My phone did its returning honeybee impression in my pocket. I pulled it out and peered at its face, which displayed a number from back home.
Now, normally I don’t answer unknown numbers, but it was a number from back home calling at 11pm on a Saturday night. I was worried I was about to hear some bad news about my family.
I went into the tiniest bathroom in the world and answered, but couldn’t hear very well. It smelled like pee, probably because I was jammed in there with a dude who was peeing.
“Wait,” I yelled into the phone, “whose mom are you?”
The peeing guy looked over at me, leaning back to see me around his peeing partition. I shrugged at him. It was loud even in the bathroom.
It turned out to be Mellie’s mom. She said Mellie’s burglar alarm was going off and no one could get ahold of her. I said I knew exactly where she was (at the bar) and I’d have her call home right away. I rushed back in and told her the news. She rushed out and I followed. Many calls were made outside on the sidewalk. No one knew anything except that the house alarm was definitely going off. The cops either had or had not been there.
“Well should I go check on my house?” Mellie asked the security company’s representative once she got them on the phone.
“We can’t advise you on that, ma’am.”
She hung up, and said “I guess I’m going to check on my house.”
Obviously I can’t let my single female friend go check to see what’s going on with the burglars alone, so we both hopped in a cab and headed down to her home in southern Atlanta. I thought to myself, “I am Batman.”
Now, Atlanta is the only city of any size I have ever lived in, but I assume that they’re all pretty much the same when it comes to living arrangements. Everyone here wants to live in town, especially since our public transportation is a joke and our traffic is horrible. So, any home in a reasonably nice neighborhood is going to cost you half a million dollars.
If you are a first time home buyer and you want to live within the city limits, you are most likely going to become part of a phenomenon known as “gentrification”. Casually defined, it’s when people with a little money buy homes in neighborhoods where people with no money live. Over time, more middle class people come to the neighborhood and fix it up, thus inflating property taxes and median income, which ultimately sends the low-income folks packing. You want to get in on the neighborhood before it gets too nice because you want to ride the rise in home values and sell your house for a lot more than you paid for it.
Mellie chose to buy her home in just such an area, and if she hangs on to it it will very likely increase greatly in value, but in the mean time she lives in the ghetto. There are sketchy dudes wandering all over the place — the kind of guys that would be in a warehouse when Batman arrived, waiting to get their butts kicked before he got to the main guy.
The cab pulled up to her house and we could hear the alarm going off. We asked the cabbie to wait, and then told him to make sure we weren’t getting shot or anything.
He said “I have a gun!” but did not get out of the car. To be fair, no one asked him to be the Batmobile chauffeur, he just happened to be the first empty cab we saw.
Mellie and I went up the steps to the house, and Mellie unlocked the door and swung it open.
“Hello?” she said inside, “If anyone’s in here, just leave!”
That didn’t seem very Batman-ish, but it wasn’t my home so I let her handle negotiations.
We walked slowly into the house, turning on all the lights as we went, presumably in hopes that thieves would feel unwelcome in a brightly-lit home and leave peacefully. After a while, we got to the back of the house. There were two closed bedroom doors. We decided to open them at the same time, on the count of three. We counted one, two, three, and then swung the doors wide, light spilling into them.
They were empty.
More searching revealed that the house was intact, with no broken windows or anything like that, so we don’t really know what set the alarm off. There was a notepad on the floor in the kitchen that looked like it had fallen off the fridge. Our best guess was that it set off a motion detector, but we tried to get it to set the thing off a few times with no luck.
House searched, we got back into the cab and headed back into town. I felt charged up by the whole thing, and sort of wished that there was some more Batman type activities to get up to.
When we got back to the bar, I walked around stiffly and with purpose like Batman, hoping for someone to approach me with a new problem to solve. Soon, another of my female friends grabbed my arm. “Ah yes,” I thought in a grim Batman voice, “another lady requires my expert assistance.”
“You’ve been a bad friend lately,” she said “You aren’t talking to me online enough!”
No one has ever said that to the real Batman, I guarantee that much. I thought about jumping out of a window, but I was saved from the rest of that conversation when her dad, who was visiting that night, appeared. My friend went from yelling at me to full-on meltdown in no time. Thank god her Dad was in town to handle it.
Batman also does not sit down and listen to his female friends cry for an hour because they’re drunk.
After a while I decided to just walk home. On the way I passed a state trooper who had pulled over a motorist and was administering a field sobriety test.
As I walked by, I yelled to the motorist “You shoulda walked it, buddy!”
I’m not sure if Batman would have said anything in that case, or if he walks home at 3am when he’s half in the bag, but I think I heard the state trooper yell back “You’re right!”