I love living in South Africa. Consider me to be one of the shiny, happy people REM sings about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stupid or oblivious to the problems we face daily. You know those unique things, like corruption, crime, poverty and prejudice. I’m saying unique ’cause when you read the news it seems we’re the only country that deals with that kind of icky stuff.
As part of suburban life, one might find certain common things amongst households of our beautiful country. Things like Aromat and Pap, a Braai and a Pool, a Rugby ball and Jersey and a SUV and a Caravan. And they’re all tucked away, nicely behind 6″ walls and a Burglar alarm.
We have one of those, and we activate it every night. This allows us to become aware of the unlikely event of a person taking our tv without permission. For thieves do that sometimes. Most of these burglar alarms are connected to an armed response company, as the cops here in SA would be too busy eating KFC.
When I wake-up in the middle of the night, I’m useless. Compared to me waking up in the morning when I’m useless. There has been several occasions when our burglar alarm has gone off like a nun in a male strip club, but it’s never been anything serious. Normally just the dog or a lion walking through the house, accidentally activating a sensor.
The alarm went off last week, again. I know this for the wife woke me up and told me.
After sliding out of bed, the first thing you want to do, is get back in. One needs to achieve silence quickly. Because that thing is loud enough to wake the neighbours, or worse, the children. Security experts will tell you that you need to leave the alarm on, until you know that it’s safe and the intruders, if any, have left the building. It’s a deterrent.
Yeah right, I’m convinced none of those “so-called experts” has ever had to get toddlers to fall asleep. And as all parents know, once they’re asleep, there’s no way in fuck that you’re going to risk them waking up, again. And even though my toddlers have now grown up to become tweens, old habits die hard.
So now I slid-crawl-walk to the control panel, as quickly as humanly possible for a man who has just been kicked out of bed. The control panel has two major functions at that time of the night: (1) It indicates which zone of the house detected a disturbance and (2) It requires a pin to deactivate the alarm.
We all know how great I am with pins and passwords, as it brings out my inner serial-killer.
I’m standing in front of the little box, rattling the vacuum in my skull for the four-digit code, ignoring to register why the alarm went off in the first place i.e check the detected zone. I just use the first sequence of numbers that fills the blank space. No surprise, it’s wrong. I try the code again, but still the alarm continues to scream like Solange in an elevator, attacking my auditory senses with kicks and punches.
Just as some clarity start infiltrating my head and I’m about to start attempt #3, the wife shouts the pin from the bedroom.
Consider this: If there is an intruder, which I have yet to determine, and he’s standing around, he would be listening to my wife stating our “super secret pin” in a very agitated, but clear voice. He might as well leave the house now, and return tomorrow night and deactivate the damn thing himself.
Nevertheless, she was right. I punched in the numbers and killed the alarm. For a second, I thought it weird that there was a delay in the dying of the alarm, but what was even more bizarre was the fact that I used the same pin on all three attempts. I think, anyhow…
With the alarm assassinated, semi-effectively, I run down the stairs to confront the bastard who dared wake me. (Or technically woke my wife.) I was ready for the confrontation. All dressed up in a pair of Batman shorts and bed-head hair. My plan was to scare them to death. I was, after all, semi-naked with an utter flabbergasted-looking expression.
No-one was in the house, or attempted to enter it. I finished my rounds, checking windows, doors, kids in bed and eventually returned up the stairs, slightly annoyed. Then it dawned on me that I forgot to check which zone of the house detected the disturbance.
Facing my friend, the panel, I wiped the muck from my eyes and tried to focus. As there were no lights flashing, (on the panel that is) it meant that the alarm was never activated, in the first place. WTF?
I stood perplexed waiting for the inevitable phone call from the armed response company, which never came. And the house remained quiet and as peaceful as it’s ever been that time of the night/morning. That is if you ignore the high pitched voice from the wife wanting to know what’s happening.
It was only when the sound of an alarm filled the air once again that I realised what was actually happening. My wife was disturbed from her sleep by the screeching screams of the burglar alarm…From. The. Neighbour’s. House.
Did I mention the wife to be a very light sleeper? Like basically not sleeping, compared to my wake-up-like-a-zombie resting state.
I’m recommending sleeping pills for future use, as a cat jumping through an open window of the house next door, should not require me to remember a four digit code or worse; let me prance around the house like a wannabe ninja with a heartbeat that you can generate electricity with.