Fresh from the shower with an armful of stuff – clothing for the dry cleaner and a trusty brown bag lunch – I made my way from the back door to my car early the other morning. Curious, noted I that the windows were sweating worse than my onetime boss, Lakeface Shapiro. As in dripping profusely, from the inside. How odd. I opened the passenger door and out sprung a disheveled man who’d apparently spent the night in there. “What in the (expletive)?!,” I screamed before quoting a 1978 Peter Townshend f-bomb lyric, the one that questions another’s identity and audacity.
The unexpected guest provided a quick answer: James was his name and he’d been cold, tired, and desperate for a place to crash. Swearing he wasn’t a thief, he encouraged me to take inventory which I did later, finding every coin and breath mint undisturbed. Things got goofy when James claimed he’d built the backyard workbench when he used to live at the house (yeah, no – it’s temporary and about a month old). Rambling about his mom owning a pizza shop in town but unsure of her whereabouts, surely this wasn’t his first pathos rodeo.
But what do you do? Offer him money, a hug, a knuckle sandwich? The mind reels with possibilities. Suggesting in the future he not camp out uninvited lest he be the cause sudden heart failure, I told James he had to leave and not return. As he slinked up the driveway, a client called to check in with me about details involving a buyer prospect who’d flown in the day before. Quickly pivoting to assist with my misadventure, she told me to “Lysol the hell out of that car” and notify the cops, which I did – in that order.
Truth is I took my time spraying the disinfectant to delay alerting the police. Call it Thanksgiving cheer, not wanting to kick someone when they’re down. I figured the last thing a luckless, drunken wanderer needed was to be cuffed and questioned further. But Officer Ash convinced me otherwise, saying if I’d reported this straight away he could’ve helped James somehow, like putting him on the nearby commuter rail back to his declared Dorchester address. Fair point, Officer. I’ll know better next time (although – duh – we now lock the cars).
Neighbor Dan says he’s never heard of such a thing. He’s been a good friend for the couple years since we moved to this part of town, the street that he’s called home since the mid-80’s and where he’s seen no crime. The folks next door, also long-termers, have started removing the keys from their ignitions at night (yup, and you thought it was all fast and loose in my driveway). Tis a shame, but let’s be thankful for such inconveniences, no? At least there’s a car, a free place to park it, and a warm house during a holiday week now known for record cold temperatures.
A wise woman once advised that my blog posts tie to business brokerage and that’s proven a struggle this time. When preparing to sell a business, you should always use a deadbolt? Beware drenched windows? Do surprise Life Saver counts in the breakroom to discourage pre-close pilferage? Sure. Better yet, let’s leave it at this: prospective sellers should always proceed with caution, trust but verify, and expect the unexpected. And no matter how difficult the process – and it will be that and more – remember to be thankful for that morning’s hot shower. Oh, and after the sale you might consider making some supplemental income on Carbnb.