Last night, for the second time in two years, my apartment was burglarized while I was in the actual apartment. This time was thankfully a little less traumatizing. I got woken up to my roommate knocking at my door: “Peter? Uh, I think we were robbed.” And he was right. Somehow, a crackhead or three made their way up four stories to our terrance and came in to take, among other things: laptops, cameras and cellphones. Luckily, I’ve always been one to sleep near my electronics, and nothing of mine went missing that I was too upset about. It just amazes me that 3 people slept through it, and disturbs in that my apartment now feels like tainted goods.
The first time, which was in what would generally be considered a much safer neighbourhood (The Annex in Toronto.. I live in “Cracktown, Montreal” now), was a lot worse. My roommates were both gone: one in Germany visiting his boyfriend, the other down the street visiting her girlfriend. I had stayed up really late for one reason or another, and was reading in bed when I heard the footsteps of what sounded like a very large person coming up the stairs. It was an above-a-store apartment, with a staircase leading up to it from right off the street. My room was this sort of make-shift bedroom at the very top of the stairs. It had a black curtain over the glass door, and I quickly turned off my bedside lamp when I heard whoever the hell it was coming up the stairs. It wasn’t the boy roommate, as he was overseas. And the girl would not have sounded like that given her petiteness, and rarely left her lesbian love den six blocks east.
For a good 30 seconds (and what felt like an hour), the man stood outside my door, breathing heavily and not really doing much. I didn’t want to make a sound, especially that of dialing 911, so I just waited. When he finally headed to the left, and into the kitchen about 30 feet away (and out of sight of the staircase to outside), I grabbed the only weapon I could find (a can of Pledge), and booted it down the stairs, wearing pajama pants and nothing else. Which would have been okay if it wasn’t February, snowing, and 4:00am.
I called 911, and then sought cover. The Blockbuster downstairs (which had people in it for some reason), would not let me in, ignoring my banging as I assume they figured a disheveled topless man in February was bad news. Finally, two half-drunk college girls saw me and asked me what was wrong. They let me stand in the vestibule of their apartment building and gave me an extremely feminine coat to wear (all i can remember was light blue feathers against my neck, and feeling like a poor man’s drag queen). Which was lovely, but unfortunately put my apartment door out of viewing. I assume the dude heard me run out and left, because by the time the cops got there, he was gone, as was my mp3 player and a bottle of vodka.
Obviously, that could have been a lot worse too. At least no one was hurt and the actual burglary limited. But it was a hell of lot more terrifying than today’s experience (though I wouldnt be saying that today if I were my roommates, one of whom is now laptopless during end-of-school-year madness). I hadn’t thought about that night in a long time until this morning, when that same unique sense of violation found its way into my mind and stayed there all day. So I figured I’d share.
Anyway…. Lock your doors. Even if they are four stories off the ground. And always keep dangerous cleaning products near your bed. Moral of story.