We got a voice mail yesterday from a sales rep for a home security system. They proposed an offer to come to our house and present proposal to put in a security system. I chuckled to myself, and thought, we surely don’t need that! For more than a few reasons, I’ve rarely felt safer than living in our mountain home. For one, we have our own home security in our two dogs, Simon and Shawnee, who really are sweethearts, but you wouldn’t know that from the way they act anytime someone walks in front of our house, or comes to our door. I’ve never heard such a cacophony of barking as when the UPS delivers packages — you’d think they were going to rip his head off. Despite this, I frequently find two dog biscuits sitting on top of the packages he delivers.
But more than the two dogs guarding our house, there’s a sense of safety living in the mountains I never experienced anywhere else I’ve lived. I found this house, when I first moved to the mountain town of Mammoth Lakes, California from the suburbs of Washington, DC more than twenty years ago. I rented a room from a woman who owned a condo in town. When I moved my stuff in, I expected to get a key to the condo. Instead, she pointed to a nail hanging over the kitchen counter, saying that was the only key to the condo, and that people didn’t lock their doors in Mammoth. I couldn’t believe what she was saying, and immediately went to thoughts of people stealing my worldly possessions. Surely, someone would take the TV, the stereo if the doors were left unlocked. But that was life in the mountains, and after a few weeks of uneasiness that amazingly led to no acts of robbery, I got used to this new way of life.
However, I was reminded of the differences between big city living and small town mountain living through a very humorous incident that occurred mid-winter when my roommate’s friend from LA came to visit. We had a central community building with a laundry room and hot tub located in the middle of the condo development. Frequently, after skiing for the day, I would go for a soak with some friend across the street. Of course, being that we always left our door unlocked, I brought only a towel with me. After getting done with our soak in the hot tub, I walked across the parking lot to go home, pulled on the door of the condo to find it locked! What the heck? Turns out our visitor from LA had gone out and locked our door, as any reasonable person would do in Los Angeles. I was stumped as to what to do, as I was standing in the parking lot, with only a swimsuit and a towel in twenty degree temperatures as snow fell softly around me. Our condo was two stories, and we had a little balcony off the second floor that came off the living room with a sliding glass door. I was pretty sure that was unlocked, and so proceeded to shimmy up the side of the building — what a vision I must have been, climbing up wooden clapboard, in a swimsuit during a snowstorm… Fortunately, I made it up unscathed, and found that indeed, the door was open, and made it inside.
From that day forward, whenever we had city visitors, we made sure they knew of our mountain protocols of leaving the door unlocked. And I never had any more episodes of climbing up the side of the condo building in my swimsuit either….