Knock, Knock, Who’s There?

There are days when you just don’t want to get up to answer the door, let alone the front gate. You just know it’s going to be some hawker of cheap goods, some religious pitch-person, some scammer after your hoarded gold, so why bother? Or maybe Aunt Hildy with her constant carping about how you owe your (fill in family member name here) better care/money/love/sympathy. And if the only form of defense is the gate and the door, well, keep the shades drawn and the TV off, and enjoy your scotch in peace, right?

Of course, you COULD install a camera and a speaker by the gate. And think of the fun – you know who it is, you can let in folks you want to see, and exclude those you don’t while telling them you have rabies or some such repellent disorder they certainly wish to avoid. And watch the looks of disgust/disbelief/worry/anger cross their faces from a nice comfortable distance. You could even make yourself sound like a recording, which causes its own sort of confusion for the receiver. But there’s the cost, which really isn’t that bad these days, and the message that you are somehow more exclusive and important than the poor saps trying to gain your attention. Though you can always justify it based on those horrible home-invasion movies that make it seem as though we are all under siege all the time.

It helps to remember why you put in that gate in the first place – to define the boundaries, to control who enters, to welcome but equivocate simultaneously. The castle gate is opened for friends, not foes, but must avoid turning one into the other. So consider the cameras and the speakers, but mount them as low-profile as possible. Consider making the area around the front gate as friendly as possible, using landscaping tricks to border the gate with greenery, vines and/or archways for framing (which also make mounting cameras easier, BTW). And if you plan on using a recording for those times when you are really not there, get your dog to bark in the background on the recording – dogs are the best security deterrent you can get. And even on a recording, it sends the right message to the unwelcome, while reminding the welcome that at least someone is home!

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The Gate is Open

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