Sunday, November 27, 2022

"Cause for Alarm"

By Jerry Zezima

The most alarming thing about being home alone, aside from being cast in a geezer version of the famous Macaulay Culkin movie, is setting off the house alarm and having to tell my wife, Sue, who left me home alone, that I could have been arrested for being in our own house.

That’s exactly what happened when Sue went out of town for five days and left me — you guessed it — free to have a wild party that also could have gotten me arrested.

No, actually, I was all by myself the entire time, which would have been pretty boring if I hadn’t accidentally set off the alarm on the first morning of Sue’s absence.

After turning it off and putting a merciful stop to the shrieking godawful noise that I’m surprised Sue didn’t hear from 600 miles away, I convinced Heather, a nice and understanding person from the alarm company, not to send the cops.

“Everything is good,” Heather assured me over the phone, though I had to ask her to repeat what she said because my ears were still ringing. “As long as you disarmed the alarm, you’re OK.”

“I’m home alone because my wife is out of town,” I said. “She left me with a week’s worth of leftovers to prevent me from starving to death or burning the house down.”

“You’ll survive,” Heather said. “My husband is pretty dependent, too. He would eat at McDonald’s every day. And he burns water.”

“Has he ever set off the alarm in your house?” I asked.

“He doesn’t touch it,” Heather replied. “But if setting off the alarm is the worst thing you do while your wife is away, you’re pretty good.”

I thanked Heather for her help and for not getting me in trouble with the law. After hanging up, I surveyed my list of chores: clean the bathrooms, dust the furniture, vacuum the house, throw out the garbage and water the plants.

I also had to heat up dinner every night, although I decided, on a rollicking Saturday evening, to send out for Chinese food. Afterward, I made microwave popcorn, which I munched while watching a movie on TV. Halfway through, I fell asleep.

Yes, I was a swinging bachelor. In fact, I spent part of one afternoon swinging in my hammock. But first, I went to the beverage warehouse to buy beer.

“My wife left me home alone,” I told Paul, who rang up my purchase.

“Beer will help,” he said.

“Has your wife ever left you home alone?” I inquired.

“My wife left me, period,” Paul answered. “I’m divorced. I can go to sleep when I want, I can wake up when I want and I can drink beer when I want.”

“The first thing I did was set off the alarm,” I said.

“At least you can tell your wife you didn’t end up in jail,” Paul said.

Arnie the mailman was sympathetic to my plight.

“I prefer being home alone,” Arnie said as he handed me a bunch of bills. “I work on projects my wife didn’t want me to work on.”

“For me, a project is making coffee,” I said. “And setting off the alarm.”

“You’re lucky the cops weren’t called,” Arnie said. “Enjoy your time off. And don’t get in trouble.”

Then I saw Mike, my next-door neighbor, who was outside with his wife, Corrie.

“How’s Sue?” Mike asked.

“She’s out of town,” I replied. “She left me home alone. I hope you didn’t hear the alarm. I accidentally set it off.”

“I was away for a weekend recently,” Corrie said.

“How did you do?” I asked Mike.

“Fine,” he said. “I barbecued. I didn’t burn the house down. And I didn’t set off the alarm.”

“Sue left me with food and instructions,” I said.

“Not me,” Corrie said. “I told Mike, ‘You’re on your own, buddy.’ He did all right.”

Ultimately, I did, too. When I picked up Sue at the airport, I told her about my adventures.

“At least,” she said with a sigh, “I didn’t have to bail you out of jail.”

Copyright 2022 by Jerry Zezima

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