Journal

What’s out of character for you? Building a timeline.

I try not to add too much content that strays from the photography and handmade nature of the blog, but sometimes I just feel the need to share my thoughts on things going on in the media etc. Or to share things that are important in my life. This is one of those times.

Recently a beautiful teenage girl,  went missing from the southern suburbs of Perth. Her family, friends and the Police acted very quickly because her movements that night were so out of character. Tragically, it was too late to save her, but due to the amount of information they had available, they were able to find her, find evidence,  find the man responsible and get him into court incredibly quickly. I believe it was under 24hrs (I could be mistaken but it was certainly under 36hrs).

It got me thinking about my friends of all ages, not just those younger than me. Do you have a pattern? Would somebody close to you know what was out of character for you and twig when something was wrong?

When I was 15, Perth was gripped with fear as three young ladies (only a few years older than me) had gone missing from Claremont. We now know it as the Claremont serial killings and to this day, the first victim, Sarah has never been found. It terrified my parents (as I’m sure it did everyone elses).

So I started telling people where I was going, who I was with, and how to contact them. I’d leave a note on the fridge, I’d call when I arrived or when I was leaving etc. I’d write down what I was wearing. I even did it when I turned 18 and was off doing my own thing most nights of the week. It might have seemed daggy but it stopped my Mum worrying. On the rare occasions I’d get a taxi, I’d text the numberplate details to someone before I got in (generally speaking I avoid taxis, they freak me out).

From my early teens my parents established a hard and fast rule that no matter what we had done, no matter how bad it was or whatever time of the night it was, we were to call them if there was a problem. We weren’t to feel we’d be in trouble, the important thing was our safety first and it was a rule they extended to our friends. Anyone could call and there would be someone to come get them and a mattress on the floor to crash on. Nobody should be trying to get home alone or unsafely. We were never to get in a car with anyone that had been drinking, taking drugs, was known to speed etc. We were always to call for a lift or stay put until we could get home safely ourselves.

I started to build a pattern. I can’t say I always stuck to it. It scares me when I think about how many times I had strange men over when I lived alone in my twenties. Or how many times I drove alone at night,  tired and low on petrol.

Or running low on phone credit. Since I was 21, I have had a phone on a plan so that I never run out of credit. One reason (apart from a lecture from my Dad) is that if you’re always running out of credit and go hours or days without returning calls or messages, how is anyone going to know if something’s wrong or if you’re just broke again? I’ve memorised important phone numbers and always try to have some change on me. I know how to call reverse charges. In an emergency you shouldn’t just rely on your mobile. You need to consider what you’d do if you didn’t have it. I feel the same about knowing geography of your area or city as opposed to relying on mapbooks and navigation devices.

I’m 30 now, a grown up and I can pretty much do what I like and go where I like. Whilst I don’t call and leave notes for my Mum, I still text or call my husband every time I leave the house and tell him where I am and where I’m going. Some people might think that’s strange or controlling. It’s not, he didn’t ask me to. I just think of it like this –

If I left the house and something happened to me, if I died or had a serious accident, I wouldn’t want him to be wondering or stressing about why I wasn’t at home. I wouldn’t want him torn apart trying to figure out why I was on the other side of the city for example. I would want him to know it was an accident and nothing more.

Or if something happened at home or in our suburb. I could save him much grief. He’d know I was safe, I was at the shops, I was at a friends house etc.

By telling him where I am or when I’m in and out of the house it builds a timeline. It shows my character. If I go missing, he has a starting point. The fact I sent a text or rang leaves a time stamped record (Hey I’ve watched CSI).

At the very least, me being able to send a little text or call and say I love you every day should erase any doubt in his mind if anything ever happened to either of us. It’s a very scary thing, but every time you send a loved one out the door in the morning there’s a chance they won’t come home again.

Think I’m paranoid if you like, but hopefully this post has made you think. Maybe it’s worse case scenario, maybe it’ll save your life one day. I don’t know. I just think telling people you love what you’re doing is a very good idea.

 

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