About a year ago, my neighbors were having a party of some kind. Burgers on the grill, beverages chilling in a child-sized pool filled with ice, a fire in the fire pit. It seemed like a pretty nice get-together. My street was full of unfamiliar cars, their inhabitants either walking toward or already at the party next door.
Except for one guy.
“Hey honey,” my wife called. “There’s a guy walking around our backyard looking kind of confused.”
“That’s strange,” I said. “How can he miss the fact that everyone else is just on the other side of the fence?”
My wife and I were just about to leave our house for the store. Since it was warm out and we avoid using air conditioning when possible, we were just getting on the final layers of our clothing so as to be publicly appropriate when our back door opened. No knock. Just opened.
There was a man in my house. A man who I did not know. The same man who my wife had seen just moments before walking around our backyard.
As the protector of my family faced with a stranger in my house, I was suddenly angry.
“You are in the wrong house,” I said.
The stranger eyed me, swaying slightly.
“Whose house is this?” he asked, suspiciously. I think he thought I was lying.
“This is not the house you are looking for. You are in the wrong house.”
I stepped forward to remove the man and close the door. He turned around and left. And after another trip through out backyard, he found the loud party filled with people next door.
My wife and I looked at each other, both reeling slightly by the intrusion. We now leave our door locked, pretty much all of the time. But especially when our neighbors are having parties.