It was already a restless night with several bizarre dreams and a headache that wouldn't go away, so I was in no frame of mind to receive a 5am phone call. All of my family members are either in Pennsylvania or Illinois, and calls at that hour usually mean bad news. But my family knows to call my cell. This was my home phone.
The handset on my home phone is broken, so I can't answer the phone. I have to wait for the caller to leave a message. This is the message I received:
"This is an emergency message from the Los Angeles Police Department. In the past three hours, LAPD's Hollywood Division has had approximately 11 suspicious vehicle fires. You are requested to report any suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1, or (800 number)."
I've lived in Hollywood for 16 years and have never once received an emergency message phone call from the LAPD. To say it was disconcerting is an understatement. As I climbed back under the covers to try to get that last hour of sleep before my alarm, I heard a series of sirens, helicopters, and police cars racing by. Needless to say, I didn't get that last hour of sleep in. To make matters worse, my friend's car is parked at my place while she's back east visiting her family, so I lay awake listening for strange noises out front and periodically checking to make sure our cars were not, in fact, on fire.
It seems like the arsonists were concentrating on cars parked under buildings in carports, with the exception of Jim Morrison's former "Love Street" home, which sustained damage from a car fire that did not start in a garage. I'm selfishly glad I park on the street and right across from the Hollywood Division station. My heart is going out to all those people whose cars were destroyed and apartments damaged.