A few years ago we were burgled. Upon arriving home from work one fine spring Friday evening, laden with pizzas, we noticed our apartment door was ajar and the place had been well gone-over. My significantly better half’s family heirloom jewelry, a watch and even the quarters we keep for laundry were all stolen. Of course they knew what they were looking for, as the police suggested it was an inside job; a now former janitor who may have spent any amount of time in the apartment scoping out our goodies was suspected. Many people who have had this miserable experience have pointed out that aside from the loss, both monetary and the much more scarring sentimental, the sense of invasion is very unsettling.
Since that time our schedules have changed and my significantly better half now goes off to mold and train young minds – she is a teacher – before I am needed anywhere. I stay out of her way in the morning so she can get off to school before the traffic socks in. This leaves me taking the second shower, the one with no one else in the apartment – or so I hope.
This has nothing to do with Psycho, but I find myself being just a little paranoid now about an intruder, believing the apartment is empty having received no answer to his knock on the door, getting in while I am in the shower. Frankly, how could I be any more vulnerable – naked, soapy and without glasses. Therefore I have devised a system that I believe will deter any would-be thieves.
While in the shower I try to make as much noise as possible thereby hopefully convincing a burglar that not only has he, or she, gained access to an occupied apartment, but one that is inhabited by a lunatic, a full-out screaming, screeching mad banshee. I have to assume that if someone broke in while I was in the shower and heard magooola waaaallaat being hollered from the bathroom he might just beat a hasty retreat. I know I sure as hell would. Or perhaps the sound of a mad blubbering chicken segueing into the caterwauling of a cat in heat (these last two I thought I had lost from my repertoire after wisdom tooth extraction, but over time they have returned.) There are plenty of other places to rob that do not house a wailing moron. Sometimes I even engage in actual conversations in the shower. In essence, my only defense is to convince the would-be thief that I am stark raving mad.
Dealing with the odd looks on the faces of my neighbours as I emerge from my apartment fresh and clean is a small price to pay for my sense of security. And there is the collateral effect of this ploy. The process is more than just a deterrent to crooks, it is also very freeing. Much like primal scream therapy it is cathartic.
So let me admit it: I am an inveterate noise maker, not a noisemaker like those silly things used at New Years, but a maker of noises, par excellence. There, like the guy on the low testosterone product advertisement, I said it. I’ve been a closet noise maker for as long as I can recall, although given the nature of making noises I imagine those around me were onto the truth all along.
I know when it started. One day many years ago while out for a run I was trotting along beside some train tracks when a commuter train roared past. The noise was great, the vibration shook loose my adrenaline and the next thing I knew I was letting loose a bellow without fear of being heard over the train’s roar. It was liberating. Such a release.
While at university I remember reading about memory research being carried out that required subjects to recall nonsense words. To ensure that the ability to remember was not triggered by previous memories, gibberish “words” were used instead of actual recognizable words. My god, I thought, there’s my future, there’s a need for nonsense syllables, I’ve been creating these for years without the knowledge that I could have been selling them.
But that’s all secondary. The prime function of this exercise is as a deterrent to intruders. Imagine yourself having just broken into my apartment when a squawking sound emerges from my bathroom. Is it just some silliness, or is there really a frenzied, unpredictable and therefore potentially dangerous maniac going berserk in there. The choice is yours. Much like the famous scene from Dirty Harry, all I can say is ‘Go ahead, make my day’!