Have you ever had the police show up at your house in the dead of night when you’re sound asleep, walk into your bedroom holding a blinding flashlight and jump out of bed naked for their viewing pleasure? It’s only happened to me once, ten years ago. I know because it was the night of the NYC marathon which is this weekend.
We’d been in the city, had taken up residence at mile 26, to cheer on the runners. It was exciting and inspiring; I didn’t know it then but the following year, the lottery would spit out my name and I’d be running those same streets into Central Park. When we got back to Connecticut that night it was late and I was tired. My beau at the time followed me into my house and up the stairs to the second floor. I closed my bedroom door to keep my cat out and ensure a solid night’s sleep, got out of my clothes and slipped between the sheets sans pajamas. Outside, the wind howled, the sound lulling me to sleep.
I don’t remember the exact time, it had to be around 2:00 or 3:00 am when I was roused from my slumber by the faint sound of what I thought was a car alarm. My beau woke at almost the exact time and thought the same thing. I barely had time to register the sound before I heard voices on the other side of the closed door. I’ve seen plenty of horror movies where the actor will hear the ax murderer break into their house and walk directly toward the danger. I always think “they have to do that or there wouldn’t be a movie…if that were real life and that guy/girl was smart he/she would run the other way.” When I heard those voices in the hallway, just like in the movies, I jumped out of bed, made a beeline toward the noise and swung the door wide open, forgetting to stop for a nightgown.
In the darkness I was blinded by a powerful light aimed at my face, the sound of the alarm much louder now. Two or three policeman coming up the stairs directly across from me immediately identified themselves, said they had been banging on the wall and calling out as they progressed up the stairs. It took me a few seconds to register what was going on; my house alarm, the noise-emitting box located two floors (and two closed doors away) in the basement, was blaring. In those few seconds I also registered my lack of sleepwear and hustled to the closet where my white, terry cloth robe hung. As I pulled the belt tight around my waist, turned off the alarm with the remote sitting on my dresser, we started piecing things together.
My beau had neglected to close the front door so it locked, leaving it open a crack, not enough to trigger the alarm when I set it. As the night wore on the wind blew, a gust somehow catching the door and causing it to open enough to trigger the alarm. ADT was alerted and called the number in their records, a number disconnected when my ex-husband moved out. They then called the police who arrived at my bedroom door. Unraveled by the events, I walked the entire house with the policemen, making sure it hadn’t been broken into.
“We tried to make a lot of noise,” the older one said. “We could tell everything in the house was okay and we didn’t want to scare you.” Thanks, but too late.
Afterward, what bothered me more than the cops seeing me naked was the fact that they had made it all the way to my bedroom before I woke up. Soon after, I had ADT move the alarm from the basement to the first floor where I’d have a better chance of hearing it.
So, when I think of the NYC marathon it’s not that I’ve been fortunate enough to run it twice (2005 and 2011) it’s that a bunch of cops probably shared a good laugh about the naked, deaf lady.