Strange Day – They’re Out To Get Us?

What is this I don't evenYesterday, we decided to kill two birds with one stone by taking a long drive in the awesome weather and simultaneously visiting our recently unoccupied rental property in Rockland County. This all started out really well. We had an uneventful and quite pleasant drive down, and discovered on our arrival that the problematic former tenant had amazingly left the place spotless and in good repair!

All that changed on the way home. About an hour into the ride, we were going up a hill next to an 18-wheeler. We were in the Civic Hybrid, so going fast up hills isn’t really an option, but we had been in the process of passing when we got to the rise, so we were kinda stuck there, inching past going slightly faster than the truck. Just then, a Sprinter van with commercial plates pulled out from behind the truck into the left lane behind us, going much faster than either the truck or we were, and screamed right up to our rear bumper.

He rode there, literally less than ten feet behind us at highway speeds, for over a minute. Finally, unable to get out of this prick’s way and seeing no immediate end to the hill, I tapped the brake as gently as possible in order to a) disengage the cruise control (which wasn’t helping us get up the hill anyway) and b) tell him that we were going to slow down so we could tuck in behind the truck and let him pass. This was apparently an eventuality he had never considered, as he swerved crazily around behind us, almost side-swiping the truck, before accelerating and pulling up literally a foot or two behind our bumper while waving his hands.

I gripped the wheel and floored the accelerator to maintain speed, and just gutted out the rest of the hill. The moment things leveled out, I scooted past the truck, probably cutting him off and looking like a real asshole, just to get away from the maniac behind us. Of course, it wasn’t over. Now free to once again resume traveling at 80% of the speed of light, the Sprinter’s driver chose instead to pull up next to us and yell at us for some time before repeatedly swerving into our lane, once severely enough that I was forced to drive onto the shoulder. I was dialing 911 when finally, he opened his window and threw trash or something at us before accelerating away. I had Sabrina write down his plate. We pulled into the Modena service area to call the State Troopers and catch our breath.

Did I mention that out infant son was in the back seat for all this? I am now quite certain that I am capable of torture, murder, and a number of other dastardly acts I would not have considered likely before parenthood…

We thought the day’s excitement was over, but we were so wrong! As we pulled out of the service area, I realized I had gotten a voicemail while talking with the troopers. I discovered that there were actually two. The first was from the Troy police dispatcher, telling me that “if I was still responsible for” our home address, I needed to call back. The second was from our neighbor and City Councilman, telling me that our burglar alarm was going off, and that the police were there. Trying not to drive madly, we quickly learned that a) the police had ‘cleared’ the house, b) our lovely neighbor from two houses down was standing guard until we returned, and c) the alarm was still going off, even though it’s programmed to reset after 30 minutes.

Long story short, nothing was stolen, and while a door was open, no damage was done, so perhaps we left it unlocked? Moose, our big bull mastiff, panicked and broke out of his crate at some point during the foofaraw, but was unharmed and happily waiting for us next to his food-bowl. The Troy police officers who investigated have my undying thanks, because having entered our home and found 120 pounds of anxious, muscular, black-brindle bull mastiff waiting for them, they did *NOT* shoot him dead, as seems to have become the nationwide norm in recent news!

We’ve narrowed down the sequence of events to one of the following possible narratives:

  1. Someone tried to break in, immediately tripped the alarm, and ran, after which Moose, in a panic from the alarm, broke free and wandered around the house setting off the motion sensors for the next hour or so.
  2. Someone started to break in, but Moose heard them coming and broke free before they got past the door (in the process scaring them off, as he is rather loud and intimidating), after which he wandered around the house setting off the motion sensors for the next hour or so.
  3. The alarm is broken and set itself off, after which Moose, in a panic from the alarm, broke free and wandered around the house setting off the motion sensors for the next hour or so, in the process somehow managing to open the back door (This would not be as unlikely as you think, given Moose’s history. I’ve conjectured that if Moose had thumbs, we would be the pets!).

So, all in all, just another day in Why-does-all-the-weird-shit-happen-to-us-land!