Sunday, December 14, 2008

Strays welcome

"Mom, who's the guy sleeping on the couch?"

That is a sure way to wake up in a hurry when you know there was nobody on the couch last night when you went to bed.

I usually leave my bedroom door open, but the door had swung closed last night. The dogs were in the room with me, and started barking up a storm around 4am this morning. I got up, checked the house, but everything was quiet and dark so I figured it must have been a neighbor setting them off. There are college kids next door who sometimes have parties, and I just assumed they were having another one last night and people were probably making noise as they went home. I let the dogs outside to go potty and to reassure themselves of nobody prowling around the yard, and thought I caught a whiff of cigarette smoke. That seemed silly since even smoking friends don't smoke in my house, so I figured a neighbor must have had a fire burning. I brought the dogs back into my bedroom, went ahead and pushed the door closed again, and went back to bed. One of my dogs kept looking at me like she was expecting me to do something else, but again, it was 4am and I was sleepy...

Then Alex's question this morning. Sure enough, an unknown guy was sleeping on my couch. We kind of stared at him, not sure what to do. He looked early to mid 20's, was in "going out" clothes, and seemed like a normal person. Except I've never met the guy before. Finally I shook him a little bit and he opened his eyes. He looked around and was clearly very confused. I asked him if he'd slept well and if perhaps he wanted to go home. He asked where he was, and finally woke up enough to realize he had somehow wandered into a complete stranger's house and gone to sleep. And then he started to freak out a little bit. He kept assuring me that he was an honest guy, he had a job and paid his bills, he had no idea what had happened but he was so sorry, etc. He wasn't driving, he had been at a party somewhere and gone with someone from there out to another party, and had no idea where he'd last been or how he'd gotten here. He seemed to have lost his cell phone, so I loaned him my phone so he could call home but he got no answer. He put his shoes back on and prepared to leave immediately, but he was going about 3 miles away so I offered to drive him home. Alex took the guy's picture because he said nobody would believe him if he didn't.

The front door was locked and closed, so I'm not sure how Chris got in. The door sometimes sticks, so it is possible it wasn't completely closed last night even though it looked it. And that bothers me. I do live in a neighborhood that has had very little trouble the entire time I've lived here, so I'm still not excessively worried about security. I do believe I'll be triple-checking the doors tonight, though. I'm also enormously surprised that apparently my dogs bark loud enough to hear a mile away if someone dares to step onto the property, but they didn't have much to say about someone actually coming into the house. I guess they figured they'd warned me; I got up right when the dogs started making noise, but the house was dark. So how did this guy enter an unknown house, find his way to the couch in the dark, take off his shoes, and get comfy and go to sleep in the moments it took me to put on slippers and come out of my room?

We've had a number of stray animals gravitate to our house over the years, but this is the first time a human stray has shown up. I guess if you are in the neighborhood, feel free to nap on my couch! Just make sure to close the door behind you.

I debated whether to post this, since I'm sure some of you won't find this nearly as funny as Alex & I did. Yes, it's a bit discombobulating. Yes, I'll make sure the dogs have free reign of the house tonight. Yes, the front door situation will be getting fixed very quickly. But no, I'm really not afraid. Either I have great faith in my guardian angels and God's timing, or I'm foolish and naive, but we were more bemused than scared. It occurred to me that this could be an interesting premise for a story line should I ever decide to write a book.