Thursday, October 29, 2009

San Francisco Rooftops aka JK the Cat Burglar

OK, blog fans, I had started a retrospective on my time in India and falling into the Ganges, but the save function didn't work properly, so I'lll whisk you to San Francisco, last week.

I was vacationing in my former place of residency, when this strange incident occurred. I was staying with a friend in an apartment building of around twelve units. The staircase ended in a door to the roof, which needed to be propped open while you walked around on the roof and surveyed the surrounding landscape. It's a great area in Western Addition that includes Alamo Square Park, home to the iconic homes of the Full House television series. My final night home, I made my way back after a night at McTeague's and the Kozy Kar Bar (kind of weird but with comfortable seats).

Prior to leaving, I had a downright bizarre experience with a beautiful French ballerina. For some reason, she patronizes McTeague's once a week despite living in the beautiful East Bay city of Oakland. I barely spoke with her on my first visit there, but after returning from a snack of animal crackers and candy served by my friend Eddie in his apartment, she began talking to me almost immediately. It really seemed like I had to be on hidden camera for the following reasons: A)this woman had no business at McTeague's B)she had no business talking to me, especially because I was wearing a beard that hadn't been shaven in months along with my black-framed dork glasses that I bought with the express purpose of driving away females C)her bizarre behavior to follow.

Despite my best efforts to show almost no interest in this amazingly gorgeous woman, she managed to corner me about my plans for the weekend. I told her that I was just in town for a few days and was leaving for Vegas in the morning. To this, she replied, with the cutest French accent, "Why are you going to Las Vegas? Why not stay here?"

RetiredJK: "Ummm.... cause if I stayed here I would miss my flight to Vegas."
FrenchBallerina: "But what would you miss in Vegas? You should stay."
RJK: "I'm going to my friend's birthday party. There's no argument about this."
FB: "You should stay; you never know."

Never know what? How creepy a hot French ballerina can get after a couple drinks? I don't think I want to stick around for this. At one point, I actually enlisted some friends' assistance in a cock-block setup to get her away from me.

So we parted ways, and she drove off down the road, the wrong way on a one way street in her BMW SUV.

So I trekked home to the Full House apartment and clicked on the baseball highlights. Drawn to the rooftop around three AM to look out on the city, I forgot to block open the door in my haste and forgetfulness. No problemo, I thought, I'll try the keys. No luck. Being the huge guido that I am, I tried to muscle the door open, but to no avail. At this point I first faced the possibility of spending the night on the roof in my shorts (I had changed into shorts upon arrival), a possibility that could be fatal in chilly San Fran. I stood by the edge for about a half hour, waiting for someone trustworthy to walk so I could toss my keys to them in the expectation that they'd actually come up and open the door. But at 4:15 in the morning, there just aren't alot of people walking around, and most that are you wouldn't want to be in posession of your keys.

So I gave up on finding someone to let me in. I check the fire escapes, which I realized would be my only way off the roof in case an inferno engulfed the entire place (no, setting it did not cross my mind). They looked steep. And close to people's windows. And possibly slippery. I sat and meditated on my next step for awhile. At this point, it was closing in on 5 AM. I called my friend who owned the apartment, and dammit, he was staying elsewhere that night! In my time of need, you're gone, and I'm stuck on a rooftop; I think I could make contemporary rock song up about the situation. So I decide that I need to take drastic action, lest a tenant come up to the roof for their morning yoga and find my asleep in my shorts in front of the door. That's not something they call the police for; it's something they call Animal Control for at that point.

I check the two fire escapes and opt for the one away from the street so that, maybe, not as many people will call the police. I shimmied awkwardly down the ladder to the top floor of windows; no lights on. So far, so good. The rest was just stairs albeit thin ones, but I took the final couple floors in a matter of seconds. Only one window was lit and I avoided looking into it. I smashed a potted plant on accident. But when I got to the bottom, I discovered that I was STILL ON A FIRST-FLOOR ROOFTOP.

There was no way out; all the sides were at least twelve feet to the ground with no obvious ways down. Evidently, escaping was not meant to be. Desperately, I surveyed the surrounding territory. The building was attached to a row house by a garage and small garden. However, getting to the ground would require climbing onto the house's windows, garage and fences. At this point, I had no other option. Certain that the police or at least a dog would await me on the ground, I crawled across their oversized stone window sill and down several small rocky shelves in their garden. A security light switched on and I went into stealth mode. Only one more barrier; a six-foot fence to the street. Of course, I couldn't open the gate from the inside and had to scale yet another fence. I sprinted to the apartment building's door, entering just in time to watch the police pass by on the street.

Overall, this morning was a test of my gymnastics, my wits, and my stupidity all at once. Luckily, I took off a few hours later for Vegas, where no one really cares if you're crawling around with glasses on at five in the morning.

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