Perhaps it’s odd that I still have a house key to my ex’s place, and even odder that when he goes on vacation I check on the house, and look after his kids’ hamsters… but he’s a friend, and it’s not really a big deal. So this past winter when he went to Jamaica, I wished him Bonne Voyage, and didn’t ask for a lot of details – it seemed like a simple gig.
On the first night, I pulled into the driveway, hopped out of my truck and unlocked the back door. The alarm began to beep, and it was not until I was face to face with the panel, it occurred to me that it has been about a year since I punched in that code, and my mind was completely blank. I tried one. The alarm kept beeping. I tried another…still the little red light glared at me threatening. Sixty seconds of terror… I knew what was about to happen. I was certain I had the first two digits right, but for the life of me the other two were missing somewhere in the depths of my memory. The alarm began to scream. Poor hamsters were probably wondering what the hell was with all the racket.
My mind is racing, and I am pissed at myself, for not remembering. And not asking! DAMNIT! How am I going to explain this?? “Good evening Officer. It’s cool- this is my ex-boyfriend’s house.” ??? Yeah. Cuz that sounds awesome. I rack my brains knowing I can’t call him. Maybe there is a chance he is on facebook!? Feverishly I type the first words that come to my mind: “FUCK!” “I just set off your alarm…I’m retarded. Code!?!?” … Yeah right. Cuz in Jamaica he’s totally sitting on Facebook. Who else can I call?? Who would know? Julie. Julie “the ex-wife.” Coincidentally I’ve known her longer than I have known him, but this still certainly requires the swallowing of some pride. I dial her number. God I’m an idiot. No answer. Panic is setting in. I leave a voicemail which I can only assume must have made her laugh a few days later: “Uh Hey…It’s Courtney, uhm. So I’m at Darren’s and I just set the alarm off because I’m a moron and I forgot the code. Sorry to call – call if you get this. Sorry!! Thanks! Sorry! Bye… Sorry.” What’s worse is three seconds after I hang up I remember being told that she was going away the same week… So no help coming from that direction.
Minutes are passing and the “what will I say to the cops dialogue” happening in my head is building and sounding worse and worse… “I’m really sorry, honestly- this is my ex-boyfriend’s house, he’s in Jamaica with his new girlfriend. I called his ex-wife for help.” Right…Nothing like a stalker seeking an accomplice! “But Sir…I’m here for the hamsters.” … Right. Bet you are. You like to boil them?
I look at the alarm company sticker on the door. Anything is worth a try. I dial the number. A very chipper lady answers, and knowing how stupid I sound I give it my best. “Hi. My name is Courtney.” I give her the address and try to explain: “I just set the alarm off at the side door, I know how stupid I’m about to sound, this is my friend’s place- we used to date. I’m here because he asked me to feed his kids’ hamsters; I thought I remembered the code, but apparently not. I have left him and his ex-wife a message telling them what I have done but his family all live out of town (obviously or he wouldn’t need his ex to house-sit?) and I have no one else to call. There is silence on the other end of the phone for a minute as she processes (and probably tries to decide how to handle) what I have just said. She asks me a number of questions about him, his phone number, and birthday; all of which I answer. The lady now sounds sympathetic, as clearly I am not a burglar; just some chick who is a) Pathetic enough be feeding the ex’s pets while he is in Jamaica with the new woman and b) Dumb enough to set off the alarm and be calling her with this insane story… and she knows my night is about to get worse because although she is compassionate about my situation; she has obligations, and despite my story; no code and no password means she still has to dispatch police… she tells me I can leave or stay, it’s up to me. I tell her I may as well do what I came to do; so in the event of my arrest, at least the hamsters will have had their dinner. We hang up.
I walk back into the house, covering my ears. I close the door behind me, and stare at the alarm pad like the evil enemy it is with its’ little red beedy eyes. I’m exasperated and defeated. I raise my hand up to the pad. I take a deep breath……..
I enter the code successfully as if not a day has passed. Yep. Seriously. Three little beeps, the red flashing retreats, and replaced by a solid, happy green, and silence surrounds me. Five minutes later, hamsters have food and fresh water and I have found the wine left for me with the happy little note thanking me for being so helpful. Man… he’s going to get a laugh out of this one… I call the alarm company back, and begin re-explaining my story assuming there must be a high number of agents working there. The lady cuts me off enthusiastically asking: “Is this Courtney!?!” Yes… “HI it’s Jackie from earlier!! I see that you got the code!!! Good for you!!! I have canceled police dispatch and was going to call you back but I didn’t have your number. I am so happy you remembered.” (At least my new ADT friend Jackie is proud of me.) “Have yourself a good night.” (Uh huh. Yeah. Thanks.)
So…What do you do when you feel like a complete ass, and have just narrowly avoided arrest? – You change your Facebook status… and laugh harder than everyone else.