Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crazy Americans! Now where is it that you left your keys?

OK, so this was in the local newspaper (or something really close to this) about a month after we immigrated here from The Netherlands.

“The Bluffton Sheriff’s department is asking all residents to take their keys out of the car and or close car windows while shopping at the local grocery store (Yes, this would be your local Walmart).”

And I just could NOT stop laughing, I really almost peed my pants while running over to mom and dad to show them this little article on page 4 of the local newspaper!

We really had a hard time believing what we just read so we read it again, and again...


We had already noticed a HUGE difference in “what people do” here, and with here I mean, local Indiana, in the middle of nowhere, county living, RURAL AREA, Indiana. They sure had different methods of leaving their keys somewhere else than what we were used to coming from the Netherlands.

In Holland you need to lock EVERYTHING. This includes: Cars; first of all, lock them with CLOSED windows! Second, hide your CD player, phone, I-pad, kids toys! And do not leave laptops or other important devices in your car because your car will be broken into or (worse) just be plain GONE! Bicycles; have at least two locks, and maybe an extra chain that you can put around your bike and wrap it around a lantern post. You probably will lose your bike anyway to some drunk person who couldn’t find his or her bike and just took yours. Good thing we have HUNDREDS of bikes in Holland… Your wallet; have a big HEAVY chain on it, chained to your jeans otherwise somebody else WILL TAKE IT!

Especially walking in a big city like Amsterdam it would be even smarter to keep your wallet close to your body under lot’s and lot’s of layers of clothes. It WILL be gone before you have even noticed it! Your tractor; yes, in these days even tractors are not safe anymore, they will take them and run them into a big semi and ship them off to different parts of Europe. And finally your house, never ever leave your house unlocked, not even for five minutes to borrow a cup of sugar at your sweet little old lady (that your barely know) neighbor! Your house will be empty by the time you drank her tea and eat the old stale cookies and got back!


Soooo now you know how it works in Holland. Well, this is how it worked in rural Indiana. And maybe you can understand our confusion. And my big “WHY?” Every time I would see something like a running or unlocked car.

People leave their cars running in the winter while they are shopping. “Why???” Because otherwise the car will be cold by the time they get back. People leave their cars running in the summer while they are shopping. “Why???” Because otherwise the car will be hot by the time they get back. To me this sounds like “LAZY” all over, but maybe I’m just looking at it wrong and should I look at it as “SMART”?!? But what if somebody would see you car and drive off with it...

People leave their cars windows down in the summer while they are shopping. “Why???” Because (normally these are the crappier/older cars) they have NO air condition and otherwise the car will get hot while they are shopping… I do have to admit having a older BMW with no air conditioner it was pretty tempting to leave the windows down… And then my CD collection of Matchbox Twenty kicked in and I walked back to my car after walking 10 steps away from it and closed the windows… What if somebody would take my Rob Thomas…

People leave their cars unlocked while shopping. “Why???” I have no idea…. Maybe because it is always a hassle to find your car keys when you are pushing a full cart…? That was the only reason I could think off…. Well... It is pretty annoying to dig out your keys while your cart strolls off into a empty neighboring car that DOES have the engine running…

People have their houses unlocked while they are going on a vacation for THREE WEEKS?!? “Why???” Because they forgot to lock it and they took their keys with them? Maybe? I really didn’t get this one but after a couple of nights laying awake pondering this I came to the conclusion that maybe grandma didn’t have a spare key…


So yes, crazy American’s. Right?!?

To be honest I am a bit torn on this one. One side of me says, “Who is the crazy now?” The Dutchies because they have come too such a sad society they cannot trust anybody anymore and have to lock everything everywhere…  And the other side of me says; The “Crazy Americans”, who just leave everything out in the open and don’t lock a thing, anywhere, because they trust each other to leave the stuff that is yours, yours and the stuff that is mine, mine?!?

