2:29AM text: “I am home safe.  Maybe we can meet next time I am there.”

My German friend was in town for a few days this week on business.  He lives and works in San Francisco right now but Germany is home.  We try to meet up for a drink when he comes out.  This week was tough because of Halloween and bad timing.  I waited at a bar for a little bit hedging my bets he’d get out of his meeting on the earlier side but I was just totally exhausted and had to call it a night.  I was halfway home when he got out of his meeting.  Figured he’d be annoyed with me but he understood.

What struck me with this text is his need to tell me he is back in San Francisco safely.    I don’t know him that well but it’s important to him that someone know where he is.  I imagine with no family in this country and maybe just friends from work, he must occasionally worry that no one would know if something happened to him.  I’m glad he at least has me to text so he can experience someone caring.

I get it.  I have that same feeling every night I go out.  When I get home, there is no one to tell that I am safe.  If something bad happened to me, no one would know.  It would likely take a few days before anyone wondered.   I am someone people might look for every 5 or 6 days.  That’s a horrible feeling.

I have a “proof of life” thing I do on Facebook where I post a funny photo when I get in so my friends know I am ok.  But that only works if I post that I am out to begin with.  I am pretty consistent about doing it when on dates, out at bars, concerts or traveling.  But what about all my errands?  Or simply getting home from work?  No one would know if I didn’t get home safe.

When you live with other people – have connections – then someone knows.  Your husband, your kids, your roommate – they know when you don’t come home.  They worry.  They text you.  They know when to worry and what to do.  They care.  Maybe they care because they want you to make dinner which is displeasing to you.  But if they are hungry, and you are not there, they are prompted to wonder where you are.

For the unconnected, how often do you think about this?  Does it factor into decisions to go out or stay in?  Does it prevent you from traveling?  Does it make you feel lonely?  Or, do you have a plan in place to survive your day so you can get to your empty home?