Guess what I learned last night.
I learned that secretly climbing onto the roof of my 1939 condo building’s long, old detached garage and moving silently but swiftly down the length of it was pretty easy. Of course, not getting stabbed by the tree branches at the far end as I swung myself down over the edge was a little tricky. Also, the kinda sharp edge of the open drainpipe didn’t make my fingers feel very good. But I did okay.
What was going to be more of a challenge was getting up on the higher roof of my neighbor’s garage. I was about to tackle it next, but changed my mind when I realized that 1) to climb the wall I’d have to step up on a metal pipe and then grab the metal edge of the roof, which might not be a good idea because 2) one hell of an electrical storm was brewing overhead.
So my neighbor’s roof will have to wait for another night.
My neighbor’s name is Bob. He’s a very mellow nice guy with long hair, a rebel’s spirit, and a passion for rebuilding vintage cars. He lives in one of the old Victorian houses that have their backs to the same alley which runs alongside my building. His garage that contains all his car and motorcycle parts is a free-standing ramshackle thing, and on its fairly high roof are a few old shoes and a brick that I assumed Bob threw up there. For some reason, I’ve never asked him about the boots-on-roof décor. For some other odd reason I now find myself wanting to get up on that roof, at night, unseen, and do something with those dang boots.
I figure it’d be a good Layla exercise. Moving stealthily around in the dark can be an art in itself. For these garage roofs I didn’t need my night vision monocular since there’s more than enough ambient light, but no doubt I’ll be using it for upcoming tougher challenges.
In this same vein, I went down to a fancy shopping area in Denver yesterday afternoon and checked out a couple little buildings. One is an art gallery and next to it is a smaller building that now has a restaurant/bar as a tenant but used to be occupied by an expensive Native American jewelry store. The jewelry store closed a couple years ago after burglars broke into it via the roof and made off with a hundred thousand dollars worth of merchandise.
It was easy to check out the roofs of both the stores because both are one-story buildings and across the street from them is a four-story shopping and parking structure. I walked up the structure’s outside ramp, and as soon as I got up there and looked down I knew that this was exactly how the jewel thieves cased their target. I mean, I could see everything.
On the art gallery’s roof is an enclosed deck, which helps make the building more secure. The former jewelry store, in contrast, has the usual flat industrial roof with a few vents and metal do-dads (very handy to wrap ropes around for climbing), but more importantly a very large vent that even a full-sized man could fit through.
No wonder jewel and art thieves often choose roofs as their entry way. And Layla certainly knows the value of getting into a building via the upper windows (so often left unlocked). And since Layla is good at getting up there, I have to keep developing my own second story skills.
On a side note: This last Friday I took the free compass and map reading class at REI. Though I’ve always been pretty good with topographical map reading, only now do I know how to use a compass on a map to get pretty precise bearings. I also finally understand declination and how to adjust for it. Nice to make some progress at something.