The Burglary

This is the story from February of 2015 when John's house got broken into the day before he was leaving on the JoCo Cruise.

Having a possum living in the walls (RL176)

In November of 2014, prior to his mom rodent-proofing his house by closing up all the holes in the outer wall, John noticed a possum in his yard. He wanted to learn more about its behavior and he sat in his doorway at night waiting for it. John was fairly pro-possum, in the same way like if somebody wanted to date his daughter with all respect and it would be something we can talk about, but first we need to sit down and hash a couple of things out.

John was going to watch their reactions to his questions while he at the same time was playing with a dagger on the coffee table. "Tell me, using only single words, how you feel about my daughter!" John was learning a lot watching this possum and also the raccoons were clearly watching this all go down from their perch high in the trees, but they had no dog in the race and were just taking it all in.

The possum was a dingeling, he was blind, and eventually he went under the house. "Shit! Possum under the house! That is no good!" Right around that time John started hearing possums in the wall. "Fuck!" He had been watching the possum, he had a pretty good beat on it, but the possum had faked him out and moved into the house. John's house was originally built in 1912. In 1930 they put an addition onto the side of the house where the chimney is and what had formerly been the outside of the chimney is now enclosed inside of a wall.

The possum got under the house and got up the chimney inside the wall, scrubbing around so John could hear it. John hadn’t reconciled himself to call the vermin people during the winter because he through the possum was just visiting and although he could hear it screeching at night, he just pretended it wasn’t happening. John thought the possum was going to move on eventually, but it didn’t.

One night in February of 2015 it made so much noise that it finally crossed the threshold, but John was leaving to go on the JoCo Cruise early the following day and would need to deal with everything he needed to deal with before leaving on a long cruise. It sucked and made him mad that he couldn’t deal with the possum then, but he rolled over and went back to sleep. This was the moment where he said: ”Game over! I am chasing you down!” and literally any other night John would have gone out with his 10.000 Watt flashlight to find this thing.

John's house has been broken into (RL176)

The next morning American Express called him, telling him that his card was being used to buy gasoline, but the person who used it didn't know the correct ZIP-code and now they were trying to find out if it was John. The first thing John does every time he comes home is take off his pants, and so he went downstairs, still asleep, looking around, and he noticed the back door was open and the house had been rifled. He told the lady from American Express to cancel the card.

While John was in the house, he had been broken into and ransacked. He had heard them, but he thought it was the possum and he rolled over and went back to sleep. During two decades of hyper-nighttime-vigilance where he was perimeter-checking his yard in his bathrobe and a sword, nothing had happened in any of the neighborhoods he had lived in that he didn’t know, watch, and report on. The one instance where a possum had distracted him with its occupation and John rolled over and went back to sleep was the one time he had been robbed while he was in the house.

It is a feeling of violation, but more than that it is totally against his brand! John had been sitting upstairs in a room bristling with weapons, he had been waiting for someone to break into his house for the last 20 years so he could choose the saber. Here it was, the fucking possum! It was some kind of mind twisteroo!

John was going to leave on the cruise the next day at 7am, but they had stolen his passport and and his wallet with all his ID in it. They stole his computer and his iPad which he didn't care about and they took the time to unhook his entire Sonos stereo system (see RL127). They must have known that John was home because they never came upstairs where the real vault was.

Instead, they took his Challenge Coins, a box of political lapel pins, Hubert Humphrey tie tacks and Truman Beats Dewey lapel buttons, little pins his dad collected and that John had continued to collect, a collection of foreign currency that wasn’t worth anything and his 100oz (2835g) silver ingot that he was using as a door stop for 20 years. His mom had warned him during those whole 20 years that somebody would be stealing that one of these days, but John always said that no crook knows what that is because it is just a hunk.

Out of all that, John was most devastated by losing his passport because a) he was traveling out of the country in a day and b) that passport was trending toward its retirement and this trip was going to be the last time he would travel on it. With stamps from all his Rock'n'Roll touring and from the time he went to Niger, Ethiopia and Djibouti (John's USO-tour, see Shows and Events) it was very important to him and it was supposed to go into the shoebox soon.

