Superheroes of 2009: Paranoia Girl wins the day!

July 7, 2009 at 12:49 am (Uncategorized)

Is it paranoia if you’re right?

I’m housesitting a two-storey townhouse for a friend all this week while she and her family enjoy a jaunt in sunny Queensland.

It’s part of a row of identical townhouses in which there are sets of two mirror-image houses. Pairs of balconies face one another over a tin roof, under which both households park their cars (so the result is balcony, two-car shared carport, and another balcony). The cars face the bathroom windows, which have sills.

I figured out more or less instantly that I would, at some point during the week, lock myself out. It’s kind of what I do. My friends weren’t comfortable with the idea of me leaving a spare key in the carport or letterbox, so I came up with a cunning plan: I left a key on the balcony. I was confident that climbing up the balcony would be a breeze – because of the bathroom window sill. Like a convenient step up to the roof, which is as good as being on the balcony.

My friends accepted the terms (foolishly thinking I was too smart to lock myslf out), and my SO (who knows me better) asked me to call him (if possible) before attempting the climb.

Sure enough, I locked myself out today while checking their mail.

My attire: pajamas (with a hole in a fairly important area); limited underwear; unbrushed hair and teeth; thongs and brilliantly-striped toe socks.

My useful tools: no money of any kind; no phone. Possible fire-starting or lock-picking glasses (if I broke them, and could pick locks).

My surroundings: a park. a carpark. Friendly neighbours who’ve never seen me before.

I took a wheelie bin and moved it between my friends’ parked car and their bathroom window. I removed my thongs and socks for improved mobility and grip. I tucked my ankle-length skirt up into my undies (my pajamas include an ankle-length skirt) for improved ability to move (ie so I didn’t attempt to swing my leg up, get tangled, and fall to my death). For some reason, this made me think of Indiana-Jones type movies (probably because of the traditional ripping-of-the-business-skirt trick).

I achieved the bedroom window in three steps: ground, car, wheelie bin –>window. I’d never noticed that the window sill isn’t flat, but at about a 45 degree angle.

There’s roughly half a metre between the bathroom wall and the inside edge of the carport roof. Unfortunately, the roof was high enough that it was above the level of my chest – definitely above my centre of gravity. I spent a significant amount of time holding myself propped against the carport roof, shivering and barefoot, wondering if I could actually jump high enough to get enough of me onto the roof to be able to get at least one leg up – or would I simply dangle off the roof until I fell?

The SO’s workplace is about an hour’s walk away. My nose began to run in the freezing wind. I couldn’t help but notice that the near side of the carport roof was rather sharp all along the edge facing me. A bus drove past, and I hoped they couldn’t tell that my skirt was tucked into my undies. Several cars also drove past. I examined the picture windows of the row of identical townhouses directly across from me (no significant plants, just carpark – a plain of bitumen only a few metres across). As far as I could tell, I was not being watched.

I imagined my SO and friends’ reaction if I tried to push myself up off their security light, breaking it (and possibly myself) in the process.

Had to jump. Had to scrape leg. Better than walking an hour in Winter to show up at my husband’s work while not wearing shoes, underwear, or intact clothing.

I ALMOST jumped.

*repeat* *repeat* *repeat*

I tested the security light with my foot. It was bolted on pretty good. I tried to push it. It didn’t budge.

Took a breath. Pushed off the security light and landed on the roof. Got my left leg up, and the other leg was easy. I vaulted the balcony fence, found the key just where I left it, and let myself in!

No one will ever know. . .

And for the record, paranoia DEFINITELY pays.



  1. Ben (Crispin) said,

    Yes. No one will ever know…
    Hey, wait…!

    For the record, I don’t remember Indiana Jones ever tearing off his skirt before making a death-defying leap, but I’d like to see your version.

    And, also for the record, I actually have a very similar story of my own…

  2. Ann said,

    Oh dear…….. maybe you should have tried wearing the key on a piece of string around your neck………..

    Incidentally – I have a great story about hanging in mid air 4 metres up tring to scramble through a casement window without amputating something on the strangely large variety of sharp (very sharp) knives on my kitchen sink……

    No-one evers believes that people really manage to lock themselves out……

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