Sometime during the day (January 3, 2020 for the record), unbeknownst to us, a random man in a random van parked across the street from our house. This time of year, it is no surprise to see cars lined up along the street with empty bike racks, adventurers off on an epic ride leaving their car behind for our safe keeping. Ordinarily this unspoken agreement between out-of-towners and locals goes well – right up until it does not. This is my story.
So, Van Man, or Bike Dude as we will now refer to him, parked his van innocently under the big oak tree. Upon leaving, he secured his belongings and set his high dollar car alarm. Aware he was parked so near the border, he made sure his van was safe from traveling marauders.
He was right about marauders except these four-legged ones were scrounging under his van for the crumbs of his pre-ride Cliff bar and whatever else javalinas scrounge around for at one a.m.
Now, Patagonia isn’t somewhere where you hear car alarms. The locals don’t use them. So, when the screeching, honking, night penetrating sound of a car alarm goes off at 1 a.m. you hear it. We both woke up and realized it was a car alarm. We also both had the rational thought that surely someone accidentally set it off, it would stop, we would drift off back to sleep and all would be right with the world. It paused and we both began to relax – at last, peace. What we didn’t know is somewhere in the manufacturing of the alarm they decided to add a 30 second pause. It started up again.
This time we both got up and made our way to the sound. The horror. Right out our front window, parked across the street was the van, lights blinking, horn honking and alarm blaring. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought I saw javalinas running in all directions. We went back to bed. What could we do? This went on for 5 HOURS.
We lay in bed listening to the alarm, almost syncing our breathing to the honk, honk, honk. I scrounged around for ear plugs. Praying for mercy. Then the 30 second pause would happen. A gift and perhaps a promise of ending this descent into madness. Nope it would start up again. Honk, honk, honk, honk, honk, honk.
Sometime in the wee hours of the morning we discussed how to end this ourselves. We’d have to break a window, open the hood and disconnect the battery. We could call the police. We both realized if there was an officer on duty, he would have surely heard this by now and dealt with it. (We would later find out that there was nothing they could have done anyway.)
By 5:45am I was suffering from extreme madness and called the Marshall anyway. I explained what Bike Dude (by this point we were referring to him in a more derogatory manner) had done and what was happening now. He vowed to come and handle it, but before he could make his way here the alarm suddenly stopped. We were giddy. We were sleepy. We were pissed. I wrote a sharply worded letter and taped it to his van. We hoped that his battery was dead.
This is not the end of the story. His van went on to terrorize McKeown Avenue for several more hours. The alarm mysteriously started up again. The Marshall did get in contact with Bike Dude and he ended our suffering finally by driving that menace away.
I have decided to watch a few YouTube videos about dismantling car alarms and I’m investing in a baseball bat. I realize how important biking is to our economy. I also realize how important it is to have a good night’s sleep.