Sunday, June 28, 2009

To the Dude In My Apartment, Part 2!

Sorry to leave everyone in such suspense. I can see now the error of my ways. Apparently I never told my mother this story so she called me in a little bit of a panic. Don't worry... I refused to tell her what happened. I told her she needed to wait just like everyone else. She scoffed - I said something along the lines of "you better check yourself before you wreck yourself"- she exclaimed "don't hate the player, hate the game"- and then we hung up. I'm sorry Mom. I think we should squash this beef. I forgive you. In honor of this forgiveness I will refrain from typing the next line I was thinking (it was something like "bitches be crazy") and go on with the story.
The hallway where it all went down
So, where did we leave off? Oh yes, I was pissed that there was someone in my apartment. I could hear them in the hallway and I was about to turn the corner to face them. So I turned the corner...
Keep in mind that I am not afraid of whomever I'm about to confront. My adrenaline was pumping big time. In fact, I think I instinctively flexed my muscles or something. Kind of like when dogs and cats get that little stripe on there back when ornery. Either way, I felt somewhat scary although the reality of situation was probably quite different.
...and there he was. He wasn't a big dude. In fact, he wasn't initially threatening at all. He was wearing what I call "Summer Jeans" (baggy khaki cargo shorts), flip flops and a backwards hat. If he was there to kill/rob/rape me he was wearing the absolute best disguise ever. As soon as I took a good look at him I yelled (in my deepest voice (which is sadly not deep at all)) "Get The Fuck Out Of Here!" and he was obviously freaked out. Considering it was pitch dark inside the apartment and his eyes weren't likely adjusted I would suspect he couldn't see me. He gave a little startled jump and then immediately started towards the door. I took a step towards him and he said, "Oh, I'm sorry man... I'm sorry!" and ran out, closing the door behind him. I followed him to the door and locked it now fully aware of the absurdity that just had occurred.
I walked back down the hallway and looked around my apartment for any other prowlers that might be ready for me to yell at them and noticed Oscar sleeping in bed. Yep, that little punk who was so nice to have alerted me to the situation didn't think it was important enough to come be a badass with me. Imagine my young intruder's fright if a mostly naked man yelling at him was accompanied by a medium-sized, slightly intimidating dog who's only wish was to jump on him and awkwardly smell his crotch. Wait, I made it clear there that it would be Oscar doing the crotch smelling, right? Anyway, I can't say I blame Oscar for sleeping through the confrontation. He could probably smell the Hollister cologne on the dude from a mile away.
At first I thought there was no way I could get to sleep again after the excitement, but due to the non-scary nature of what went down it really only took me 15 minutes of figuring out how he got in. There were only two options... Either I didn't lock the door or he had a key. I got the locks changed the next day of course.
For a while I thought that the key thing was the likely scenario, but it wasn't a week later, still cautious about the whole person in my house thing, that I was headed to bed and thought it would be smart to check the front door for proper lockage. I even almost disregarded my better judgement, but finally relented and checked the door. To my shock it was unlocked. I couldn't even imagine a reason why I wouldn't have locked it the last time I walked Oscar but there it was. While I felt like a complete idiot it also left me a bit comforted. It was a stupid mistake on my part that allowed this to happen. I could live with that.
And now, a message to my very first intruder if he should ever find this blog:
Hi! I hope this post finds you well. I just wanted to say thank you for the great story you left me with. I honestly don't know what you were doing in my apartment but I have a few guesses. The most popular guess seems to be that you were drunk and went into the wrong door. The other guesses usually start with you looking for a place to crash and end with "wouldn't it be funny if you woke up in the morning and the dude was on your couch." I usually say, "yes that's funny", but secretly don't think so. My personal theory is that you were here looking for the suburbs. They're that way, buddy. If you're ever back in Soulard please don't hesitate to knock. I'll likely be much more clothed and hospitable.
Your Possible Friend,
Jim Barnthouse
Arch Observer


Anonymous said...

Ok, first thanks for the update! I was about to give up trolling your blog, but you graced us with the second half of what I consider a very big deal actually.

Before commenting on that, I will tell you why a NYer trolls your blog. I love NY, but for too many reasons to go into here, I've been considering moving somewhere else. It's kind of a "I hit 30, now what," kind of thing... Anyway, I stumbled upon your blog and one thing caught my eye-you went to a Matt & Kim concert. I figured you must have a somewhat interesting perspective on STL. Then I said, "Whoa! One can actually get a ticket to a Matt & Kim concert in STL, this is interesting." So, I've followed your trials and errors in making STL your home.

Until your last post, I was all excited and stuff to visit this summer. Then wham-o, the "someone invaded my loft" post hit and now I'm a little shaken. I've gotten used to the secure feeling of living in NY. Did I just say that? Yep. NY is supposedly at 1931 levels of crime, according to Bloomberg. True or not, I've never felt unsafe, never see anything weird or sketchy. Rarely see derelict people. I experienced much sketchier things in STL and Chicago prior to NY than I ever have here. I've come to take it for granted.

