight in a cell.
On that supportive note, I hung up and found a place to sit.
I had brought a book with me and settled down to wait for the repairman. It was hot in the house since the air wasn’t working but I was semi comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt.
About twenty minutes later my daughter-in-law called me to see if everything was all right and to update me on the progress of the roofers. When they finished she would come and relieve me.
While I was talking with her, there was a knock at the door. Still talking with her, I went to answer it.
I opened the door to a fairly large Deputy Sheriff, and two patrol cars in the street.
“Hello officer,” I said, trying to sound innocent. “Come on in and I will explain”.
“That’s ok, can I see your identification please?”
I handed over my driver’s license.
“I see you own the car in the driveway,” he stated. “I’ve already walked around the house and could see no break in evidence”.
I guessed he had run my plates.
“It’s my daughter-in-law’s parents house, I’m here waiting for the air conditioner repair man,” I told him.
“You’re the father?” he queried.
“No the father-in-law,” I answered and explained again what the relationship was.
“I was given the wrong code, and by the time I got the right code, all hell broke loose”, I stated.
He looked me over and wrote down my information.
“Would you like to speak with my daughter-in-law, she’s on the phone with me now” I asked?
“No, that won’t be necessary” he answered. “You don’t look like a burglar, and besides if anything is missing I have your information”.
He got back in his car and the two cars then left.
I closed the door and went back to my seat.
My daughter-in-law was still on the phone. She, unlike someone I could name, was sympathetic. She promised to relieve me as soon as she could and insisted I must be wrong about what she wrote for the last number of the code. I wasn’t.
Eventually the repairman and my son and daughter-in-law arrived.
I got to thinking about the reason the deputy had not pressed me. I wasn’t an owner at the house or even someone with the last name of the owner. Why wasn’t he more suspicious?
I believe he took a look at me and decided I was too old to be a burglar.
What kind of age discrimination was this? I was not too old to be a burglar!
Oddly for me I decided not to prove it.