John still going on the JoCo cruise despite the burglary (RL176)

John spent the entire day running around town. He went to the DMV for a new driver’s license, sat for a new photograph and filled out all the forms to get an enhanced driver’s license that would allow him to travel, but they wanted to send it to him 15 days later. He spent 2 hours at the DM fucking V, but they couldn’t give it to him right away! He thought back to all the driving licenses he had over the years and, he is not crazy, they used to give it to you right then. They would take your picture, they would laminate it, and you could watch it come out of the little dingus. Now they will mail it to you 15 days later, which didn't help and John was burning daylight here!

John ran down to the passport office which could expedite a passport for $1100. He got his picture taken at a Kinko’s and he was frazzled by this point, but he did get a passport. He questioned if he should go on the cruise, but there was nothing else he could do anyway. He couldn’t hunt for the burglar himself! Merlin was amazed that John came on the cruise! Before he travels, Merlin is always frenetic about everything and John didn’t even have credit cards or ID, just the sense of wanting to go burrow into his bed with a sword to process what happened.

It was a lesson for John. They had talked a lot over the years about the materialism that had infected John’s life, about his thrifting habit (see Objects), and about the fact that he no longer had 5 but 500 personal items imbued with significance. This thing and that thing and that thing and remember the time I bought that thing? This was the time when I had my first kiss! In April of last year I had that thing on!

John uses this mania of attaching emotional significance to physical objects as a way of keeping the daemon dogs at bay, but in that moment he realized that he didn’t give a shit about any of those things and if it had all burned down he wouldn't have cared. He just wanted that passport back because that really did have emotional significance, and that silver bar because he bought it in 1982 with the money he saved from moving lawns. But a computer? Who cares! Burn it!

Who were the burglars? (RL176)

John had a very interesting conversation with the police. They showed up right away and the female lead officer said that this was probably a meth head because coming into a house where there is somebody inside is totally desperate behavior. This person is going to end up dead, it is insane to do and it has to just be drugs! It was diabolical that this person found the one window in John’s house that didn’t have an alarm on it and where the window sill was a little bit rotten.

All the windows in John’s house are original, and they took a foot locker off of John’s porch, moved it around under the window, jammed a shovel that they found in the barn, popped the window and waited for John’s timed light to go off at 3am. John got the sense that his house had been cased and they had been watching him for weeks. He was scanning his brain if there had been any suspicious cars, because he would have noticed! This is John’s brand! Who are these geniuses?

The suggestion arose that it could have been a Roderick on the Line listener, because the items they took were exactly the things that an either crazy or diabolical listener would take. His silver bar, his passport, and his dad’s political pins? That is crazy-land! Maybe some listener triangulated to his house and is either obsessed or is such a criminal mastermind that they are mind-gaming him to get his attention. John could not consider that possibility. There are a lot of smart listeners who have myriad talents and he didn’t want to think about this.

If it was a meth head, was there a chance that they just got really lucky? John dismissed that possibility above all else! Because of the way the house was rifled he imagined that it was 3 people. They were unhooking the Sonos system, they had staged a guitar by the back door, but John probably rustled in bed and they got spooked and ran out.

They stole one of John’s Filson bags to put the ingot and the passport in. They had also taken his car keys and ransacked the car, which is why there had to be three of them. There wasn’t anything in the car except some Chinese money that they took.

John didn’t sleep for months, he reinforced all the windows of his house and he re-dug all the tiger traps, but he never felt safe. Fortunately that night his daughter hadn't been staying there and it was just John alone. He felt always a little bit on edge, he was scanning his neighbor’s faces, it was bad!

The police officer said that because they had taken his car keys, they would be coming back to steal the car two days later and he had to get his car re-keyed. There were a lot of things he had to set in motion before he went on the cruise. He called some friends to get his car and his house re-keyed while he was gone, because they had stolen the house keys, too.

