Saturday, September 09, 2017

Football Counter-Programming 2017: Week 2

Thursday evening, as Sarah and I were driving back from a college visit to Bowling Green, she reminded me of an incident in the past that I thought would be a good subject of this week's Football Counter-Programming post. So, buckle up; turn off that television; put down your depth chart; and let's think about something other than college football--at least for a few minutes.

This happened about four years ago . . .

One evening in the autumn, perhaps about this time of year, when I should have been devising ways to distract you from the overwhelming presence of academic gridiron, I was instead sitting on the couch in our front room, with the television to my right and the houses big front windows directly in front of me.

Dinner was finished, the kitchen was clean, and the kids were taking baths, finishing homework, and whatnot. Lynda was probably opening up her laptop to begin another evening of work. The sun was down and the streetlights were turning on. Windows in the homes of the neighborhood were turned on. It was a normal weeknight. Nothing to see here.

Except . . . directly across the street from me, as I sat look out the window, I could see the neighbor's home looking back at me. And up in the left front window of the second story, a bedroom light was flashing on and off with a familiar rhythm.

flash-flash-flash      flaaaash . . . flaaaash . . . flaaaash     flash-flash-flash

Wait, what?

Look again.

flash-flash-flash      flaaaash . . . flaaaash . . . flaaaash     flash-flash-flash

Yep. That is definitely what I think it is. Check again.

flash-flash-flash      flaaaash . . . flaaaash . . . flaaaash     flash-flash-flash

.Wow. I am absolutely seeing this. But I'd better get someone else's opinion.

"Hey Lynda, come 'ere!"

Lynda comes into the room and asks me what is going on.

"Take a look out the window. What do you see?"

"The neighbor's house. And the windows are on. So?"

"Look again."

"Okay. There is a room light flashing upstairs."

"How is the light flashing?"

flash-flash-flash      flaaaash . . . flaaaash . . . flaaaash     flash-flash-flash

"Oooh. Yeah."

"That IS the SOS flashes, right? dot dot dot     dash  dash  dash   dot dot dot. Right?"

"Yeah. It does look like that. So?"

"So . . . what does it mean? Why would the light in that room be flashing exactly like that? Over and over again? Doesn't that worry you?"

"Well, David, we don't really know those people. They haven't lived there very long and we've never talked to them much at all. I have no idea what it means."

flash-flash-flash      flaaaash . . . flaaaash . . . flaaaash     flash-flash-flash

"Yes, but. That is SO specific and SO obvious. What if someone is actually hurt over there? What if they are actually signalling for help? What should I do?"


After another moment of brief discussion, I decided to call the police. It seems so clear and unusual an event. And I knew that I sat in that exact position on the couch looking out that window night after night. I had never EVER seen this before. If it was typical, I know I would have noticed it. 

This was not typical.

So, abandoning all normality, I called the police. (Remember, as noted above, we're the people that hardly know the neighbors across the street. We aren't the kind of neighbors that are going to get into your business. For good and for bad--live and let live. Sorry.)

I looked up the department number and called. When I was connected, I apologetically explained what I had seen and bent over backwards to say that I had no actual idea if anything was at all wrong. But it seems so odd, and so clear. I would have felt bad if I had done nothing and ignored a real problem. So, sorry again . . . but I thought the police ought to know?

I was thanked for my call. I hung up and waited to see if anything might come of it?


A few minutes later, I saw a police cruiser drive up the street and park in front of the neighbors curb, directly across from my front window. I determinedly stayed in my house and watched from the back of the front room. (Don't want to be standing in the middle of the window, dontcha know?)

I saw the officer walk to the front of the house and knock on the door, maybe ring the bell? His partner walked across the front yard and looked at the side yard. The officer by the door waited. Maybe thirty seconds went by? But the door opened and the officer talked to the neighbor for . . . I don't know how long? It was over pretty quick and then the squad car left.

A few minutes after that, our home phone rang again. The police were calling with a follow up. I was told that when the police inquired, they were told that the flashing light was an automated warning signal on a indoor lamp that flashed when the lamp's bulb was burning out. The indoor lamp was used by the homeowners to grow indoor tomatoes.

!!! ???

Indoor grow lights? For tomatoes? Umm. I'm not the most sophisticated or experienced person you'll ever meet. But even THAT story sounded suspicious to me. But it didn't constitute probably cause for the police, I guess. Because no one was arrested and nothing happened that night.

I've never seen the light flash like that again. And I've sat in that same spot many a night since. Maybe the indoor garden was moved to a different room? Maybe they got on a better schedule with their bulb maintenance? Or maybe everything was exactly as they said and there was absolutely nothing to see there.

But, I wonder?

Until next week, remember . . . no one cares if your star running back was suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the team's drug policy. The first month of the season is always cupcake city anyway.

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