Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why I Should Have a 24-Hour Camera Crew Following Me

I didn't start the day out with the intention of committing breaking and entering.

And yet? And yet...

I volunteered to pick up a friend of mine from an overnight hospital stay, and she asked me to run by her place to pick up a change of clothes for her. She thought her front door was going to be unlocked, but when I got there, I discovered that it was locked up tight. I gave my friend a call to ask for advice, and she invited me to engage in, shall we say, unconventional means to get inside.

"How do you feel about a little larceny?" she asked.

"Um..." I replied.

"Just keep me on the phone and you'll be fine," she assured me.

As I walked around the house, I couldn't find any ways in. But then I found an open window into the dining room. I was able to pop up the screen and crank the window mostly open. The only problem was that the sill of the window was at about eye level, and there was a basement window well immediately below it, and with the way the window opened out, there was no hope of a running leap to get me through and safely inside.

Luckily, my breaking-and-entering angels were working overtime, and I found the bottom two rungs of a metal ladder* in the yard next door. I'd have preferred three rungs, but whattayagonnado? So I put the phone on speaker, and stepped on the mini-ladder up and over the basement window well, close enough to the window to make a go of it.

As both of you, my loyal readers, may have deduced, I am not the most spry of 35-year-old men. Jack B. Nimble, I am not. However, my friend's exhortations through the phone and the thrill of adventure spurred me on, despite the clearly obvious fact that the window opening wasn't exactly Scott-sized.

But I was committed, so with a quick prayer to St. Nicholas to protect me (from myself), I hoisted my heft up onto the sill. In an instant -- that one shining, hanging moment in time, when you can see everything, all at once -- I knew that I was screwed.

While pulling myself into the window sideways (the only way I was going to fit since I can't suck in my shoulders, but I can suck in other parts of me), I had used the ladder as a lever. When my second foot left the ladder, it accidentally kicked it onto the grass. There was no turning back.

But that wasn't all -- I was also stuck on something. That is to say, once I got the top half of my body in through the window (with the bottom half still hanging out), I wasn't able simply to fall to the floor inside; rather, my shirt AND jeans were both stuck on part of the window-inning-and-outing mechanism. While this was alarming to me, it seemed even more troubling to my friend on the phone, who was apparently hearing noises coming out of me that sounded more like annoyed grunts and, possibly, massive-head-wound-victim noises than the articulate noises of determination that my brain thought I was making.

About this time, I had the idea to kick my legs up as high as they would go, to see if that would help dislodge me. It did not help dislodge me. But I imagine it made for a hilarious picture: a pair of grown-man legs hanging out a first-floor window at a 45-degree angle from horizontal, desperately kicking in a spastic manner. I believe it is at this point, during the vigorous yet futile kicking, that I bruised up the side of my torso that I was resting on. I now have a boo-boo about the size of a window sill on my right side.

Though I did not dislodge immediately, after a few seconds I did hear something -- a slow, low ripping noise which I assumed was either my clothing giving way or my intestines being torn out. You know, one or the other; either meant a blessed end to the escapade. But fortunately for me, it was the former, and though I pretty well mangled a pair of jeans and a nice dress shirt, the ripping was enough to get me further into the house safely.

Above: Why you don't dress nicely to a break-in.
PRO TIP: Try to get one of your dad's old dress shirts to wear as a smock next time you're breaking in somewhere.

So, with my breaking successfully broken and my entering successfully entered, it was time to gather up the clothes I'd been assigned to collect and head up to the hospital to gather up and collect my friend.

There was a tense moment when a police car followed me for about three miles on the way to the hospital, but as it passed me, I let out a sigh of relief, said another prayer to St. Nicholas, and checked off "Cat Burglar" from the List of Jobs I Should Never Be Allowed to Consider.

* What? I know. The guys are doing some renovation on the house next door to my friend, and propped up against the Dumpster was this metal ladder-amputee-looking thing -- like they took a ladder and just cut it off two rungs from the bottom. 'Twas my lucky day.


julmille said...

You win... the closest I can come was breaking into my own house through the bedroom window, with only some dirt on my clothes.

Scott S. Semester said...

After careful consideration, I've determined that if I ever have to break into the condo here, I'm out of luck. Something's getting SERIOUSLY broken, because there's really no other way in.

Which, in a way, is good, because my breaking and entering my friend's house was WAY TOO EASY for a chubby white kid from the 'burbs. Right or wrong, I feel a bit more secure here in the condo, break-in-wise.

K.T. said...

I once had to break into my house in Bloomington. I had bruises across my body in lines where I had rested across the metal window sill. Mine wasn't quite as high as the one you had to deal with, and definitely had no window well in front of it...but I was really mad at the roommate who had locked me out. Especially when I had left a note taped to the door asking specifically that they not do that.

For your bruises, I recommend alternating heat and cold.

For your friend, I recommend a security alarm.

jss said...

This gets my vote as funniest post yet! Sorry if it wasn't meant to be, but I was LMAO! Oh, and keeping your friend on the line is not likely to appease the policeman's curiosity and suspicions about your felonious activities. *In an Irish accent, twirling a nightstick* "Oh, you've got the homeowner on the line there, do ya? Suuuure ya do...." :-) Glad you're ok and didn't get locked up.

Clifton said...

Scott, do your parents read your blog? Do they have good strong hearts?

Scott S. Semester said...

JJ -- That's hilarious! I'm picturing Sgt. O'Hara from "Batman" and his overly-Oirish accent. Awesome.

Clif -- Yes, they do read the blog, and yes, they do have strong hearts. (Luckily!)

jss said...

I could only hope to catch a burglar who's stuck hanging half-in/half-out of a window. I don't know if I could do it without laughing hysterically though. I can hear the radio traffic - "Seriously guys, you gotta hurry up over here to see this!!! You're not gonna believe it!"

Scott S. Semester said...

JJ -- The visual alone (and the accompanying story) was worth the humiliation...although I must say that I am glad the humiliation did not include a trip to Central Booking.

I do not think I would fare well in the Big House.