One Night in Parkhurst…

The lights went out. That’s what happens occasionally in Johannesburg for any number of reasons and last night, Thursday, was the night the lights went out in Parkhurst. The suburb was incredibly dark, the streets pretty menacing in their blackness. If you happened to look up at the sky the stars were an incredible sight to behold, bright bold and beautiful but who looks up when you are not sure what could possibly be lurking in the street with you?
My house is pretty similar to most of the others in my street, it has a serious big driveway gate topped with spikes, inset into a tall menacing wall, all crowned with an electric fence that under normal circumstances would be humming away into the night, but for some reason wasn’t last night. In fact, nothing was working last night, the entire system had crashed including the battery back up that should have allowed us to still open the gate regardless of there being no power running to it.
I had been forewarned that there was no electricity and that the gate wasn’t opening so it wasn’t a surprise when I got home to darkness. I had called my housemate who was still at work late in the evening to please meet me at the house so that we could make a plan to get into the house, we had to “break in”. He was waiting for me when I pulled up outside the house and the two of us stood outside looking at Fort Knox brainstorming the way in. Not having criminal minds the solution isn’t always so obvious, particularly when there is an electric fence to surmount as well.
The end result of our cat burglar debate was that he would go over the gate, the spikes and the electric fence and somehow override the motor on the gate so that we could get onto the property. Seemed simple enough but first we gingerly had to explore if the fence was live, and believe me I had no intention of testing it. We all know that touching live wires is a man’s job, well in my house it is even when I am standing outside the house in the street in darkness. Being the boy scout that he is, he came equipped with a bright torch and of a course, a panga (machete), you never know when you are going to need a rubber handled panga to touch an electric fence with. A sigh of relief when we finally decided the fence was not live and he was about to do the boy thing and climb over. Wait, you cannot go I said. I will be left standing in the street outside the house in the dark all on my own, it’s a girl thing and I have seen allllllll the movies! Who knows Jason could be stalking the streets of Parkhurst tonight and Valentine’s Day is not far off and I was not going to be standing there by myself with him somewhere on the other side of the wall. So I called the security company and then the party started.
I am pretty sure my very calm words to the lady who answered the phone were “please could you send someone to wait with me, while we attempt to break into my house” and I gave her the address. Housemate and I then set about finalizing plans for the break in and waited until company arrived before he could attempt to summit Mount Everest.
Within minutes a security vehicle pulled up screeching, and then another one arrived. Followed by another and another and another, followed by a couple of police vehicles and one or two other security companies, and a neighbour or two. Pretty shortly the smell of burned rubber, overworked clutches and testosterone was very strong in the air and we were magically surrounded by men with very big guns and body armour. I guess when calling ones security company the two words “Break and in” should not be used unless of a dire emergency and I felt like a complete tit having caused this adrenalin fueled mayhem and shattering the calm peace of the night. I have to say they all, including the police went off with good grace having seen the humour in the situation and not hauling me off to jail for almost being the girl who cried wolf.

Two vehicles remained shining their very bright light up the drive way, whilst my housemate scaled the gate. He very nearly managed to remove the family jewels at their root on the spikes, but luckily only ended up tearing a teeny tiny little hole in his jeans. Following which he, hey presto, opened the gate and we could drive both vehicles in and park for the evening, smiles on our faces and mine still a pretty deep shade of red.
Of course five minutes after we walked into the very dark house the electricity was restored……

A very big thank you to Cortac and the South African Police Service for their incredibly rapid response, you guys were amazing of course to my housemate who thankfully today is not speaking with a squeaky voice.

Note to self and all of you out there: Maintenance is required on the security system and peripheral devices