Many years ago, I had the one and only house-sitting gig of my career.
The home sat at the very top of a hill and while the nearest neighbor wasn’t really all that far away, it was situated to feel extremely isolated.
It was a modern house, spare with large windows on almost every wall. In keeping with the style, there were no curtains, window shades or blinds. If the lights were on, you felt as though your every move was visible to people for miles around.
To top it all off, the front door didn’t lock. It had a lock, but it was broken and they had never bothered to fix it.
I’m sure as a couple with three kids, they felt perfectly safe. But I was single woman, house-sitting all alone. I couldn’t rely on safety in numbers and felt vulnerable whenever I was in the house. Especially at bedtime.
I’d lie in the bed convinced that each little noise was an ax murderer creeping around the house looking for a victim.
Or at least burglars.
It’s amazing just how much noise a house makes, even a new one.
I tried to fix the door lock. And I even stuck a chair under the handle like they do in the movies, but I wasn’t convinced that a little kitchen chair could actually keep bad guys from coming in.
Then one night, before going to bed, I happened to start the dishwasher.
And I slept like a log.
It’s not that I thought I dishwasher somehow protected me, but I had something to blame the noises on.
What was that noise? It was just the dishwasher. Was that a footstep? No, just the dishwasher.
I ended up running that dishwasher every night for two weeks, whether there were dishes in it or not.
It was a huge waste of water and I’m sure I didn’t do their electric bill any favors, but it least I was able to get a decent night’s rest.
I think of that house every time I run my dishwasher at night. How the thunking and clunking made me feel safe. Dishwasher safe.