The locksmith added the alarm a few years ago. A rep came to the store and impressed him with the risk he faced. He thinks this is ironic. Years before, like many smiths he knew, he had been a small time thief. Two rounds of prison ”cured” him, except that he realized that what he really liked was the breaking in part. His curiosity about what was behind the door was really the whole game for him. Monty Hall, Carol Merrill: What’s Behind Door Number Three!, Let’s Make a Deal, his childhood.
As a boy, on the occasional sick day, having missed school, he would watch Let’s Make a Deal, Price is Right, Password and sneak on into General Hospital and the other afternoon operas. No one was home. Being sick was a treat. Alone for hours, he would eat peanut butter and jelly, and wander around nosing into his parents nooks and crannies. The house was quiet. No chaos, no wondering what next. 3:30 would come around and he would watch the Andy Griffith Show and hope it was one where Barney played a big role – he still thinks they should have cancelled it after Barney left the show. As the afternoon wore on and maybe the fever returned or not, he would wander back to bed being sure to be there by the time his parents got home, pretending to sleep when the Ford Custom 500 (dad) or the baby blue Ford Maverick (mom) pulled in to the driveway. He knew their moods based on how they pulled in. Vigilant.
Now he hardly watched TV. Most days he sits in the shop well toward evening, making keys, tinkering with a safe or lock – all safe behind his new alarm. He is comfortable at the job. He still gets to break in to houses and cars and he still gets paid and sometimes the cops even call to ask him to do it. The adrenaline is not the same, but life is about compromises, he thinks. And even as he thinks this he realizes that the statement itself is a compromise. There is a brief, almost imperceptible sadness about that. But it’s livable. All of it, the alarm, the memories, the shop. He watches the slanting light of the sun setting on the hills beyond the Ashland Springs Hotel (tallest building in town). A breeze stirs, barely bends the grass on the hills in the distance. It bends, the grass, hardly moving, as if inclining in to hear something for a moment. Subtle like that, he thinks.
No one else in the world sees this.
Ashland, OR 2004, Nikon D100, natural light.