Sunday, July 10, 2011

The South Street Rule

After I mentioned the scary basement (with its aptly-named trap door) in my last post, a couple of folks reminded me that I should take my cell phone with me just in case the door slams shut while I'm down there in the basement.  I always take my cell phone to the basement with me, but it occurs to me that I might've forgotten to tell y'all exactly why I do that.  (Aside from the obvious fear of entrapment.)

I take my phone with me everywhere because of the South Street Rule.

The South Street Rule:  If you are alone in your old house and you will be standing on a ladder, climbing atop a chair or countertop or some such thing, going down to the basement, going up to the attic, running up or down steep stairs, playing with electricity, or doing anything at all which might possibly in someone's wildest imagination cause you to be injured, carry a phone with you at all times.

The South Street Rule, Abundance of Caution Clause:  Before engaging in any potentially injurious activities, call a neighbor and tell them what you will be doing, where in the house you will be, and what time you expect to be finished.  Call the neighbor again when you are finished to sound the all-clear.  If you fail to call said neighbor or answer the phone within a reasonable time frame, said neighbor has the right to kick in your door (if necessary) to ascertain your level of health and welfare.

This rule was enacted a decade or so ago in my neighborhood because a little old lady who lived all alone took a tumble off a ladder, badly broke her leg, and laid there on the floor in pain for over 24 hours until one of her friends, having not heard from her in awhile, went to her house and discovered her injury.  Since then, many other calamitous things have occurred--among them, the seat of a cane-bottomed chair gave way while Carl was standing on it, Katherine whacked her head on a heat duct in her attic, Mary fell down the stairs (twice), I pitched off a ladder, a storm window fell on me, I hit myself in the face with a prybar--and in every instance, help was there almost immediately.

The South Street Rule.  Reason #3,287,491 why I love my neighborhood.


  1. When I was a rural mail carrier I watched after my elderly people. If they left mail in their box from the previous day I'd knock on their door and check on them.

    I guess I should have added any person living alone to that list.

  2. I use this rule of contacting a friend when doing craigslist case I disappear while transacting a $12 chandelier or $5 1910 toilet paper holder. How you use it is excellent! I will plan to call my neighbor when I am doing house stuff with questionable safety. Thanks for this. And, your neighborhood sounds wonderful.