August 27th, 2009

krazy koati

I'm standing here digging in my hip pocket

I grew up in a house that didn't lock doors. Probably part of this is my parents grew up not locking doors, and until I went to college never lived somewhere that locking the door seemed likely to be a good idea. (I was never seriously worried about theft or vandalism at college, but pranks seemed likely.) My siblings grew the same way. My sister-in-law said it took years to train my brother to lock the door habitually, which shows the power irony has since his job made him one of those computer security freaks who actually has a regularly changed 24-character password for his home wireless network.

Anyway: several months ago the neighborhood association sent out flyers warning of a Suspicious Person and that all cars should be locked. I, admitting a certain cynicism, supposed that meant that a known or suspected non-white person was spotted in a residential zone. While I did take to locking my car that was because my father had taken to putting junk he assumed to be mine in my trunk when I left the car unattended.

Shortly before I went to Michigan, my mother lost her months-old iPod Classic, which went missing in that way that things you like but only really use on long car trips will do. It doesn't seem to have been left at the relatives she'd taken it on a long car trip to, and searches turned up nothing (but consider my other brother's camera, lost in the house for months within the box of His Stuff He'll Pick Up Later So No Need Looking In It). My mother guessed perhaps the Suspicious Person took it from her unlocked car, and this set a new habit of lock-setting. That her car is now routinely locked doesn't bother me, but locking the front door is getting really tired.

Particularly since I don't have a key. As noted to her, several times, we've never locked the door of any house she has ever owned, so why would I have a key to it? My father found the supposed house key and made copies, revealing neither its copies nor the original worked for locking or unlocking purposes. For now we're on opening the garage door by remote or password, and unlocking the door inside. My father, who does a fair amount of carpentry work in the garage, often leaves the garage door open even when he's popped inside to listen to Yelling Idiots Passed Off As News for a couple hours.

Me, I end up going to the front door like I've been doing at my parents' home since I was able to form permanent memories and about half the time finding it locked, so I either go back around to the garage or I bang on the door till my Dad opens it. I'm really eager to have this door-lock fad wear off.

Trivia: A lift lock, of presently unknown design but apparently made of wood, is recorded as providing secured access from the port of Bruges to the North Sea in the year 1234, and it is recorded as being repaired in 1353 and 1371, and replaced with one of masonry around the close fo the 14th century. Source: Engineering in History, Ricard Shelton Kirby, Sidney Withington, Arthur Burr Darling, Frederick Gridley Kilgour.

Currently Reading: A Century of Subways: Celebrating 100 Years Of New York's Underground Railways, Brian J Cudahy. You know, I'm as fond as anyone of books made up of gritty specific facts, and yet there's a limit to how much interest I can summon for the details of local system modifications of basic subway car design of the 1920s.