[As if readers of this blog needed more proof of my stupidity, here’s more evidence. Clearly, I could place “what not to do” on most of my posts, but this is more glaring than the rest.]
I was having a bad dream, which is not to be confused with the parts of my life involving cystic fibrosis. This one happened while I was sleeping and woke me up at 2:30 a.m. I’d also been fighting a virus all week and my body temperature was screwed up, which made me feel more discombobulated at that hour (building the excuse for my idiot behavior right now).
As I am the most paranoid guy in the world, I looked out the window of the front door on my way to the bathroom, as I always do, and noticed a white SUV in front of our house. Double take, it’s really there and the door is open.
Unfortunately, I’d been too lazy to replace the bulbs in the fixtures near our garage because I would need to find the step-stool, and because the light fixtures are a pain in the arse to unscrew and there are spiders in them and I didn’t have bulbs and hadn’t gone to Home Depot to buy any because even though I’ve passed the store 50 times in the last two weeks, I was too lazy pull into their parking lot, get out of my car, lock my car, walk into the store, find the bulbs, pay for them, get in my car, drive home and find the step-stool.
So, the driveway was darker than it should have been thanks to me, creating the perfect environment for thieving scumbags to go to work. Oh, and I didn’t have my eyeglasses on either.
So, I moved to the bathroom window to get a different view and I saw someone standing next to my wife’s car with an object in their hand – a tire iron? I don’t know what it was. All I know is after all the years of people stealing shit off of my car at night, I was pissed. A spark ignited in my brain, or what there is of one, and any chance of rational thought fled it as I walked with pace to the front door.
I didn’t disable the house alarm when I opened the door because I wanted the high-pitched squeal of the 30-second countdown to start in case one of them came running at me and I had to shut the door in a hurry. I can’t hear the sound anyway thanks to years of IV tobramycin, but I figured they would hear it loud and clear in the dead quiet of night.
I opened the door and in what my daughter would call my “big voice,” I yelled “Hey you guys, get away from that stuff.”
I had to confirm this is what I said with my wife at least a dozen times because I couldn’t remember and I thought I must have yelled something like “get away from that car, low-life scum, before I come out there and rip your bowels out of your throat” or something cool like that.
But no, I didn’t say that. I said “you guys.” Not “you scum sucking criminals’ or “demon-spawn from hell car thieves.” No, instead I said, “you guys.”
Oh, and by the way, while I was using my big voice, my wife disabled the alarm because I’m always activating it by accident, which she thought I did again, unaware I was having a conversation with criminals.
At about the time I opened it door and yelled, it occurred to me at the very second the words left my mouth that I was yelling at exactly the kind of people in Los Angeles who worship and carry guns. The kind who probably don’t like being told what to do in a loud voice.
And there I was standing in my t-shirt and J. Crew boxer shorts covered in a charming “carrots and leeks” pattern (picture included) in the glowing light of the porch.
Could there be a more perfect and easy-to-shoot idiot in the history of targets?
I’m a lucky idiot because the perps ran to their SUV like the vermin they are and pulled a U-Turn in front of our house as my wife and stood in the doorway watching like dopes – defiant dopes – providing yet another possible double-homicide, target-shooting opportunity for the crooks, and headlines for tomorrow’s newspaper, with our daughter growing up parent-less.
And though I was calm during the incident, after I shut the door I was wound about my stupidity and it took me two hours of replaying my missteps before I could go to sleep.
Now the hindsight part of the story.
Though everything turned out okay, I’ve been flogging myself daily for not calling the police as the criminals did whatever they were going to do, which is a mystery still stuck in my mind and a question I can’t answer for friends who hear the story. What did I really see in the street-light dim of night?
I would have loved for the police to catch these guys. I love stories like that. But I blew it. I blew it. I let my anger overcome my rational thoughts and even endangered my family by opening the door, a key defense (the sound you hear right now is the whip hitting my back).
Though I may have saved the $500 deductible for my car insurance, it cost me almost a grand to have an electrician, locksmith and our alarm company come to the house on Friday. We now have new motion detector lights around the house, stronger locks in the doors, and a soon to be upgraded alarm with a panic button for my wife when I’m not home – and a different tone control panel I can hear when I am home.
Oh, and I did drive to Home Depot to buy five bucks worth of light bulbs. And I did take out the step-stool and climb up to unscrew the tops of the light fixtures to reach in past the spiders and cobwebs to unscrew the bulbs and replace them, which had they been replaced may have stopped all of this from happening by causing the criminals to go to a different house with a different idiot lording over it.
The silver lining: when I’ve away, I’ll feel a better with my wife daughter at home with improved security. But I’m not done yet. Soon to be installed: a fence or wall. A good fence may make for good neighbors, Mr. Frost, but an electrical one with barbed wire makes for a big FU to criminals when they’re flat on their backs unconscious waiting for the police to scrape their electrocuted, bloody bodies from the sidewalk.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. This is a lesson is what not to do when criminals pick your house to rob. Call the police. They like to catch bad guys. Unless you own complete body Kevlar®, of course, which means you can walk right up to them and beat them with your flail, which would feel pretty satisfying.