I wrote this on Friday morning at about 3:00 a.m.
I’ve probably just had the most immediately frightening experience of my life: a little before 2:00 a.m., I’m mostly asleep when I hear someone running up the stairs to my apartment. This is doubly curious because my neighbor, Josh, moved out a few days ago. Some guy starts pounding on my door, demanding that I open up. This scares me, I shout at him that I’m calling 911 (which I do), and tell the dispatcher where I am. The guy is yelling stuff like “open up.”
I grab the couch and push it in the front of the door and grab the chair and push it in front of the couch.
In the meantime, the pounding is sometimes louder, sometimes not, and the guy is shouting things like, “open up,” “I’ll kick your ass,” “open the door and I won’t kill you,” and “if you don’t open the door, I’m going to fucking kill you.”
I pile books on the couch. Hundreds, probably. Heavy library ones, hardcovers, paperbacks, whatever I can grab off the shelves.
Does this guy have some kind of mental illness?
Most of the time I’m not piling books, because there are only so many I can pile before they slide off the couch. Instead I’m hovering at the border between my bedroom (where there’s a window) and the common room (where I can dash for the door). I have a chef’s knife but this is Tucson, where everyone is armed. You know how they say don’t bring a knife to a gunfight? I like it better as a metaphor.
If he breaks down the door and comes in, I’ll flee out my window. If he breaks the window, I’ll try for the door, which I’ve barricaded, which means I’m probably done.
The Tucson PD shows up about 14 minutes (thanks iPhone! And 14 minutes? WTF?) after my initial call to 911. I hear a cop shout for the guy to come down. I am never happier to hear or learn about a cop in my life. I thank the dispatcher profusely. She kept saying things like, “I can’t hear the guy shouting” and variations thereof while we were waiting. In other words, she thought I might be crazy. But a cop did get here.
Eventually Officer Miller knocks on the door, and I open my window (since the door is barricaded) to talk to him. He says the guy is drunk off his ass and thought my apartment was his buddy’s apartment. Next time I worry about the caliber of my friends, I’ll think of this guy. Meanwhile, I’m still fucking terrified, as you probably would be in the circumstances. The adrenaline still hasn’t worn off as I write this. I’m writing in lieu of sleeping because sleep isn’t an option right now.
The guy did some damage to my door, which still shuts, sort of, for the time being. I have a victim report number for the apartment management. When Miller said that he was just some drunk fool, I was relieved. Miller’s observation: if this had been his house, the guy would’ve been staring down the barrel of a gun. My observation: I start to see the appeal of gun ownership.
Miller goes down to his car to do whatever cops do. There’s also a cute blond cop; she comes up to ask a few questions, leaves. She’s not much older than me, if at all, and reminds me a bit of my students, except she’s strapped. Too bad I’m seeing someone. I start cleaning up all those books.
Nothing like a stranger threatening to kill you to make your night more interesting.
And now my library is totally out of order.