I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

The Lights Are On

… but nobody’s home.

Our two-block-away-neighbor/friend was telling us about a time recently when her husband was gone for two weeks.

“I did pretty well,” she said. “There was only one night when I thought I heard someone downstairs.”

“What did you do?” we all asked in a staggered chorus, seven voices asking the same question.

“I just told myself it was nothing,” she said, “and I tried to be brave.”

We nodded, knowingly, an unspoken chorus again echoing the same sentiment.  Who hasn’t been in that position?

“You know, you can call us anytime,” Bobby told her. “Elliot or I could be over within a few minutes.”


“I know,” she said, and then continued, “My across-the-street neighbor told me the same thing.  In fact, I hadn’t told anyone that George would be gone, because I didn’t want anyone to know I was alone.  The day before I heard the noise, she had called me on the phone to see if everything was okay.  I told her, ‘Yes, why do you ask?’ And she said, ‘I noticed that your front porch light and your back deck lights were both on all night every night for the past week, and I thought, I’ll bet George is away.'”

She looked around at us, knowingly, and checking to see if we understood.  She continued, “I guess anytime there is a change in routine, it’s a signal that something is different, and often a signal that someone is away.  It’s the kind of thing burglars notice.”

I don’t have a criminal mind.  If I notice something different like that, I just think, Gee, they changed their routine.

Like my backyard neighbor, who is always up the same time that I am, has not been up this week at all.  The first day, I thought, Huh, he must have slept in.  The second day, I thought, Wow, he overslept again.  The third day, I thought, I wonder if he doesn’t have to go to work as early as he used to.

Then we had dessert with our friend who told us the leaving-the-lights-on story, and a light bulb went on in my brain.  Hah!  He must be away!

Which just goes to show that sometimes the lights are on because nobody’s home, and sometimes the lights are on because somebody is.

How on earth does a thief keep it all straight?



Today’s daily prompt was “If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?”  This is a rather loose interpretation of that prompt, because, really I ask “If you were to judge a house by its lights, would you still rob it?”


8 comments on “The Lights Are On

  1. Pingback: Why I Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover | Stuphblog

  2. Sisyphus47
    March 27, 2013


  3. Pingback: Wednesday Words – Judgment Day | Tommia's Tablet

  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Judge Your Favorite Book By It’s Cover | My Daily Prompt Blog

  5. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Judgment Day | My Atheist Blog

  6. snosler
    March 27, 2013

    Nice – I like your take! Anyway, stopping in to see what others wrote for the Prompt – hope you have time to visit soon and read my take on it – Cheers!

  7. Pingback: Sometimes A Picture Or Book Cover Is Worth Three Words – “Not For Me” | The Jittery Goat

  8. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Judgment Day | Joe's Musings

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This entry was posted on March 27, 2013 by in Miscellaneous conversations, Postaday 2013 and tagged , , , , , .

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