You just left the house in a rush, because of course you chose this morning to stalk your college friend’s neighbor via her online wedding registry, but once you’re halfway down the street you are suddenly gripped with fear as you try to recall—
Did you lock the door? O.K., you definitely did! Remember that nice, audible click you heard as you walked away? There you go. Irrefutable evidence.
But, then, wasn’t your neighbor also talking to you as you closed the door, asking if you were coming to his barbecue and then jokingly reminding you that you didn’t have a choice since you share a yard? And weren’t you so focussed on doing that fake laugh you know is extremely unconvincing while trying to escape that maybe you didn’t lock the door at all? Maybe it’s just swinging wide open, welcoming everyone in the city of Los Angeles into your home.
But, even if they did come inside, they would, in all likelihood, leave immediately. Your roommate’s boyfriend, Dan, is probably right where you left him—lying out on the couch, playing Super Smash Bros. and buying car parts off Craigslist. Is he building a new car from scratch? Why does he need so much raw material? But if Dan has driven you to flee the apartment that you willingly pay rent for every month then surely he’ll convince strangers to leave, too, right?
Honestly, you have nothing to worry about. Just keep walking. Everything is fine. That door is definitely locked.
But, if it wasn’t, what would a potential burglar even steal? I mean, you don’t really own anything that valuable anyway, which is equal parts comforting and upsetting. You’re almost thirty. Why is your most valuable possession your four-year-old laptop? What is wrong with you? Wait, didn’t Grandma Esther tell you that holding on to that block of gold is what got her through the war? You should get a block of gold. Just a nice, big piece that you can melt down and sell on the open market. Now that would be a valuable thing to steal! Yes, this is a good plan. Remember to Google how to buy gold bars later.
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Now move along and don’t look back. You’ve got this.
Wait. What if this ends up being a Goldilocks scenario where someone just strolls in to sleep in your half-broken IKEA bed and use your Hulu login, but then realizes that your password has been changed because your friends do not trust you with their streaming accounts anymore? Or the intruder could go through the fridge and realize that everything has mostly gone bad, except for a half-eaten block of cheese and some hummus. Maybe he will be so depressed by your inability to be a properly functioning human that he’ll leave—but hopefully first go grocery shopping for you out of pity.
No. You’re spiralling. Come on. When have you ever not locked the door?
O.K., sure, there was that one time you were drunk in college and stumbled home and left the door ajar and, in the morning, you found out your friend’s cat had got out and they had to search for Ginger for weeks. But this is different! Like, people have the capacity to change, and this is clearly one of those cases.
Only maybe, to be safe, you should go home quickly and check. It’ll take no time at all! Yes, that’s it. Just a brisk walk back. O.K., now this is more of a jog. You’re really booking it, huh? It’s fine. You needed the steps anyway.
God, this is a disaster. All of your belongings are GONE.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
No, stop. Get ahold of yourself. Of course you locked the door, because you’re a goddam ADULT. Stop doubting yourself.
You’re back. Now just calmly walk up your stoop, past your neighbor, who is already putting up streamers and blasting the Eagles. Stop your hands from shaking, press down on the handle, close your eyes, and—
It was locked the whole time.
Just like you knew it would be. Cool.
Now leave your house so you can do this all again tomorrow.