Egg Rolls & Slippers
My wife, Sharalee, and I had returned from a weekend in Portland in time to watch the SuperBowl. Just us, our pull-out couch and a Costco sized box of eggrolls. Sharalee became physically ill, partly due the quantity and quality of food that we inhaled and partly because the New England Patriots had just beat the Philadelphia Eagles to win the game. We loved Donovan McNabb and his kind smile. Projecting that she would be making multiple trips to the lavatory throughout the night (not sure if there is a more polite way to say that), she chose to sleep in the living room and I made the noble sacrifice of going to bed in our room. I am a very good husband.
At 3 am her sleep was interrupted when she heard strange noises from the kitchen. Sounded like the blinds were rattling. Curious. Could it be a mouse? Or maybe it was the Germans in our basement? Yes, we had Germans living in our basement. They were students, not spies. Sharalee got up and rounded the corner into our kitchen and stood in the entry way. What was she looking at? As her eyes un-blurred she realized it was a man in a black toque (stocking caps, hats, beanies or toboggans for you American readers. In Canada, a toboggan is a sled. When will we ever learn to see eye to eye?) AND he was half way through our kitchen window, folded over our sink. Yikes.
Have you ever have one of those dreams where you were so scared that you were paralyzed with fear and couldn’t run or scream? That had been my wife’s greatest worry. It is no longer a concern. She screamed so loud and at such a high pitch that throughout our neighbourhood, dogs’ heads simply exploded. Assuming my wife was hemorrhaging eggrolls from her eyeballs, I sprang into action instantaneously. From 0-60 in .02 seconds. From a party snack induced coma to stumbling out of the bedroom, I kicked off the entangled bedsheets and bellowed, “WHAT IS HAPPENEEEENG?'
I know what you are all thinking, "What were you wearing Cliff?" Though I find your curiosity slightly disquieting, it is a reasonable question and I will answer it. I had directed a play the year previous and one of my cast members, while not in the scene, would spend her time knitting slippers. Being appreciative of my fine leadership and because I threatened to cut her from the play if she didn’t, she made me a pair. Also, my feet are often cold due to long toes and poor circulation… you get it.
So, as Sharalee screamed, I came to the rescue wearing my finest pair of tattered skivvies and bright green, hand knit, slippers. Back to the action:
“WHAT IS HAPPENEEEENG?'
Then Sharalee, still at a pitch and decibel likened to a BANSHEE (mythological Irish demon) replied, “SOMEONE is breaking into our house!”
I proceeded to run down our CARPETED hallway towards our kitchen with LAMINATE flooring (insert significance of the hand knit slippers here). As my right foot hit the floor, my right foot slid across the floor, then departed the floor, followed by my left foot, both legs, butt, back, until my whole body was floating through the air and then violently returned the earth, sliding and squealing along and through the kitchen table and chairs. Bowling for furniture. I did not feel a thing. Examining my body the next day it took me a few moments to figure out the A to my Q, “Why are there bruises on my ribs and back?”
From the floor I sprung to my feet and began to frantically pound the window screaming the whole time like a preteen girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Or like me at a Justin Bieber concert.
Sharalee hollered, “You’re going to break the window!”, at which point I noticed that the other side of the window was already open and there was no man to be found.
He ran away.
Sharalee had him at "Aieaghehejsjd!!"
I turned to run out the front door to give chase to the intruder, but Sharalee refused to let me exit. She said it was because she didn’t want the bad guy to gain access to our home, but I know it’s because she didn’t want the other ladies of the neighbourhood to know how hot I looked in my ginch and slippers. Made sense to me. Still does.
I suppose we were lucky. Had the dude made it into our house it could have been a totally different story. I mean, we were gone all weekend and he (probably “they” because our kitchen window would have required a boost), waited until we were clearly home to make their move (our car was in the driveway and hallway and bathroom lights were on). Scary to speculate.
The police came to investigate and ensure we were safe. The one cop recognized me from a show, “Oh hey, you’re that improv guy. I guess this isn’t that funny”. It is now, kind of. The robber, assuming he had come to rob us, didn’t steal a thing from us, but we were certainly left without peace of mind. A friend who lived just south of the border offered to bring me a gun. Uhm… could you imagine what the psycho slippered guy would have done to himself and others if he had a loaded gun in his hand as he ran down the hall? Or better yet, imagine what I would have done to him had I slid through his legs and not just the table and chairs. This is the stuff heroes are made of. I meant to say weirdos.
Instead of firearms, I slept with a hammer under my bed for a few months after that. Anyone else ever have shockingly violent thoughts? I imagined the Police officer asking, “Did he steal anything?” “Yes, sir... he stole my Estwing. It’s in the back of his skull. Can you return it to me?”
We considered getting a dog, but rather installed an alarm system hoping that would ease our minds. What we learned, was that every time we armed it, it reminded us that we were vulnerable and that we had reason to fear. Maybe that is true, but I believe yielding to fear is a choice. We still get skittish from time to time, but the moment we stopped using our alarm was the beginning of us getting back to normal. That is, if you define excessive eggroll consumption and wearing green slippers to bed as normal.