Friday, July 18, 2008

At a loss

A number of years ago, I shared a three bedroom apartment with two friends I had met in college. Though both of my roommates were heavy sleepers, one really took the cake. On mornings that he had an appointment that could not be missed, I often found myself leaping out of bed in a panic. Only after shaking off the confusion of sleep could I decipher why -- an ear-splitting noise was drilling through my head and into my bones.
No, I was not about to get run over by a truck backing up -- my roommate's alarm was going off (from the other side of the apartment).
But that wasn't it. The alarm would continue to sound with no interruption for the next hour, unless someone intervened. I admit that perhaps I am just sensitive, but according to what I can find on the internet, the noise could have been between 120 - 130 decibels since I could feel pain as a result of it. And it got worse as I walked from my room toward his.

What I would see upon opening his door never ceased to amaze me: my roommate, fast asleep, with his head right next to the offending eardrum enemy from hell. I was at a loss.


Somewhere in our neighborhood, there lived a heroin addict that made his way through life by breaking into apartments, making off with loot, then selling it to folks ("who would never steal" but would happily pay far below what an actual receipt-holding owner's asking price would be).

His MO wasn't elegant, but it got the job done. First, he would ring the front doorbell. If there was no answer, he would knock like crazy, to the point of capturing the attention of neighbors. Still no answer? Then on to step two -- walking around the house to the backdoor, out of neighbors' sight. Step three involved somehow getting the door open. Steps four, five, and six (sweeping through the house collecting loot, exiting the neighborhood with a big bag of booty, and cashing it all in) were the easy parts.


Neighbors reported that this guy yelled and knocked and rang our doorbell like he really needed to reach one of us. What a bluff, huh? To his delight, no one came to the door.

Step two found him climbing the stairs to our back porch. To accomplish step three, the addict had to break the glass on the back door then reach in and turn the knob. Step four started off in my bedroom as it was the first on the left. A laptop, video camera, cash, and several personal items later it was time to root through the next bedroom. Same story here (if you discount the fact that this roommate had much nicer things). One more bedroom to go!


I sometimes try to imagine what thoughts must have gone through the thief's mind when he saw what was behind the door of bedroom number three: my roommate, sprawled on the bed, unmoving. This is the bedroom nearest the front of the house, with three windows facing the street. In fact, one of the windows faced the porch where this thug had raised a ruckus yelling, knocking, and ringing the doorbell.

The police assume the thief took off to avoid waking up my roommate. My theory is that he high tailed it in fear that he might get nailed for more than just theft.


Once again, I was at a loss.

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