I kinda like the idea of not having to lock up your belongings all the time and that you have enough faith in your fellow earthlings that they don’t steal your stuff all the time….

But… I still lock my car…. And our house…. And I still hide my wallet in a special compartment in my handbag…

Crazy me?


...

If you missed the first "Crazy Americans" please check out Crazy Americans & Public Restrooms !

48 comments:

Alica said...

Interesting comparisons! I must admit, I'm one of those "crazy Americans" who doesn't lock the car. Maybe that's mostly because I got stuck one time with a locked car that the key would not open! I had to call my husband and a locksmith to get home from only 2 miles away! :)

Jill said...

This was so funny...and sad...and true! I'm from a small town orginally and we could leave everthing unlocked in my growing up years. Not anymore though. Times have changed. I had no idea things were so rough in Holland. Don't think you're crazy though...the habits of Americans can and do change from town to town, city to city.

Louise said...

In rural American that still happens, but, not in most places, I would guess. I know that, around here, when I was a kid, cars and doors were left open, but, not any more. Now, I even keep my house tightly locked when I'm inside of it. I'm sorry to hear that things are the same in Holland. Sad state of affairs, no matter where you live.

Trisha said...

I have to say I can't imagine not locking my car. Though I have been to towns where people are VERY trusting & its nice to know places like that still exist. But even there....I'd still lock my car :D

Debbie said...

hahaha...we lock everything.

once we sat in our car, on our driveway and realized the keys to the car were locked in the house, with the house key. kinda convenient, right!! at least we were home BUT we couldn't get in the house!!!

long day with a lot of fussing!!

Sandra said...

here in florida we lock every thing, cars and house and anything that can be locked, crime is rampant and it is city or rural. there was a time in the 50's we could leave things unlocked but in the 60's when the drugs went crazy or rather he crazy americans needing drugs went crazy and now we are a nation of fear. i keep my doors locked when i am home. we have home invasions in our city almost a daily thing and also there is never a week day that a bank is not robbed and add in the robbery of the pharmacy's woo hoo

Negerigeletschtempoit said...

I understand your feelings, I think. Back in my country, not only you lock everything, you build a wall around your property - as high as possible - to keep the crooks out. And, you do NOT leave the house alone, even if just to go to the supermarket! And that is terribly sad. Disgusting!!

When I arrived here, and noticed that my husband would go to bed at night leaving the doors unlocked, I almost had a heart attack.

I must say that, as long as we live in the country, we will enjoy the "careful" freedom of not worrying sick (as in my country) that if clothes are left hanging on the wire through the night, they will not be there the next morning!

God bless America - at least, the country side of it. Keep the masses away, please, so we do not have to lock and key the dogs water bowls!

A big hug.

Buttons said...

I am torn on this one also. I love the sense of security of the crazy Americans, I am a Contented Canadian but I lock everything up I learned that lesson no to long ago as you know.
My girls are going to Holland with their Oma soon and now I am terrified of them going to spend those days in Amsterdam. Darn worry.
I think I like it here with my doors unlocked during the day but not anymore at night.
Great post has me thinking. B

Sharon said...

I am a crazy American, I guess. I leave my windows down even when I go to Wal Mart, if the weather is hot. Any fool that would be so desperate as to take my 11 year old car, must need it more than I. I don't lock it in my yard either. I do lock the house when I leave though, and at night.

texwisgirl said...

i wish we could all still be as carefree and let our guards now, but sadly it is less so all the time. :)

LindaG said...

Sad and true. It just shows how sad we have become as a society.
When I was growing up, we never locked the door. Because we all knew you didn't go where you weren't invited.
And you didn't take what didn't belong to you.
I'm sure things were stolen and such then, but still, you just didn't.
And it's still that way in a few parts of the country, but not many.
It's a shame that there are so many people who think it's okay to take what isn't theirs. What they didn't work for or what they have no right to.

Thought filled post though. :)

Terry M Scott (AKA Terry Mann) said...

