Home Security Systems and the Fight-or-Flight Response

You know how you alert the authorities whenever you hear that the alarm system for a nearby car or home has gone off? Yeah, me neither.

I abhor alarm systems of all kinds. I had the misfortune of going to college during the car alarm’s heyday. Living, as I did, in dormitories and apartment buildings, there were always a couple dozen cars within earshot of my bedroom window that had security systems. Every time the wind blew, one of those cars would start losing it’s mind – honking and beeping, hyperventilating and carrying on. The commotion would last for ten minutes. The owner was never around, the car was never worth more than the cost of the labor for installing the alarm system, and I was never able to get back to sleep.

My experiences with home security systems are fewer in number than my run-ins with car alarms, but greater in trauma. My parents’ alarm system is the worst. God help you if you try to break into that joint and steal whatever it is they are protecting (i.e. a pair of recliners, a Kureig coffee maker, and about a dozen pair of the sort of capri pants women buy when they decide they are too old for shorts).

Someone broken into their home a few years, and they decided to retaliate by purchasing the same security system used to gaurd against theft at Tower of London should someone attempt to steal the Crown Jewels. It has flashing lights and a siren that is 110dB. If you mistakenly set off this alarm and somehow manage to keep from crying, wetting you pants or curling up into the fetal position, the government should make you an officer in the Marines. You should get to skip boot camp. You are a badass.

Here is the origin of today’s rant: I set off the security system of the home of my friends Erik and Audra this week. Their alarm had gone off while they were out of town, you see. The monitoring company called them, said a police officer had driven by and that everything was okay, but Audra wanted to know if Todd and I (with baseball bat in hand) would mind doing a quick walk through just to make sure nothing was amiss. In my haste to bludgeon the squatters I imagined were holed up in her bedroom, I set off the alarm. Don’t ask for the details regarding how. Let me just confess to being powerfully stupid and leave it at that.

What do you do when you mistakenly set off a friends’ home alarm? I tell you what I did: I grabbed my husband by the arm and yelled, “We gotta get outta here – now!”

“Do you think we should call her and get the code?” Todd wanted to know.

“Let’s just go,” I insisted. (Note: I am a panicer.)

I called Audra from the car. Told her I set off the alarm.

“That’s okay,” she said. “If I give you the code, would you mind going back in and turning it off?”

“I can’t right now, I’m in the car,” I explained.

“Oh. Like in the car driving away from the house?”

“Yes,” I admitted. “I guess we need to turn around. Give me a minute.”

“Sure,” she said. “How far down the road are you?”

“Not far.” We were in our driveway, but our home is quite close by, so it wasn’t a lie. Not exactly.

Audra, if you’re reading this, I’m not a total imbecile. This was clearly fight-or-flight. Isn’t one of your degrees in psychology? I shouldn’t have to explain this to you. We’re talkin primal stuff here. A nervous system thing. Hormones and junk like that. I had a fight-or-flight response, and you know I’m not a fighter.

The good news is that Audra and Erik’s home was fine (which is more than I can say for the rabbit we babysat for the daughter of our other friends, Jon and Mari, during the very same Winter break. Rest in peace, Mrs. Flufferstoffen.) The follow-up good news is that alarm systems really do work. They may not inspire bystanders to call the authorities, but they certainly scare off the poor low-lifes who set them off.

Thank you for reading. Please leave requests for house-sitting and rabbit care in the comments section.

(Mari of the dead rabbit on the left, Audra of the burglary in the middle, me on the right. Oh, and I also lost Audra’s cat once when I was suppose to be feeding it, but it came back after a couple of weeks.)

(Erik sporting the kind of accessories that call for a home security system.)


16 Comments on “Home Security Systems and the Fight-or-Flight Response

  1. Don’t get me started on alarms of any sort. I said don’t. I hated the old ones on cars that used to go off as soon as the first autumn leaf gently floated down to land on their windscreens. Like a screaming child they would screech, and scream, as if they were being raped. SOMEONE’S TRYING TO STEAL ME! SOMEONE’S TRYING TO STEAL ME! iT LOOKS LIKE A LEAF, NOT A THIEF, BUT I KNOW IT’S TRYING TO STEAL ME! I KNOW IT IS!

    And then there are those people, who think that only the friends they want to know they have arrived outside their house can hear their car horn, as they merrily treat the rest of the neighbourhood to a few blasts. Just because their too damned lazy to get their fat butts out of their car seats.


  2. You’re a hilarious panicer! šŸ˜› … also you don’t need a security system when you have a Viking at home!
    BTW what happened with Mrs. Flufferstoffen? WHAT DID YOU DO!? LOL šŸ˜›

  3. Thank goodness they left me with the healthy dog, and no alarm. As a real estate agent I panic when I see in the remarks … call for code. Its even worse when you set off an alarm of someone you don’t know.

    • Mari loves the dog, and I think she secretly found the rabbit to be a hassle. She probably gave you the dog because she knew you’d take care of it and gave me the rabbit because I’d “take care of it.” She and Jon probably high fived when they got the text that the rabbit was gone.

  4. It is VERY difficult to think rationally when you set off an alarm, the panic mode that sets in almost always covers up any ability to remember the numbers and letters required to turn the damn thing off. I have to admit when I read this post I had a flashback to 1986 when our cat regularly set off the alarm on my husband’s Mazda RX-7 in our apartment complex. Ugh. (P.S., he had to correct me when I first said it was 1985…what is it about men and their car memories???)

  5. I am terrible in panicked situations as well. When our dog got hit by a car, I stood there like an idiot and then called 911. The operator was like, “Ma’am, we don’t send ambulances for dogs.” Oh yeah. Duh. Thankfully my husband and my neighbor had the clarity of mind to get our dog and take her to the animal emergency hospital five minutes away. They were already in the car and leaving by the time I got off of my stupid 911 call. I’m a huge help.

    On another note, I see why your friends need such a top-notch security system. Those are some dope treasures he’s got in that picture there.

  6. On the flips side alarms are getting so common to hear on the High Street (with empty shop premises and lots of coming and going) I’m not sure if they can be made more alarming so people look up at what’s happening! I enjoyed your post. šŸ˜€

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: