Thursday, May 14, 2009

What I Have In Common With Lindsay Lohan

I didn't star in "Mean Girls", I've never been on Maxim's list of the 100 sexiest women in the world. I've never been to rehab, and I've never been arrested for drunk driving. But...

Late one evening several years ago, I returned home to my apartment in Hoboken, and realized suddenly that I was supposed to catch a flight to Santa Barbara (Station Q) early the next morning. I packed quickly and flopped into bed, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before my alarm went off.

Unfortunately, downstairs, (and unbeknownst to me at the time), the basement of my building was being burglarized. Some workmen, earlier in the day had (probably intentionally), left a back door unlocked. Fortunately, the woman who lived on the first floor heard something and called the police. The men in blue showed up quickly and chased the burglar up a few flights of stairs. Somehow the burglar gave the police the slip and left the police puzzled. "Perhaps he went into one of the apartments in the building", they must have thought... so they tried all the doors. Sure enough.. my door was open. Since I had gotten home late, I had actually forgotten to lock my door. The police invited themselves in, flashlights on, guns drawn.

"Hoboken Police! Who's in here!".

(If I were a bad guy with a gun, these cops were toast -- but in fact, i was just a regular sleeping guy.... actually, if i were a bad guy, maybe i would have locked the door behind me so the police couldn't get in... but then again, maybe bad guys are all stupid).

I think if I had been more awake I would have been rather startled by police with flashlights and guns in my apartment, but I was so asleep that I didn't even know what to think. I got out of bed (mostly undressed) and stumbled out of the bedroom

"Who are you?!"

they demanded.

"I live here." I said. "What's going on?".

I couldn't see anything at all. They kept shining the flashlight on me... then around the apartment. Then on me again.

"Do you have any identification?".

I always kept my passport in my desk drawer... which I happened to be standing next to... so I got it out, and handed it to the officer. He inspected it closely then said....

"This place looks ransacked! have you been burglarized?"

... I looked around and said

"No officer, my place usually looks like this."

Alas, it was a constant battle to keep my Hoboken apartment from turning into a pigsty -- a battle that, as my friends know well, I frequently lost.

(Now that I have moved to Oxford, I'm actually doing much better keeping clean... [particularly this week being that my parents are visiting]... probably I'm cleaner because I have much more space... and much less junk).

The police asked me if I was certain that I hadn't been burglarized. I said again, that the mess was my natural habitat. The officers looked around the apartment some more to see if anyone was hiding under the mess (no one was). They explained that they were chasing a burglar (who by this time, I'm sure, was long gone), they walked out and said "Remember to lock your door!"

So what does Lindsay Lohan have in common with me?

According to this news report several days ago, the police arrived at Lindsay Lohan's apartment and discovered an enormous mess:
the mess inside the starlet's home prompted officers to ask, "Is it normally like this, or did the intruders do it?"
Apparently, there was no intruder --- the mess was her natural habitat.

Who knew that Lindsay and I were so similar? I wonder what she thinks about the relative merits of variational trial wavefunctions versus perturbative expansions.

PS: Truth in advertising: I'm not sure the police had their guns drawn in my apartment. This is sort of how I remember it, but if pressed, I'm not certain about this part of the story.

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