I am married to a security-minded guy. The time he takes setting lights on timers to make it look like we’re home sometimes exceeds the amount of time we are gone from home.

Better safe than sorry. Better to have lights turning on and off in different rooms of the house all times of the day and night.

If my security detail sets up the timers a day or two before we leave, I often hear, “Don’t touch that lamp! It’s on a timer!” Or, “Why is there a light on in the kitchen?”

“I just opened the refrigerator!”

We may stumble around trying to pack in the dark the night before we leave, but once we’re gone the place will light up like Times Square.

My role in home security is to unplug the coffeemaker even though our last six have had an auto-off feature.

Security concerns extend to our vehicles as well. The husband habitually double clicks the key fob when we exit the car so the lights flash and the horn honks to signal that it is locked. Nobody pays attention to that kind of thing in the city, but when you are staying in a cottage on a remote, sparsely populated, hard-to-find stretch of rocky coastline, it is a different matter.

We have arrived at our small rented cottage after dark and our host, who lives at the top of a rise in a large house overlooking the cottage, has graciously met us. He shows us around and even offers to help carry in bags from the car. He points out a key hanging by the door, saying nobody around here locks their doors and he doesn’t know that any guests ever used the key.

We say goodnight. Our host walks up the hill towards his house in the pitch dark, when the husband double clicks the key fob just as the host strolls by our car. The car lights flash, the horn honks, the host jumps two feet into the air.

“You don’t think that kind of thing makes us look like we’re up to something?” I ask.

“What would we be up to?”

“I don’t know, but neither do our hosts. They trust us to stay in their cottage, but it looks like we don’t trust them near our car.”

I glance over to where the key has been hanging by the door, untouched for years, and it is gone. One guess who has it in his pocket.

Every time we leave the cottage, security locks the door. Every time we return, we stand at the door as he pats different pockets searching for the key. Meanwhile, neighbours a short distance away breeze in and out of unlocked doors.

We, the security conscious, tend to be a small commotion coming and going, lights flashing, horn honking, piercing the peaceful, rhythmic sound of the tide slapping against the shore.

On the upside, our hosts’ cottage was never more secure or well lit. Old habits die hard.

I wonder if they noticed we left a light on and unplugged their coffeemaker with the auto off feature.

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You can count on it — they’ve got your number

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