Michaela Merz

Uninvited guest

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My friend Cathy is American. She received a job offer in Switzerland to which she could not resist. Now it has been living here for one year, fell in love with Switzerland and is busy learning German. As a very systematic lawyer she is progressing well with the language.

She rented a shockingly expensive maisonette with a fantastic view. Her house parties are much sought-after.

Her flat has two entrances, one via the lift and the other from the stair case. Since she lives on the top floor under the flat roof, she exclusively uses the lift to get to her flat. When she arrived at home she noted that the door was open. She was annoyed about her cleaning lady but that was it. One week later her neighbour approached her. “Cathy, you need to close your door better. It was open and I closed it.” Cathy was puzzled and immediately called the cleaning lady. The cleaning lady swore at the life of her children that every time she leaves the flat she makes sure twice that the windows and doors are closed.

Cathy was pondering but had no explanation and forgot the entire thing again. On Saturday she found two empty beer cans on her terrace. Cathy is not drinking beer and the last party took place three weeks ago. Those could not be the remnants of the party. And she definitely did not buy this beer herself.

Yesterday she came home and her entrance door was once again open. Cathy went straight away to the police. She was sure that someone else had keys to her flat. Cathy told that the policy only reluctantly accepted her charges. Nothing was lost, nothing was damaged, no violence used. Cathy had the feeling that they did not believe her and that they thought her a hysteric American. She said that most likely they would have been more sympathetic and understanding if she would have reported all of her jewellery stolen.

Cathy changed her keys as well as all of her passwords. But she did not feel save in her flat any more. Or how you would have felt if a stranger had used your flat while you were away? Cathy found a radical solution. Her new flat is less spectacular, almost plain. But Cathy can sleep well again.

One can live with uncomfortable safety but insecurity is hard to live with. I understand Cathy well.

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