Last Saturday night I got home at about 10:30. My parents were asleep, of course, because they have the sleeping schedule of an 8/90-year old. I locked the front door behind me, turned off the Christmas lights, turned off the porch light, and walked downstairs to my room. Normal. I waste an hour or so wandering Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter. Then I cross the hall to brush my teeth. As I walk back to my room, I glance down the hallway towards the bedroom and wood shop at the end of the hall and notice the light is on underneath the door of the shop. I go back into my room and pin some more pictures. Then it hits me how weird it is that the shop light is on. No one uses the shop. No one but me is awake. It wasn't on when I first came downstairs, was it? The shop has a door to our backyard, so it's a perfect point of entry for intruders. I grab a heavy glass vase and stand at my bedroom door for five minutes working up the courage to investigate. I look down the hallway and the light is still on in the shop. No way in H am I going to open the shop door, so instead I investigate the rest of the house for suspicious behavior. I slowly walk through each room quickly flipping on light switches and raising my glass vase. No one. All valuables still in place. All doors locked. Someone must have left the light on earlier in the day. Then. As I'm walking back to my room, I look down the hallway and now the light under the door has been dampened, but I can still see light around the frame of the door. Like someone heard me go upstairs and put a towel under the door to block the light. There has to be someone in there.
It's passed midnight now. Maybe one of my parents is doing some midnight wrapping and they don't want me to know? Maybe it's a homeless person who found their way into our house for the night? Maybe it's a band of thieves waiting for the house to go silent before they steal everything? Most likely it's a murderer. They're here to kill me. Or maybe my parents. Maybe they have already killed my parents and they're disposing of the bodies in the shop Dexter-style. I put my ear to the wall of my room, which shares a wall with the shop, and listen for movements. Nothing. They're good. I pace my room. This cannot be ignored. I must open that door. I look around my room for something to protect my vital organs in case they shoot. Nothing! Where is a bullet proof vest when I need one? I have a dish set, but I'm pretty sure that if they shot me while holding a plate over my heart, the pieces of plate shattered by the bullet would act as shrapnel and cause more harm. I keep thinking. Maybe I could talk them out of shooting. Grey's Anatomy has taught me that murderers are less likely to shoot if they know personal information about you. I rehearse. My name is Kristin Lowe, I have six brothers and sisters, I broke my left arm falling out of the tree right outside that window, I have cancer. Apparently lies come more quickly than truth when I'm under pressure. I can't go through that door.
Instead, I text my parents asking if someone is in the shop. Maybe they have their phones next to their bed. I'm hoping that one of them will text back something like "Oh yeah, it's just me doing some nightly work in the shop in complete silence, and I accidentally flung a towel at the door." But no response. At this point, I have only two options: I must open the shop door or I must wake my parents. I decide to wake my parents. (Yes, I know I'm 25, but I'm not made of steel. I'm no Temperance Brennan.) I open my parents' door and both of them are sleeping, ruling out a Dexter-style double murder, but also confirming that it must, in fact, be an intruder in the shop. I wake my mom and tell her I think there's someone downstairs. I explain about the light under the door and my towel theory. My dad jumps into action, goes downstairs and opens the shop door quickly to catch them off guard.
He checks behind all the tools, checks to make sure the door is still locked. No one is there. And boy do I feel silly. But the light under the door? The towel! There is no explanation.