I just finished reading DCup's entertaining post on PoliTits, regarding her adventure with a billboard. It brought back unpleasant memories of my own billboard escapade.
The year I was 15, I was living in L.A. in a teensy 3 room apartment with my mother, my two younger sisters, my mother's sister and her two pre-teen boys. Our filthy little hellhole was on the second floor and the bathroom window looked out on a vacant lot. There was a large billboard right next to the building, and the local fire station was located on the other side of the empty lot.
Note: I walked past the fire station whenever I had the opportunity, because there were often some very cute firemen hanging out by the door, and sometimes they would talk to me, which was very exciting. But I digress.
One day when I got home from school I found my sisters and cousins, who got out of school earlier than I did, sitting at the top of the stairs, in front of the apartment door, unable to get inside because the door key was not under the mat, where it belonged. My mother was at work and my aunt was not at work, since she had never worked a day in her life, but she wasn't home either, because she was out screwing around somewhere. So...what to do? The kids were hungry and/or had to go to the bathroom. They looked expectantly at me. "Don't worry, I'll think of something."
Eureka! "I'll climb in the bathroom window!"
"How are you going to do that?" Sister Judy asked. "Climb up the wall, like a fly?" Sarcastic little twit.
"No, silly. I'll just climb up the back of the billboard and then reach across to the window. I can hold on to the post with one hand and open the window with the other." NO PROBLEM! We all trooped down the stairs and around the building to the base of the billboard. There was a latticework of boards in the back that looked much less like ladder material than I had hoped. But there was no backing out now. Three of the four witnesses seemed to think I could do it. Only Judy was skeptical. I had to prove her wrong. So I started climbing. I hoisted myself up onto the first horizontal board, about four feet off the ground. So far, so good. Only about 20 feet to go. The next level was much harder, but I made it. Then I made the colossal mistake of looking down. I saw four anxious faces looking up at me and heard a chorus of "Be careful" and "Don't fall!" Then I saw the ground, which looked very far away. Then I looked up at the bathroom window, which looked even farther away. Then I froze. Then I cried. "I'm stuck! I'm scared!" The kids started yelling and before long the trusty firefighters heard the commotion. One of them hurried over to us and Judy told him our sorry tale. "Don't worry, honey," he called up to me. "We'll get you down. And we'll get your door open, too." He ran back to the station and before I could will myself to go ahead and die of embarrassment, he returned, in a firetruck, with hook, ladder and another fireman. Fireman A placed the ladder against the billboard, plucked me off of my unsteady perch and handed me down to Fireman B. Then our heroes leaned the ladder against the side of our building and Fireman A scrambled up it and entered the window. Did I mention that our apartment was filthy little hellhole? We kids ran around to the front of the building and saw poor F.A. emerging from the front door. He looked shellshocked. He had just walked through the filthy bathroom, the filthy bedroom where Pissaunt and her boys slept and the messy (not filthy, because I cleaned it once in a while) living room where Mom and we three girls slept, and no doubt had gotten a glimpse of the disasterous kitchen.
I avoided walking by the fire station after that.