Somebody wandered into our house Wednesday and had a look around. Kid B heard my bedroom door open and close, while I was at work. By the time he came out of his room to have a look, no one was around.

When he told me that evening, I thought it must just have been the cat trying to barge in. But when I looked outside the next morning, a half-eaten tangerine was lying out by the perennial garden. Whoever it was must have been outside already when Kid B started looking around, and taken off running when they heard the door open.

They didn’t take anything. My new and very portable laptop was sitting in the back room recharging in plain sight. In my room, the iPod was sitting right on the desk, and cash in a very obvious top drawer. Maybe it was just a kid, but maybe it was someone checking the place out for future visits. We don’t have any tangerines right now, and what kind of kid would have a tangerine? The kids in this neighborhood drink tangerine soda and eat tangerine-colored processed products of various types, but a real tangerine? Mmm, I think we’d better start locking the door.

Even if it is a kid, sometimes young people have to steal something as part of a gang initiation. When the boys were younger, their friends and cousins ripped off everything from Pokemon cards to Kid A’s petsitting money to Dan’s wallet.

We’ve never kept the door locked on a regular basis because there’s always someone around. Until recently we’ve been protected by a wolfish-looking dog. (Every time I’d walk her, I’d get some little kid asking, “Dat a woof?”) And until very recently, at pretty much any hour of the day or night, someone in the house would be home and awake. We don’t even bother with an answering machine. But with just the two of us now, it’s different.


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