The police found a pair of rubber gloves in the garden which was good, because they typically wear rubber gloves to avoid leaving finger prints, but then they take them off and throw them on the ground with finger prints in them. They were going to take the finger prints, open a case, and prosecute if they would get a match, but John was probably never going to see his stuff again.

When John came back from the cruise, he had to go through the whole rigmarole: He got a new CostCo card, got all new credit cards, he changed all his passwords, he had to change all the auto payments to the new credit cards, it was just a major hassle! The worst part was that even after 10 days on the cruise the feeling was still very raw. He couldn’t sleep at night, and was just laying there waiting for them to come back.

John losing his passport (RL176)

John called the detective to whom the case had been assigned, got their voice mail, left a message and never got a call back. He had catalogued all the serial numbers of all the things, he called pawn shops around, but there were no hits! John reconciled himself to the fact that these things were gone, but all year he was walking around and was thinking: ”Passport, come back to me! If you can find me, find me!”

John had lost his first passport at a house party in Moscow, Idaho (see story in RW10 and RW81) and that passport had all the stamps from his first trip overseas back in the day when you would still got a passport stamp if you went from Portugal to Spain or from France to Belgium. There were still passport controls between all those European countries where now there are none.

John was getting all these old-fashioned stamps just prior to the institution of the European Union passport that he later learned to treasure. He had a stamp from Morocco and there was a visa for Algeria in there from the 1980s. John had been to East Germany and East Berlin several times, and all this stuff was in there and he lost this fucking passport at a party because he was drunk and who knows! It haunted him!

John has all his dad’s passports including the first one from 1948 and every subsequent renewal. It makes a little book and he loves them! John wanted the same collection for himself, but the first one, the foundation, the key stone, is gone and now he has lost his third one. Luckily he still has his second one from the Big Walk and the early days of Rock'n'Roll touring, that is a key one!

John really thought that God was trying to teach him something about the impermanence of things. Is the passport meaningless because only the memories matter? And if so, are all material items meaningless? ”Is this you, God? It is me, Margret! Are you trying to slap me across the face with a fish?” God works in mysterious ways and John was sitting on this boat in the middle of the Caribbean, still showered in privilege, his life was great, but he was asking God some serious questions: ”Are you pranking me? And if so, it is a bitter pill to swallow!”

From the burglary on January 30th of 2015 until the end of October John had been telepathically communicating with his passport. He didn't have ”Find my iPhone” for it and ”Find my Apple-stuff” didn’t work either because whoever found those things never turned them on. Merlin’s sense is that people grab whatever is small and valuable that they can sell quickly and then just throw everything else away. There is a very small window of almost no time to get any of it back. Even if you are a dingeling, why would you carry any of these things around? You sell the silver for $20 and why would any of that other stuff ever survive?

Continuing to think who the burglars were (RL176)

If this person was a meth person then they took John's stuff directly to their dealer and said: ”Here is a laptop, will you give me some meth?” and the dealer will give him $100 worth of meth for a $2200 computer. The dealer is then mobbed up with a network of fences and will get $500 from somewhere. The danger in this contemporary world, the world of John Siracusa, is that the laptop will not make its way to a pawn shop, but to a network of Russian hackers who are primarily interested in identity theft.

With that narrative running, they now have his laptop, his passport, his wallet with his enhanced driver’s license and his Goes-Card. John has been pre-security checked and got this secret government card that allows him to go through passport control in major airports without even stopping while 800 people are lined up to go through passport control.

With the combination of these things, some canny identity-theft people could get terrorists onto a plane, start a business under John’s name, and completely take over his life! John is picturing some chop-house outside of Bangkok where they are incising the picture out of his ID and putting in the picture of LeChiff who is then entering the United States illegally to carry out an extra-judicial assassination of some kind. This is bad news!

Whoever they were, they thought to take the passport. They were not just sweeping stuff in, because the passport was in a separate place and they recognized that somewhere between their dealer and the world of fences there is some value in a passport. They didn’t take it because they were enamored with John’s visa from Djibouti. They made a mistake by taking the challenge coins from the drone base in Ethiopia, which don't have much value, but they are just shiny.