So, hearing that someone walked into your apt-for whatever reason-is freaky. The fact that you actually blame yourself, "oh, I left my door unlocked," is a crazy mentality that you've come to accept, the inevitability...leaving door unlocked=inviting trouble. The fact that nothing happened doesn't, at least in my mind, make it any less of a big deal. I mean wtf was this guy doing there? Checking out your door being locked or not? I don't's just not something I would be looking forward to dealing with after the relative safety I live under now.

Your story, coupled with a crazy River Front Times article about increase of crime due to Metrolink (something I laughed at Ladue people for claiming would happen 10 yrs ago) and STL being ranked as one of the top crime cities (yes, yes I know about the statistics being corrupted) has given me lots to think about.

Jim Barnthouse said...

Hi Anonymous,

I see where you're coming from for sure, but keep in mind that where I chose to live in St Louis is an extremely active area with many drunk people walking around at any time. It's slightly akin to living on Bourbon St. Go a few blocks away from all the action and even Soulard is a fairly quiet neighborhood. Add that to the fact that from the outside my building looks like a warehouse or factory of some sort. What I'm saying is I don't think the guy had any idea he was entering a place where someone lives.
That said, there are plenty of unsafe areas in St Louis and even Soulard is considered too unsafe by some (especially people who are more accustomed to the suburbs). While there are many areas I would never consider living or even walking through for that matter here in St Louis, I rarely ever feel threatened or uncomfortable in Soulard. And I walk my dog at 2 in the morning all the time. of course, some may disagree. I think it all has to do with your level of comfortableness.
Any new place you find yourself in gives you a sense of the unknown lurking around every corner. Living there for a while whether anyone else would consider it safe or not gives you a level of complacency, I think.
As for blaming myself, yes, I blame myself for how the guy got in. Not for the fact the guy entered in the first place. My guess, is that he had just left one of the 3:00 bars down the street and was looking for a place to crash or even though it was his door in this apartment building. I haven't ruled out that it was someone who lives here.
If you're looking for a place to visit, there are plenty of things to see and do in St Louis that are perfectly safe to do. If you are looking for a place to possibly live, I would visit a few times and have someone show you the areas at night and day so you can get a sense of what they are like. It sounds like you might be more into an area like Clayton rather than Downtown proper but I think it's all relative.
I have a feeling your comment may spark a bit of a discussion here so thanks for that! And thanks for trolling the blog. NYers are always welcome. Let me know if you ever make it out here. I'd be happy to show you around. I love showing off what St Louis has to offer. I, for one, love it and feel perfectly safe.

Angie said...

bahahaha that is insane!!! Thank goodness nothing bad happened. Now you have an awesome story to tell. Cheers!

Jenn said...

Oh Jim - even though I knew the conclusion of the story, I was waiting for this post.

To Anon - I've lived in the StL area my whole life, though mostly on the IL side. Jim's right - there are numerous places in the StL area that I wouldn't live, but aren't there those areas in every city? I think Soulard is a pretty safe area - I run there alone, usually at 5:30am, early evening, and even late evenings, and I've never felt scared or threatened.

I'd venture to guess that the Dude in the apartment was a drunk 20something that thought he was going into his friend's apt or even possibly his own, or like Jim said, didn't even realize it was an apartment.

Even though I'm looking to move out of StL, it really is a great city and a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I will always call it home.

jessica said...

i'm terrified of living alone for precisely this reason.
i'm fairly sure an intruder would not be at all intimiated by me.
not that 2 girls makes much of a difference..i just somehow feel safer

way to scare me, btw. i was just thinking of looking at some places in soulard!

Jim Barnthouse said...

I wouldn't worry about it Jess. I think it was a harmless mistake. I think you should at least check the area out. Nothing like living in the city! Always something to do!

Keep in mind you can also get a dude roommate. They have those. ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Possible Friend:

Please accept my sincere apologies. I did not mean to startle you. I just thought it might be a good time to get to know each other and maybe watch Friends episodes or Sleepless in Seattle.

I assumed an unlocked door was an open invite. I had Blvd. Wheat beer, so I thought it would be cool.

So strange, I had a similar thing happen just the other day, but when I arrived I met some dude named Chris Hansen.

Well friend, I'll see you real soon...and maybe you'll see me...

Jim Barnthouse said...

Wow... Your post is the epitome of what I think it would have been like if Michael Jackson was my intruder. On the one hand no one likes dead guys in their apartment... On the other, they are carrying Bully Wheat. I can't choose.

Brooke said...

i was just relieved it was an intruder and not a ghostly encounter. I've been watching way too much BIO channel.

your story is why i always have to have my butt covered, literally, under a comforter when sleeping. i'm so afraid an intruder will come in and....look at my butt. is that wierd?

Unknown said...

hahaha Jim you rock. I thought "To the Dude In My Apartment" was an ode to Oscar...great writing, good fun.

Your fan(s)in Bangkok.