12 November 2006

Law & Order: Drunk Tank

I had to call 911 last night for the first time in my life. At about midnight or 1, I was on the computer when someone tried to get into my front door, not just turning the knob and going, "Oops, it's locked," but shaking it and banging against it really hard. I had just about convinced myself that I had imagined it or it must have been someone having trouble with his lock at a neighboring apartment when I heard someone rattling the doors on our storage sheds in the alley.

I freaked out for a second, then went to check out the front door situation and found that it was my door the person was trying to open, because the door was being held closed by the deadbolt but not the doorknob latch, if that makes sense, so then I freaked out for a little bit longer and hid behind my desk and finally decided even though I couldn't hear anything at the moment to 1) creep into the kitchen for a knife (bizarrely rejecting the 10" chef's knife because it was dirty and choosing a 3" paring knife instead -- apparently, in my moral code, cutting intruders is OK, but cutting them with an oniony knife is just not done) and 2) call 911, because if you're freaked out enough to be hiding in your own house with a knife, you should probably get the police involved.

I was all prepared to be the best. emergency caller. EVER! and collected my thoughts before I called, but then totally puddled up as soon as the nice lady answered the emergency response line. I gave her all the information, and she asked a series of questions including, "Are you hearing the noises now?" and "Are you at home alone?" and, hilariously, "Are you expecting anyone?" which suggests that a not-insignificant number of people call 911 to report the attempted intrusion of, like, their roommates.

Then I hid with my knife some more, passing the time by gauging the likelihood of my being able to leap over the patio wall, should I have to escape out the back door (conclusion: likely to flub wall-vault and become trapped in patio like rat armed with paring knife; should instead attempt to flee through front door). Then I heard the police cruiser pull up and a minor scuffle outside, and one of Tempe's finest came to my door and told me that they had apprehended the guy, who was blind drunk and thought he was trying to get into his house several blocks away, but settled for passing out with his head in one of the water heater closets off the alley. I thanked the nice cop for coming out, and he said, "No problem -- you can call us anytime you need anything," which prompted the excellent mental image of my calling 911 for a magazine or quart of milk.

After the police left, I became strangely paranoid that the drunk would be angry with me for having him carted off to the drunk tank and turn up at my house again, so I could not sleep until I had closed the bedroom door (only a passing nod to added security, as it doesn't lock) and placed a hammer (not knife, for fear I would grab the blade in the middle of the night and find myself fighting off an attacker with hilt of knife held in badly injured hand) and both phones within easy reach of the bed. Needless to say, the drunk did not show up looking for revenge, so everything's fine now.