That detail is what made John feel like it could have been a Roderick on the Line listener who had gone to the dark side and who was either insane to begin with or had been driven insane by the program and wanted to collect memorabilia of John Roderick from his own house in order to build a scarecrow, a gollum, or an effigy of him that they could use black magic on. When John was thinking about what they stole, he thought he had 4 Scrabble games. Did they take a Scrabble game? That would be an indication that it is an unhinged podcast fan, because that doesn’t have any value on the open market.

Getting a phone call from the Renton Police Department (RL176)

At the end of October of 2015 John was sitting at his desk in his office looking at a picture of a 1978 Mazda RX5 on bring-a-trailer when the phone rang. In a rare instance he picked up the call although it was from an unknown phone number and it was Detective Akamoto from the Renton police department, which got John worried because his house is close enough to Renton. The detective said: ”I think I got a bunch of your stuff! I got a passport, some kind of giant really heavy junk of metal with a bunch serial numbers on it, an iPad and some other shit!”

As it turned out, on January 31st, the day after the burglary, a patrolman in Renton saw a guy sleeping in his car while the car was running. Apparently, sleeping in a running car is suspicious enough for an officer to pull up and see what is going on, which is funny because John has been asleep in a parked car many times in his life and has never been hassled by a cop. The cop saw the guy sleeping in this car with the ignition jimmied, meaning that the car was stolen and he arrested him for car theft.

It is not illegal to be in a stolen car, but it is illegal to be in a stolen car if there is enough sign that the car is stolen. You could legitimately claim that you didn’t know it was stolen and that a guy gave it to you, but if the car has a kitchen knife instead of an ignition key it is fairly reasonable to conclude that you knew it was stolen or you are the stealer of it. The guy also had a meth pipe in the car, which compounded the problem. They impounded the car, they processed the guy for car theft and they prosecuted him and sent him to jail.

Nine months go by and detective Akamoto, who is a car theft detective, was sitting at his desk and got a call from the property room about a closed case. They were cleaning out the shelves and they were sending all this stuff to the dump or the auction house, but there was paperwork and IDs among the stuff that had been in the trunk of this car.

Nobody had connected the car theft and the trunk full of what was clearly somebody else’s shit. Maybe the car stealer was also a house stealer? No-one at the police department did any policing!

John enjoyed talking to Detective Akamoto and learned that he commutes to work on a recumbent bicycle, but what he did not learn was how you could put a bin of shit including other people’s wallets and passports onto the shelf without doing a little bit of research. There was not only John’s passport, but also his enhance driver’s license with his address on it which is about 2 miles (3 km) from the Renton police department.

There was his GOES card and John wanted to called the Department of Homeland Security to cancel it because somebody could use it to infiltrate Al Qaeda members into the USA. The first time he tried there was a scratchy cassette tape and John sat on a phone tree for 45 minutes where they played Elton John’s Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds until and he finally got off. He did that 3 more times, but surrendered eventually. If Al Qaeda would have gotten into the country by using John’s GOES-cards, the responsibility would have been shared between John and the Department of Fucking Homeland Security, an organization he already had a lot of suspicion about. He never cancelled the card and nothing ever made it to the Indian chop shop!

The only thing missing was the laptop which John is 100% sure that the burglar immediately took to the dealer to get some crank. It probably didn't make its way into some kind of identity ring, but you can sell a MacBook Air for something! The Renton cops had not talked to the Seattle cops who were processing the burglary at the same time when they put the stuff from the burglary on a shelf. John doesn’t know how to feel. He really likes Detective Akamoto and pictures him riding to work in the rain with a helmet that has a little rear-view-mirror on it.

Merlin likes the idea of a guy who investigates car thefts all day not having a car. He takes his bike on the train and then rides it from the train station to the police station. He is Japanese, but still a Northwest original. Good on you! The policing is where John feels that some improvement could be done. He doesn’t know whom to hold responsible, but this went into the system as a car theft and the car theft people handle things a certain way and whoever put it in as a car theft didn’t also include the stuff in the trunk. John cannot fathom!

John getting his things back (RL176)

John went down to the Renton police department and got all his stuff back. It was totally surreal! He got his passport back, his dad’s box of pins, his challenge coins, and his Chinese money. The only missing items were his MacBook Air and his Taxi-wallet, but the entire contents of the wallet minus the money was there: All the credit cards, everything! Somebody had taken all the stuff out of the wallet and took the wallet, that is how good Taxi-wallets are, and the Filson briefcase.

When the cops were wandering around in John’s house and he told them that they had taken his Sonos and his silver bar, of course the cops said: ”Oh, a 100 oz (2835 g) silver bar? How convenient!” - ”No, seriously, I used it as a door stop” - ”Did they also take your hope diamond?” - ”No, fucking seriously, it was one of the first things I bought with my own money! Look around the house! There are dolls of all the US presidents here. There is a pair of crossed snow shoes above the fireplace, do you really not believe that I had a 100oz silver bar?” The cop had to admit that it fitted into John’s decor. When John said he was missing a Filson briefcase, the cop said: ”Yeah, they always steal the Filson stuff! It is very identifiable and there is a huge aftermarket for it!”

Detective Akamoto said that the burglar was Cambodian or Laotian, somebody from South-East Asia. As a Japanese he should have his Asian races more dialed than that, but that was not what John had expected. He had pictured three burglars or a maniacal Roderick on the Line listener, but that was now suddenly incorrect. It was a guy from South East Asia and his next-door neighbors are Vietnamese! Wait a minute? Was it one of the low rider guys who hang out over there?

John's whole vision of the crime switched around and he no longer felt like somebody had been casing his house for weeks. Instead it was just a meth crime of opportunity where the person got incredibly lucky and had pried open the one window that was painted shut. John had never opened that window and because he figured it was un-openable he didn’t put an alarm on it, but the rotten sill allowed them to pop it with the shovel and break the paint seal, which was the thing that had woken John up. All he thought was: ”This fucking possum has got to go!”

The Aftermath of the Burglary (RL176)

Now John is made whole again, not only because he has all his shit back, but because he took some time to sit and have a communion with his passport, the challenge coins and all this other crapola. John is also made whole again in the sense that he is no longer laying in bed at night thinking there is a giant conspiracy around his house, imagining Russians in Thailand looking at his house from a satellite, trying to figure out his comings and goings so they can best impersonate him.

It was just a guy who didn’t even have the brains to not fall asleep in his stolen car! One reason crazy people have ingots of silver is because it is imminently sellable. Your crank dealer might give you a couple of hundred bucks for a laptop, but silver is pretty sellable. At the prices of silver at the time it was worth more than the laptop. It is better than currency, because you could even go to the White Homeland with that. This guy was probably not welcome at the White Homeland no matter how much silver he had.

Here John is with his pockets full of challenge coins. The laptop and the Filson bag are gone, but whatever! He got all his Sonos stuff back and doesn’t even know what to do with it.

Calling somebody and telling them that they got all their stuff is the best part of the job for the cops of the Renton police department. John was so grateful, he loved being in the property room and he loved all the cloak and dagger of those guys, which was pretty shabby. You got to buzz through the room and Detective Akamoto had his magnetized security card in some kind of hip holster. Because he was not a tall guy, every time they came to a door he turned around and hiked up his butt to touch it to the reader.

The first time John thought that it was kind of interesting, but then he realized he does it 40 times a day. He turns around, stands up on his tip toes, cocks one ass cheek in the air and sassy-Disco-bonks it onto the reader. All that recumbent biking span off! By the third or fourth time he did it, John thought that the Renton police department had some sassy shit here! There is not so much going on down there that they couldn’t have investigated this crime a little better.

John was so grateful that he didn’t ask if there was a conference room where they could sit down and let John ask him a few questions. They could have saved him 9 months of hurt feelings by solving this crime in one day, but it took them 9 months to realize there had been a crime. The Seattle police department never returned John’s phone calls and by all accounts did never any investigation of any kind. Detective Akamoto was excited because they might have finger prints and might be able tie this crime to the guy. He sounded giddy, but you have to be giddy to ride an recumbent bike to work every day!

John telling the story to his audience on the JoCo Cruise (JoCo2015)

Through the entire time of their podcast, part of John's persona has been that he keeps an impenetrable castle at home. He has tiger pits around his house, he has an umbrella stand by the front door that is full of swords and he keeps his house secure in every way. Despite all that, the day before the cruise his home was burgled while he was asleep upstairs. They stole all his stuff in the middle of the night!

The burglars came in via the one window that John thought he didn’t need to double-secure because it is facing the street. His entire shtick, which is that his house is a fortress, has been dispelled! He often lays in bed and is thinking deep thoughts of all the ways he would dispatch a bank robber with the pens in the bank if he happened to be there. They wouldn’t die, but he would just keep them at a pressure point with a thrown ball point.

Now he can’t even indulge in any of his hero fantasies anymore, because he was robbed under his own nose. He is finally at the age where he also contemplates death with every step he takes (Merlin lets himself fall off the sofa and the audience is laughing quite hard). He is also increasingly aware that none of his theories work. So what is next?

The worst part is that John heard them making noise downstairs! Because there had been a possum living in the walls of his house for the last month, he was thinking that the fucking possum must have brought a friend and maybe they were mating in the walls and he had to go on that cruise with possums fucking in his walls. John told himself that he had to go back to sleep and not think about it because he could not solve this problem during the next 12 hours, and he rolled over and went back to sleep.

John found a rare ghost of sanity in the midst of madness and he was not going to be a crazy person who would think that there were possums in the wall having sex. He could have gotten up, pounded on the wall and yelled ”Fucking possums!”, which he had done 6 nights in a row prior, but he just picked the wrong night to stop being crazy and thought: ”Okay, I surrender, possums! You are God’s creatures, come and live in my house with me!”, but in fact what he had heard were people downstairs rifling through his boxes of Hubert Humphrey for president pins. They were choosing thieves who picked only the good stuff and left all the Nixon memorabilia behind. It is tough and John is really chewing on it. They didn’t take the swords, but they probably picked up each sword and laughed.

To find out if this was an outside job or a pseudo-inside job, John ran through his life in a fast-flash, as he does every night, and realized that he had reached that perfect moment in his life where he no longer has any crackhead friends. Even 5 years ago, there were 3 or 4 guys who probably could have done something like this, but now he doesn’t know anybody who knows where he lives and who is also capable of stealing his stuff.

Can there be a podcast listener who is also a burglar and who just happens to listen to podcasts where people are talking a little bit too much about their life? John didn’t even look if his vintage Playboys were still there! Being a meth addict and a locksmith at the same time would be the best combination, because you would be in this perfect circle of: ”Now I practice locksmithery, now I smoke crank, now I practice locksmithery…” It is entirely possible that John has been robbed by a fan who wanted to teach him a lesson. It could have been a rival podcast like Jesse Thorn looking for a new straw, but Merlin will let Jesse know when he is a rival.

John does not care about all the stuff that got stolen except for one thing: They also took his passport which he had spent 10 years meticulously filling with stamps. John would go through customs, hand his passport to the guy and tell him: ”Sir, actually I know exactly where I want that stamp!” This passport had only 2 months until it expired and John should have put it upstairs in the file of retired passports, which also contains a bunch of other people’s expired passports, but he was keeping it down on the dining room table because he likes to look at it while he is having lunch.

They took John's passport just because God was trying to teach him an inscrutable lesson about humanity that he cannot parse. When Merlin and John did a live performance in San Francisco recently, they talked about passports (see SFS2015). Maybe the answer is to surrender? Not in a bad way, but dive off the back of the boat and just float, looking up at the stars until you will be eaten by a wheel shark which do not eat humans. Maybe things do not happen for a reason a lot of the time and there is no lesson to be learned here? John did what he could, bad things happen, and this isn’t a punishment because he did nothing wrong, he didn’t earn it and he can’t be sad.

