Home Invasion; a true story

Last night, someone tried to break into our house.


It was scary at the time, but now it makes me chuckle.


It goes like this.

We were in bed and asleep, at around 1:10 am at night. It was in the early hours of March 18th, which means revelers from St. Patrick’s day were just straggling in. A fact unknown to us, as we’re pretty serious home-bodies, but still important to our story.

My wife heard a strange sound coming from the living room, and got up to investigate. I woke up from her leaving the bed, but I was just barely awake. Suddenly she exclaimed, “Oh my god, Eric! Someone is trying to break into our house!”

That got me up in a hurry. I put on my glasses, and made my way quickly to the front door. Sure enough, someone was trying to use a key to open the door.  I could hear the sound from the bedroom, but thought it was the cat playing with a toy or something (remember, I was sound asleep). Since I had launched the cat getting out of bed, it was obviously not her.

I slapped my flat palm into the door with a huge boom. (try it. Its quite loud, especially on the other side if it’s unexpected) Then I yelled, “What the fuck are doing?”

“Trying to get in,” came the matter of fact voice from the other side.

“Get the fuck out of here. This is not your house,” I yelled back.

“I just wanna get in,” said the voice.

“I’m calling the cops!” I yelled.

At this point I turned to Teri and told her to call the police.

“Should I dial 9-1-1?” she asked.

“Yes! Call 9-1-1. Hurry!”

I went back to our bedroom, put on socks and shoes, and grabbed a short baseball bat we keep handy for such occasions. It was then that I noticed our son was still asleep. Huh?

By this time my heart was pounding from the adrenalin, and I head Teri say that her legs were shaking.

When I got the bat, Teri said, “He’s moved to the back. Oh my God, he’s at the back door.” She was totally shocked. She had turned on the back porch light, and was still talking to the 9-1-1 operator, when the stranger started trying his key on the back door.

Now the back door has a large window on the upper half (four big panes) which was covered by a pull down shade. The doorway opens into a small utility room where we keep our washer and dryer. The entrance is so small that there is only about a 4″ gap between the opening door, and the washer. Clearly not enough room to swing a bat with any force, and the windows on the door mean  any one who seriously wants to get it, can simply break the glass, reach through, and unlock the door from the inside.

Knowing I didn’t have much time, I decided to pull back the shade slightly, and see who it was.

There on the other side of my back door was my neighbor Greg. He was hunched over, trying to work the lock (a futile effort, as the door lock is damaged, and will not open even with the proper key), but the light was on, and I know him well. The first thing I noticed was that he had blood on his face from a cut over one eye, and his lip on that same side was swollen. There were two wide rivulets of partially dried blood down the right side of his face. One on the nose, and the other passing just under the eye. Probably he had taken a couple of left jabs to the face. He didn’t slur his words, and he did not weave when he walked, but he must have been blind drunk. Hell, our front door is nothing like his (it even faces a different direction), and the path to the back door is also VERY different. I don’t know how he could have mistaken the two. Somehow, he did.

Feeling relieved, I told him to go around to the front, then I turned around, went out the front door, and walked the side of the house to meet him. There I met up with Greg roommate, Jade, who had been awakened by the slapping of the door, and came out to investigate. By this time a police helicopter had arrived, and was circling the house with its spotlight on. Jade and I got Greg into his house, and then we waived at the police helicopter to let them know we were okay. Teri came out, and I told her to call the cops and let them know we were okay. She called 9-1-1 and told them the scoop (they actually thanked her). The helicopter flew off almost as soon as she hung up.

Altogether it was only about 5-6 minutes from the time she heard the noise, until the police helicopter flew away. It took us an hour to go back to sleep after all that fear and adrenalin. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

The next day (this morning) Greg came over to apologize.  Actually, Jade had to tell him to, as he didn’t remember a thing.

Meeting people on the Metro

To get to work, I usually ride the subway, and bus lines. In LA these are collectively run by the Metro. It’s an interesting way to travel, offers less stress, and a decent amount of reading time, is skateboard friendly, and allows one, on the odd occasion, a chance to meet interesting people.

Tonight, riding how late, I met a gentlemen from Japan named Ken. Ken is a videographer working around town, and happened to be on his way to the bus station in downtown LA to take the bus to Mexico for a vacation. We had a laugh waiting for the subway talking about our careers and our education. He has a university degree in zen, yet works in video. I have a degree in history, but work in photoshop.

It was one of those fun little international moments one tumbles upon when you find a kindred spirit who happens to hail from another side of the planet. Ken had a pretty good grasp of English, but there was still some pretty clear language barriers.

Which was funny, because while Ken and I were talking, a gentlemen named Mike came up, and started talking to Ken in Japanese. Mike had purchased Rosetta Stone, and really loved it. Judging by his success, it apparently served him well.

Mike and I took the train in the valley, and had a fun conversation ourselves. Mike did some time in the Navy (as a diver, which is a type of special forces), but was now back in school studying genetics. He claimed that the U.S. is really behind Japan, and Germany, when it comes to genetics, so the only way to get a serious education was to go abroad. Hence the purchase of Rosetta Stone. I guess he’ll be in Japan next year going to University. I wish him luck.

Pixelectomy. YellowJacket design by Antbag.