I was never scared when I lived alone in my apartment, even though my second floor apartment had a balcony that overlooked an alley, and a rapist/serial killer could have easily broken into my abode. But now that I live in a house, I get spooked whenever Nathan leaves town and I have to spend the night alone. Fortunately, Nathan rarely travels without me.
I am getting better with spending nights alone in our house. I used to have trouble falling asleep and then managed to sleep four hours, tops. Now I fall asleep easily and sleep the entire night - but there are still some rituals that I must follow in order to survive the night.
Ritual One: The week before Nathan leaves town, I seriously consider staying at my parents' house, but my laziness always prevails. It's easier to stay home alone with all my stuff than to pack a suitcase.
Ritual Two: I park the car in the front of the driveway. This lets the bandits, goblins and pirates know that someone is at home. I should probably put a macho bumper sticker on my car (maybe something about wrestling or hunting) just to create the illusion that a man is at home.
Ritual Three: I must debate for a full ten minutes whether I should leave the lights in the front room on all night. My initial thought is that this will reinforce the message: People are home! Don't rob this house tonight! But then again, leaving the lights on all night just screams: A poor defenseless woman is home alone! She's scared and has not taken any self-defense classes since high school! Did I mention she's defenseless? Besides, if I went to the kitchen for a midnight snack and saw the light was on, I'd probably assume a burglar was watching t.v. in the living room and crap my pants.
Ritual Four: I must check that the front and back door are locked. At least fifteen times. Because I'm insane.
Ritual Five: I must check that all the windows are locked. At least five times. Because I'm insane.
Ritual Six: I must check inside the washing machine and dryer, just to make sure a rapist is not hiding with the laundry. At least twice. Because not only am I insane, but I am also shameful. (You have to watch out for those double-jointed rapists).
Ritual Seven: I debate bringing a knife or other weapon into the bedroom and settle on my keys. Because everyone knows that rapists/burglars are terrified of a woman armed with her keys.
Ritual Eight: I bring my purse into my bedroom. I have no idea why I do this.
Ritual Nine: I inspect the house for thieves, bandits, rapists, vampires, ghouls, anarchists, murderers, terrorists, and highway robbers. I check every closet, every shower, and every large cupboard that is spacious enough to accomodate a midget murderer. I look under the beds and check the closets again. I don't know what I would do if I actually flushed out an intruder. I'd probably just stand frozen to the ground, and they would kill me. I never said my rituals make any sense.
Ritual Ten: I lock myself into the bedroom.
Ritual Eleven: Then I unlock the bedroom doors and repeat Rituals Four, Five and Six because, like I said, I'm insane.
Ritual Twelve: I cycle between Ritual Nine and Rituals Four, Five and Six until I am disgusted with myself. I call myself horrible names and finally, I get into bed and read until I am too exhausted to keep my eyes open.
These are my rituals for nights that I spend alone and this is a major improvement over a year ago. By the time I'm ninety, I may be able to get away with only checking the washing machine only once before bed.
Please note: if you are thinking at this point that my rituals for nights alone exhibit some OCD tendencies ... I would not argue with you.