Wednesday, July 25, 2012

College Instructor Turned Ninja?

by Alan Kandel

I consider myself to be a relatively decent writer. I stick to composing non-fiction-type material because it’s what I believe I do best when it comes to the type of writing I do. Fictional writing, … well, it just isn’t who I am.

Being that’s the case, the story presented below will no doubt astonish and seemingly bordering on incredulity, yet the events I’m about to reveal are true.

Okay. I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. Here’s what happened.

There was a time when I was teaching college in Long Beach (California). I taught in Cal State’s Engineering and Industrial Technology Department. It was a part-time gig and being that I was in the southern Calif. community for three or four days every week during my stint depending on semester worked, this, in fact, necessitated that I rent an apartment. It was either this or live out of a motel room. I opted for the apartment.

The place I rented was a former garage detached from the main house that was situated in front. The garage had both an upstairs and down. My apartment was on the ground-floor level. At any rate, it had a kitchen, bathroom and main living space, which, seconded as a bedroom. Nothing unusual there - that’s typical for studio apartment-style living. The apartment was small, yes, but it had all the comforts of home.

It was during the fall of 1987 to almost summer 1988, so, we’re talking quite some time ago.

At the time, I also happened to be practicing karate-do at not only the college, but also in Santa Monica at the International Shotokan Karate Federation dojo (training facility) located in that extremely well known seaside town.

Meanwhile, the drive to and from my home in Fresno each week got rather tiresome, rather quickly, in fact. The redeeming part of the commute, on the other hand, was that gas was affordable – none of this $4-plus per gallon stuff.

Sometime between the beginning and middle of the spring semester, I got out of my apartment contract because on more than a few weekends, someone (or someones) had helped themselves to one garage-turned-studio-apartment – mine!, presumably courtesy of whomever had an extra key and presumably free of charge, I might add. My guess is the landlord left entry keys with the occupants of the house in front. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the place one calls home (even if it’s their home away from home as in this case), had been frequented by one or more uninvited guests multiple times, in fact. Upon my return, I would find my personal effects not exactly as I left them. So, what I did was I alerted the landlord and to remedy the situation I requested that the locks be changed.
Backtracking a bit, when I first moved in, I was issued two keys: one for the deadbolt lock and the other for the lock placed on the door below that.

I thought this was going to take care of the problem. Was I ever wrong! Instead of the locks being changed, here’s what was done. The key I was already issued that originally unlocked the bottom lock could now not only open the bottom one but could also open the top, deadbolt lock too. Like that’s really going to help! Imagine what my reaction must have been when I learned this. Pure disbelief!

To add insult to injury, it was suggested to me (and I won’t say by whom) that I pretend like I’m leaving for Fresno for the weekend but instead of doing this, I should park my car far enough away from my apartment, walk back to the apartment without being spotted, ninja- and stealth-like, if you get my drift, make sure all the apartment’s interior lights remain off, and when the unwelcome intruder or intruders showed up, surprise! Hit ‘em in the head with a baseball bat! Of all the hair-brained ideas I’ve heard, this has to take the cake!

So, with that said, and having had just about enough, I moved out. The nerve of some people!

In hindsight, if nothing else, this makes for a good story. Trust me when I tell you I couldn’t make this stuff up. Fictional writing just isn’t my forte.

And as for the landlord and the one offering the less-than-sagely advice, well if you really must know, I’ll clue you in; I am now shaking my head from side to side.

Copyright © Alan Kandel. July 25, 2012.

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