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Houston, Interrupted

A bit back, my job took me to Houston for 3 weeks to work on some video projects.  I didn't want to go to Houston, but it was probably best for everyone else involved.  But the fact remains, I don't like Houston and I didn't like being there. Having lived there for a year, I am well acquainted with Houston and it's ways, ways that constantly convince me it's one of the nastiest cities in America.  (At least for me.  I realize there are millions of people in the Houston area, most of whom probably like living there well enough.  If you're one of these people, let's just agree to disagree and move on.)

The "Houston office," where I was spending my time, is exactly the kind of generic, bland semi-high rise office building I've always hoped to avoid.  Complete with cubicles and an HVAC system beyond the control of the occupants, the Houston office depresses me.  To access the building (since I was working very long hours), I obtained two things: a standard metal key, for the office door, and a magnetic key card, for opening the parking lot gate and main lobby doors.  So, armed with my keys, my 15 passenger van, and a steely resolve to put my head down, get my work done and leave as quickly as possible, I went to work.

Two things happened shortly after my arrival, things that served to further cement my already dim view of Houston.  To set the stage, though, let me explain my work hours during my stay in Houston:  Roll in to work around 8:00 am or so, work till lunch, come back from lunch, work till dinner, eat dinner, come back to work, work till midnight, 1:00 am, 2:00 am or worse.  Drive to the place I was sleeping, get a few hours of sleep, get up and do it again.  Every day.  For three weeks.  Bleh.   (Full disclosure: I did take two days off while in Houston.)

Back to the story.  On day three, I left the office for a late dinner, around 7:00 pm or so.  I walked out the door and to the aforementioned 15 passenger van.  As I settled into the driver's seat, I thought I heard something in the back of the van, something that sounded a bit like paper being crumpled.  It was a very soft sound, and it quickly went away, so I dismissed it.  As I turned the key and started the van though, the sound resumed, much louder this time.  This time I thought, "What the heck?"  I was convinced something or someone was in the van with me.  I was looking in the rearview mirror, and turning around  to look, but I couldn't see anything.  So, I crawled out of the drivers seat and began making my way towards the back, preparing myself to deal with the raccoon or possum or murderer.  However, all I found were little bits of black glass.  Lots of black glass.  Black glass that, at one time, used to be a part of the large rear panel window of the van.  

How I missed the fact that the huge rear panel window had been punched out, as I walked right by it to get into the van, I'll never know.  But the fact remained: At some point prior to 7:00 pm, someone walked up to the van, knocked a huge hole in the big window of the van, and, I guess, just looked around.  There wasn't anything in the van to steal, luckily, but I guess you never know until you look.

Truth be told, though, I wasn't all THAT upset about the van window.  It didn't even strike me as odd someone would bust out the window and root around, in full view of the building in early evening.  I mean, it IS Houston.  Plus, it could have been worse.  I could have happened the night previous, which would have been bad.  Why, you might ask?  Because....

After my second night of work (the night before), I left the office very late, sometime around 1:30 or so.  I gathered my backpack, locked the office door behind me, rode the elevator down, and went out to the van.  However, this being only my second night in Houston, I had not yet received my keys to the building.  Since I was leaving, going home, you might think, "what's the big deal?"  Well, the big deal comes from the fact that a person must have the magnetic key to both enter and EXIT the parking lot.  So, when I got in the van and began to drive off, it suddenly dawned on me there was no way for to leave the parking lot...I couldn't open the gate!  Stuck.

Well, I parked, got out and walked around, probing the perimeter for weakness, any weakness.  There was none.  No way to get out.  Since it was so late, and since I am such a nice, empathetic person, I decided it was too late to call for help.  So...

I crawled into the back seat, stretched out and spent the night in the 15 passenger van.  Spent my time waking up every 20 minutes or so, alternating between Houston muggy heat and chill from the air conditioner.  Plus, the van isn't very comfortable.  Finally, at about 7:00 am, a building manager showed up to unlock some doors.  I was ready for him.  I immediately jumped in the driver's seat, zoomed out of the accursed parking lot, went to my friend Kyle's house and went to bed.  For 2 hours.

At least no one broke into the van while I was sleeping inside.

Reader Comments (1)

Move to Dallas.

November 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteryuriko
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