When I was growing up things generally stayed where they belonged....Today not so much. I lock everything. The roseary hanging from my rear view mirror would probably get swiped if I didn't lock the truck.
My grandson's bike was stolen recently but, he does live in town.

Great story.

Clint said...

Wonderful topic.

There was a time in this fair land when almost no one locked their doors because everyone trusted each other and everyone felt like they were all "in this together".

But twenty years ago, after I had my new car stolen, I got connected to reality and began locking everything.

Then, when I went to Germany a few years back for a 10-day trade show, I found out first hand how incredibly criminal Europeans are. I don't care what country
you are in, they will steal the eyebrows right off your face if you aren't alert. What a world.

Lori Skoog said...

You are not crazy.

ann said...

It is not as safe out in the parking lots as it use to be. People didn't lock their doors car or their house but sad to say times have changed

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Funny post! My husband is fro New Orleans, and you have to lock everything, and I mean *E*V*E*R*Y*T*H*I*N*G* !!!!! Plus, everyone carries a gun, so when you walk into certain restaurants, there are signs that say "Check your gun at the bar."

In Alabama, we are bad to leave our house unlocked, but we are trying to be more cognizant of locking-up because of the economy (more desperate people).

I think both situations (Holland and Indiana) are crazy!

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Julia said...

It's a crazy world out there, I lock my car and my house. I keep purchases in the trunk. Just when you think that your neighborhood is safe, some drug addict needing money will do just about anything to get some cash or merchandise that they can turn into cash for their fix. JB

Debbie @ Swampbilly Ranch said...

I had no idea crime was so prevalent in Holland. We lock a lot more than we used to, but still not everything all the time.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I'm another of those crazy Americans. I only lock my car at the grocery store if I have something valuable in it - which is rarely.

Larkrise garden girl said...

Hi Leontien, When I was a kid my parents never locked the doors but sadly times have changed. I lock my car and always lock everything up. Better safe then sorry.Years ago I had my Suv stolen when I was at work at a hospital.I was so bummed!

Julia said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog Leontien.

Here is the answer your to your question about how I got my tongue stuck to the car handle.

It was winter and it was freezing cold outside. It didn't matter because we were always outdoors playing. It was below 0 ℉ outside and I was looking at my reflection on the shiny car handle. It was an older model car and there was a round knob on the handle that you push with the thumb to open the door. Well I was looking at my reflection and I stuck my tongue out and it was wet of course and it froze stuck instantly on the door knob. As I quickly pulled away a thin layer of skin stayed frozen on the door knob. It really hurt as my tongue was bleeding.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. JB

Ohiofarmgirl said...

crazy all of us! ha! guess where my truck keys are right now! ha ha ha ha ha

when i lived in "civilization" i locked everything. there was an idea that if you got home and your house was open, like wide open doors, that you should call the police because someone was probably in there robbing it!

now. ha! totally different - but i have big dogs and a gate and a fenced property. and mean geese!
;-)

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Wait. Really? I can't get over that people leave their cars running and go in the store...

Kerry said...

Well, depending on where you live, yep you may leave things unlocked, even now in 2011. I guess I really like that.

All the same, I usually lock the car no matter what the weather. I wonder if, even once, that made a difference?

Garden of Egan said...

I never lock anything. House, cars, whatever.
BUT now I'm sure some Creepy McCreeper will steal something. If I'm lucky he'll steal the car.

Such a hilarious post. We have some friends in Sunman, IN.

JJ said...

We moved to Florida from New Hampshire. In NH, We did not even have locks on our doors.

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Funny post! I keep everything locked and always have, but I know a few people that don't. Brave souls, I guess. It really wouldn't be smart to leave anything unlocked in our bigger towns and cities. Maybe the rural areas are safer. I'm not sure of that tho in this day and age.

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troutbirder said...

Times are changing but we still cling to the trusting don't bother to lock mode of the rural midwest. Where I grew up in the big city not so much. :)

That Janie Girl said...

