Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Case of the Mysterious Crash

I'm on a plane en route from Dallas to New Orleans. While in Dallas on lay-over, I spoke to Carla and she relayed the following tale:

Carla suffers from migraine headaches and awoke early this morning with one. She managed to get back to sleep but was later awakened by a very loud crash that seemed to come from the condo apartment above us.

The condo above us is occupied by Wayne, a very large (as in, obese) man in his late 50's. We can sit in our unit and trace Wayne's movements from room to room (if we're so inclined) by the sounds that emanate from our ceiling.

The loud crash, which shook Carla awake, seemed to come from Wayne's bathroom, which is above and kitty-corner to our bedroom. It was followed by dead silence. Scenarios began to run through her mind: Had he slipped getting out of the shower? Had he had a massive heart attack? She decided to investigate; went upstairs and rang his doorbell. No answer. She knocked loudly. No answer. She came back downstairs and found the directory of residents provided by the homeowner's association of our condominium complex. Wayne's phone number was listed, so she called it. No answer.

What should she do? Was Wayne lying dead or dying on his bathroom floor? Or was he gone and one of his cats had knocked something over? She called me while I was at the Dallas airport and we discussed the situation. We decided it was best to call the non-emergency number of the police and ask their advice.

Carla called me back later to tell me what happened. The police came, saying they didn't want to take any chances. She suggested that they use a ladder to peer into the windows at the back of his condo (which includes the bathroom). They insisted instead on breaking the door down, which they did, and found... nothing. No Wayne, dead or alive. Everything intact and in it's place, including a pair of curious cats.

The police left a note and card on Wayne's now broken door, explaining that they had forcibly entered his dwelling.

We wonder now if what Carla heard was Wayne slamming the heavy steel door that leads into his garage, which is directly beneath our bedroom. The reverberation, coupled with being startled out of a sleep, might have given Carla the wrong impression of the sound's source.

So now we are wondering what Wayne's reaction will be when he gets home. Will he be angry? I assume so. Will he appreciate that Carla took action when she thought he might be in danger? Who will he blame for breaking his door: us or the police?

It seems to me that we ought to share the cost of repairing his door. One must expect to pay a cost, afterall, when one gets involved. The good Samaritan ended up with food, lodging and medical bills when he got involved. Ideally, I think the cost should be split three ways between the police (who broke the door), us (who called the police) and Wayne (who was the object of everyone's concern).

I'll provide updates of the situation in the Comments of this post.

One last thing I want to mention. A few weeks ago Carla and I came home in the evening and noticed that our next-door neighbor Lynn's garage door was open. "She's probably moving something or about to take her car out." I said, but Carla insisted on knocking on Lynn's door to check. We live in a fairly urban area and a garage door left open for any length of time is an invitation to thievery. It turned out that Lynn had gone to bed, unaware that she had left her garage door open.


Blogger Danny Coleman said...

Here's the follow up: Carla heard Wayne arrive home, so I called him from my hotel room in Louisiana and explained the situation. It turns out, he did fall. He tripped over a phone cord and fell hard. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt and got up and left. Carla didn't hear him leave.

He wasn't angry at us. He told me that once before he fell in the bathroom and laid injured on the floor for an hour.

It seems that the damage to his door was minimal, but I told him if it needed to be repaired we would share the cost. He agreed.

6:19 PM  

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