That moment of … Sliding doors

In response to RDP – Wednesday – Security

It was my last trip to the town for the year. I had been at loggerheads with the hotel management to give me a room off the car park all year. Not that I was asking for an upgrade but for convenience and to reduce the discomfort in my hands while wheeling a suitcase. So like I said, it was the last trip and to my surprise, the hotel gave me a whole suite instead, on the ground floor. The suite has a living area with TV, dining area with adjoining small kitchen, one queen bedroom with TV, and a bathroom with spa. Way too generous for my needs for a two night stay. It has a bank of sliding doors along one whole wall that open to the footpath leading to the office at one end and the car park to the other. It does get some foot traffic early morning and at the end of the day but the luxury of space overrides that. The bedroom has a huge sliding door that opens up to the small patio overlooking the garden and pool. I love this room because, depending on the time of year, the honey eaters sing noisily almost all night in the gum trees just outside the patio. They are so noisy that a hotel guest once asked management could they please turn the birdsong off at night, thinking it was piped through the hotel! True!

I arrived on Sunday night, my usual time and it is one of the few nights in the month I don’t work. I kick back, dinner in hand and watch some Sunday evening TV, usually 60 Minutes, shower and go to bed. I’ve been having organic sour cherry juice every day that has not only helped my rheumatoid arthritis but helps me enjoy a deep, restful sleep. So it was unusual for me to be woken up, wide awake around 1:30 am. nSomething woke me but what? I lay in bed listening, my eyes scanning the dark. My senses on high alert, barely breathing, just silent in silence. Once my heart stopped racing, I decided to go to the bathroom and then settle back into bed. In the dark, I did not flush the toilet, fearing I would wake the sleeping miners who stay at this hotel and go to work early. I washed my hands and as I moved towards the bedroom, I froze. I heard the sliding door of the bedroom move inch by inch and then the imperceptible click of the door latch. Not knowing if the door was being opened or closed, my mind raced back to my arrival at the room, hours earlier, late evening. Yes I had followed my usual drill of checking all doors and windows were locked. It gave me a sense of security. The drill is reflex for me as soon as I enter a hotel room and my actions empowered me. I walked across towards the sliding door and turned the patio light on. I peered through a crack in the curtains and I saw him, pressed hard against the wall in the corner of the patio. I knew he was there, dressed in dark clothing and a baseball cap but he didn’t know I was behind the curtains. I flung the curtains wide open. It startled him! He ran, stumbling over the patio furniture and disappeared into the grounds. I phoned the police who came 30 minutes later and took a statement. After they left I sat on the sofa for a few hours and at dawn, I went back to the bedroom, opened the curtains wide and snuggled in and slept for another couple of hours indifferent to being visible to the miners who were leaving for work.

I checked TripAdvisor and to my amazement found the same thing had happened to a couple about six months earlier. They reported he was in the room even though they were certain they had locked their door. They woke to find him rummaging through their belongings. How can that be, I wondered. Was he in the closet? (I check that too, by the way!). But if he was in their closet why was he trying the sliding door? Was there a way he could open those doors I wondered. When home I started looking at security tips for hotel rooms and to my dismay found security can be breached quite easily, depending on the door design but there are many tips and hacks, too, how to ensure one is safe as can be.

The lesson I learnt is this, one can be as careful as one can be, but if someone is going to break in and steal, no matter how hard you make it, they will find a way.

Same applies to one’s heart.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

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