When my mom came to visit last year, she remarked that Hollywood was nothing like it looks in the movies; no glitter, no glitz, no glam. And that's the truth - there's an overwhelming amount of artifice glazed over public perception. Living in Los Angeles is not like living in a movie...
...Until it is.
I sat on my couch last night, watching (for the first and last time, most likely) the ridiculously awful nosedive that is Denise Richards: It's Complicated, stealing furtive glances at my window to be sure the neighbors didn't see me engaged in such shame. Oh, the guilt!
During a particularly awkward sequence in which Denise's mostly-sweet-yet-hint-o'-creepy-Joe-Simpson father stands in his undies, receiving a spray tan, I thought I heard a strange noise...like...a megaphone? Like someone making an announcement to a stadium...
I figured it was just the neighbors' TV and when I turned back to my own, Father Richards was getting some sort of massage. Gross.
There it was again, that megaphone voice, more urgent...so I turned down the TV and what I heard was:
"RESIDENTS IN THE AREA - PLEASE GO INSIDE OF YOUR HOMES! RESIDENTS OF THE AREA - STAY INSIDE OF YOUR HOMES AND LOCK ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS!"
Then something to the tune of:
"COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP OR WE WILL USE FORCE AGAINST YOU."
Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.
And then I noticed all of the cop cars lining the street and the alley...circling my apartment.
I did what you think you might do when you watch a movie in this situation. I grabbed my phone, my purse, and a pair of flip flops, turned off the lights, got scared and turned them back on, then sat on the floor of the bathroom and called my neighbor:
Me: (Whispering, so the baddies wouldn't hear me) Melinda! What the hell is going on??????
Melinda: I don't know. This is freaking me out.
Me: I know! I'm sitting in my bathroom!
Melinda: Ok, I'm going to let you go - I'm gonna grab my nunchucks.
YEAH, SHE SAID "NUNCHUCKS."
Then I called Mo, who recounted a particularly morbid story about an old roommate being shot on their steps in Berkeley, which didn't particularly make me feel better, but still, always good to have someone to chat with when there is some sort of maniac running around your neighborhood.
After some silence, Melinda and I both cautiously ventured out of our apartments. The upstairs neighbor peeked out. Melinda asked one of the officers what was going on - apparently someone had jacked a car, crashed it, and was hiding out somewhere near our apartments.
We all went back in side. I sat in the bathroom some more, talked to Mo some more, and then made the assessment that the police activity seemed to be diminishing.
Suddenly, a line of cop cars came streaming down our street, floodlights on...parked right in front. Then came the police, many, many police, THROUGH OUR FRONT GATE.
JUST STANDING THERE, IN BETWEEN MY APARTMENT & MELINDA'S.
I put the cat in the bathroom, since he had taken to stalking me around the apartment in the excitement, and periodically biting my leg, which was doing nothing to soothe me. Then I thought better of it, and just put myself in the bathroom again and texted Melinda:
Me: They keep yelling 2 come out w hands up...so freaky!
Melinda: Dude look across to my apt
I looked. MORE COPS. Dogs! Lots of barking dogs!
I listened. There had been a girl at the front gate, crying and telling the police that a man tried to come into her apartment!!!
Back to the bathroom for me. I plotted my escape - I had my purse slung across my shoulder, my computer bag sat next to me...and I wielded a cheapo flashlight. I have no idea why I had the flashlight, but it made me feel better somehow. I kind of wish I had Melinda's nunchuks. I mean, that would freak someone out, yeah? Can't you use those to whip a gun out of an intruder's hand? I fantasized about that for a moment.
Well, I guess I could blind him with the flashlight and I could count on Eddie Cat Halen to at least bite his leg really hard, then we could make a run for it.
Back to reality. The police were still gathered, but seemed to be leaving. When my heart rate slowly descended back to normal, I peeked my head out of the door and asked one of the cops if they found the guy-
Cop: Uh, no. Well, we looked for the one here, but we think they both got away...but you're safe. Don't worry.
There were TWO of them???
So it was that I slept on Melinda's couch...nunchuks at my feet. For real.