Smart you! We should lock our doors and secure our belongings.

Out on the prairie said...

i have a cabin and keep saying I need to get a key for it, it is open all the time.

Out on the prairie said...

i have a cabin and keep saying I need to get a key for it, it is open all the time.

Susan said...

I don't lock, my husband does though and it drives me nuts. The way I see it is that if someone wants something bad enough they will take get it. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
Wow, you have a real dairy farm! that is so wonderful.I just want one cow.

the cape on the corner said...

wowzers, i had no idea about that and holland. granted, i never lived there, but in visiting last october i got no sense of that. i was thinking, as i walked by these gorgeous pots and plants out front of people's home, that in downtown phila, for example, those things would be gone in no time. now the bike locks, on the other hand-i saw one so huge i took a picture of it, lol.


i'm so glad you stopped by my blog the other day! so nice to meet someone new!

DeeDee said...

Love the pictures. Great commentary, too.

DeeDee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lana said...

Before we added new doors to the house, I don't think I could tell you where the keys to the house were. I still don't have a house key on my key chain (we use the garage door opener to get in). Yeah, we don't lock up too much out here, except now that the tractors and combines are carrying a lot of computer equipment, Tall Guy has gone to locking them if they are "off the farm" for a night.

Saimi said...

It's a fine line, sometimes I lock and sometimes I don't. I guess it depends on where I'm at..

After reading your post, I'll be sure to lock up if and when I ever visit the Netherlands!

Thanks for the tip and for the follow!!

The Tame Lion said...

Basically I lock everything, except my heart and my mind.

Joey said...

hmmm.... It really depends upon where you live. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and we keep EVERYTHING locked, including our gates and windows all of the time, cause you never know.

In the rural area I grew up in, we didn't even have keys to the house, and didn't lock anything, cause if they wanted it bad enough they could have it.

Maybe we are crazy, but I tend to not worry about that. It's just stuff.

Joey

Donna Lovesthe Farm said...

I live in rural Ontario, Canada and we never lock our house unless we go away overnight. We leave our truck keys in it, unlocked in the driveway, although we do lock the truck when we are in town. I guess we are just trusting in our neighbors.
Years ago, my husband and a friend were in Hollywood, CA passing through and decided to stop in a tourist area and see the sights. After many hours, they returned to their van, which was packed with their suitcases and many purchases, and video camera. Neither of them had locked the van, and one of them had actually left the keys hanging in the lock of the door! Despite being in a high-crime area, nobody had taken anything. It may have been a fluke, but I like to think that there are more good people out there than bad.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

I really think we want to trust our neighbors and that they wouldn't do what we wouldn't do.

We don't lock anything out in the country and leave the keys in everything. But we also have 2 big German Shepherds protecting the farm. :)

Love Of Quilts said...

It has become a sad time. We never locked up any thing when I was growing up we slept with our windows open and a fan in them to sleep by. That was so nice. Can not do that now. We are not Crazy Americans...We just have to live with low down people that would kill you for a buck. Its not safe to leave any thing unlocked. Trish

bon bon said...

the doors on my parents' and grandparents' homes, don't even have locks. our does but we rarely lock the side door. (so come on in!) i suppose this all depends on the area where you were raised.

by the way, you're not working very hard to promoting dutch tourism. ha!

Lois Evensen said...

We travel all over the world and have had homes in the USA and Norway. Locking up makes sense for sure, but we've been in neighborhoods where it wasn't necessary. I think it's a sad state of affairs that we have to worry about other people being dishonest, but so goes the world.

Susan said...

Interesting post - opened my eyes a bit!
We used to live in a town where locks were unnecessary. A few years on and times change sadly.

Claire the Shepherdess said...

This was a great post - very funny. I am a "locker" myself, but I grew up mostly in the city. Now I live in the country but I still lock. I can't imagine not doing so.