John getting a new passport after the burglary (JoCo2015)

After the burglary, John had a moment when he thought he should not go on the cruise, because instead of spending his last day picking out matching bowties with pants, he was getting a new passport. It is a fantastic experience where you learn so much about America and about the way that people who do the same job every day do not feel like today is a special day. The people at the passport office did not think that John’s problem was a special problem, but for them it is the same old problem.

They have never worked with anybody who was happy to be working with them and your entire experience with that person is gauged by how little time you are in their life. She never hears about anything but other people’s emergencies and it is her fault all day long. The doors close at 1pm, it was 12:45pm and at that moment the guy John was dealing with decided that he needed to replace all the paper clips in his paper clip thing before they could go any further. John had to be in that moment with him, he did see that his paper clips needed dealing with, and he is not the one who is ineffectually yelling at the passport office guy because he knows that it is only going to slow it down.

The decision to go on the JoCo Cruise was now being made for him by a chain of bureaucrats, each one of them having to decide at a certain point that they want to do the next thing. John was at the DMV, at the passport office, and at the Federal Express place. Every step of the way, people at the very last minute were like: ”Oh, the last paper clip is in the box and I will stamp your thing” and John could go to the next window. He flowed along like jelly fish in an ovulated bowl, just waiting for the rocks, abrading on the rocks each time, but he never disintegrated and just kept flowing.

Dan hearing about the story on the show (RW10)

Dan is glad that John got his stuff back, but what John really got back was the feeling of security. Getting the passport back was the number one thing that he really cared about. The Sonos stuff is nice and he got those pins back that weren't replaceable but also didn't really matter, but the passport mattered and more importantly: John had the sense that his house was under siege, that it was vulnerable, that he was vulnerable, that somebody could just be in his house while he was there and he didn't know about it. It plagued him for months!

Now 94% of it has been lifted, but there is still that thing that this guy did get into John’s house once and it was just down to the luck of the Renton police department that he suffered any consequences. It is an amazing story with lots of little twists! Dan had a friend in Orlando who had a tiny little one-room studio apartment and somebody broke into it while he was asleep and took stuff like his wallet out of his jeans and his bike that was only feet away from where he slept. Talk about messing with you!

Over the years John has been robbed a lot of times when he was sleeping outside and when he woke up his shit was gone or he variously woke up with somebody standing over him in the process of stealing his shit, trying to figure out how to get the stuff that was actually on his person (Story from Avignon, see RL29, SL180).

This burglary however was after John had secured his perimeter not just in the short term, but in the long term. Psychologically he had communicated to his entire neighborhood through various means that not only were they not to rob him, but they were not even to park across the street from his house with their stereos on.

They understood that this one house was occupied by someone who cannot be known predictably and who is a little crazy. Sometimes he is missing one of his teeth and his hair is sometimes really long and sometimes it is really short, and every once in a while he runs for public office, but that doesn't stop him from walking down the middle of the street in his bathrobe. Pick another house to rob!

John apparently didn't communicate this widely enough and the guy who robbed his house wasn't even from the neighborhood! He was just a bad guy, a young coyote who had been kicked out of his coyote tribe by the lead dog. He had come of age, they kicked him out, and he was wandering the plains, looking for his own spirit quest.

His place right now is the Renton City Jail, which is where he belongs, and he is going to learn all kinds of bad habits in there. John is not worried about him, but he is worried about the security of his compound. He got a certain amount of that back, but it is never going to come back entirely. At least he can stop staring at his neighbors, wondering whether they were complicit somehow.

When Dan told the story about having a tarantula in his garage (see RW2), John doesn’t know if he would ever sleep comfortably again if that happened to him. Dan doesn’t equate that to what John went through, but he knows the feeling from other things that have happened to him of that kind. There is something about your house: You imagine it to be a sanctuary and you want it to be safe and you want to feel like the things that you set down in your house are going to stay where you put them.

To have that happen while John was in there is the creepy part. If he had gone on his upcoming trip and come back and his stuff was dismissing, it would still be pretty bad, but it would have been better!

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