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Archive for November, 2008

Pepper spray is not enough.

After my neighbor (who I had never met) climbed onto my balcony and let himself into my house, drunk, while I was home alone–after he did that–I started carrying a can of pepper spray and my cell phone, on me, at all times.  Even if I was just going from the kitchen to the bathroom, I brought both these items with me.  I even slept with them.

One night I woke at 5 in the morning and could hear people talking on the other side of the wall.  Perhaps it was simply my paranoia, but it sounded like they were talking about me, about how I was scared of them, and how I thought they were all drug addicts, and some of the men joked about coming over to my place and bringing me back to their apartment right then.  They thought the whole thing was hilarious.  I called up my friend who lived down the street and had him come over to pick me up right then, at 5 in the morning.  I felt like a fool, but I also felt powerless and vulnerable.

This couldn’t go on.  Even if it was all in my head and I wasn’t actually going to get raped and murdered from an unwanted visitor in the middle of the night, I would probably die from a heart attack fearing it.

And yet, at the same time I wondered if I was just completely overreacting.  But then I’d say, “Well, it’s better safe than sorry.”

I started looking at new places.  I found one to look at two streets down and one world’s longest city block away from my current place (I fucking kid you not, check it out here http://www.wvtourism.com/spec.aspx?pgID=82, and control F “block”).  Maybe if the place had just been two streets down and a normal-sized city block away, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference, but I tell ya, the place I checked out was in a safer-looking part of town.  People owned nice cars and there was a dentist’s office across the street (I have no clue why I found that comforting).  The apartment was one of four subdivisions in an old, historic house.  I told the landlord that I liked it and that I wanted to move in as soon as possible.  I explained my current situation to him.

“Oh, well then you should probably hear why the previous tenant decided to leave…” he told me.

“Why’s that?” I wondered.

“She got shot at, through the front door.” He showed me where the bullet hole had been covered up with a piece of wood, nailed into the door.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

But then he explained that it had been people she knew, people she got mixed up with, and that he was going to get a lock put on the front building door.  

I took it.

About a week later, I was going back to my first place one last time, to sweep and vaccum it before I handed back the keys to my old landlord.  Everything had already been moved except a couple things, some gold and glass end tables, a sofa bed that was too heavy to move, and a large, heavy fake wood panelled television–all of which had already been in the house when I moved in.  I had planned on putting them on craigslist and trying to sell them, but hadn’t gotten around to it.  

As soon as I opened the door to my now old apartment, I noticed that the TV was gone.  Someone had broken in and somehow lugged that thing out within the few days since I had moved out.  The door had been locked, and nothing was broken, but the back window, the one that was accessible from my neighbor Elvis (the one who had walked into my apartment uninvited)’s balcony, was unlocked.  I assume whoever took the TV came in through that window, and walked out with the TV through one of the doors.

At this point, I was very happy that I had decided to move.  A break in… creepy. And it proved that my neighbors could have easily gotten into my house whenever they wanted to.  I headed back to my new apartment with a sense of relief.

That night I would discover that my new apartment was infested with roaches.

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