Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Interesting. I have finally had one of the classic urban experiences I'd heretofore missed: I think someone tried to break into my apartment while I was at work today. Fortunately, they don't seem to have succeeded.

My first clue that something unusual had happened was to find that the plant pot "feet" I'd been using to prop open one of the windows of my sleeping nook were on the futon, and the window was closed. All of my windows are single-hung sash windows, and this particular one is quite loose in its frame. It was a windy day, and my first thought was that the window might have been banging against the frame and that my manager had come in to close it--which seemed unlikely, as I'd seen him in the lobby just moments earlier and he'd said nothing about it, but was nonetheless a highly embarrassing thought. (A year's worth of illness has not done much for the cleanliness of my living quarters.)

I didn't really think about an attempted break-in until I went into the kitchen for cat food...and noticed that the pots on the kitchen windowsill had been moved, and the window itself was unlatched and pushed up against the secondary locks I installed after Carissa's apartment was broken into. After I fed the cats, I checked and, sure enough, the other window on that side of the apartment was also unlatched and pushed up against its secondary locks. I can't really tell if whoever it was also tried the window over the doorway awning or the other windows in the sleeping nook, since I usually leave them open up to the secondary locks anyway, but it seems likely.

The funny thing is that instead of feeling pleased that the secondary locks actually deterred the would-be thief, I just feel vulnerable. I chose the locks--which aren't really locks, but hinged wedge-shaped stops nailed on to the frame a few inches above where the window sits when it's closed--knowing that they wouldn't hold up to a sustained attempt to break in. I figured it was unlikely that anyone would attempt to get in at all since my apartment is quite exposed, and I didn't want to worry about getting out in an emergency or fuss with keys if I wanted to open the windows. (The wedge stops can easily be flipped out of the way if I want to open a window all the way.) Even though I'm pretty sure that whoever tried to get in was a not-particularly-persistent robber who gave up upon meeting resistance, I have a disturbing mental image of said robber coming back with something to pry the stops out of the frame. And, worse still, somewhere in my head there lurks a master criminal who got in, found (without disarranging a thing) the extra key that I really don't think I had, and let himself out of the apartment, locking the door behind him. I know it's silly--but there you have it.

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