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You could be in grave...dangeuh

You guys, I had the weirdest night last night. I wanted to watch the solstice eclipse because, you know, once in a lifetime event. It was cold and rainy and we had a lot of cloud cover, so of course we couldn't see much. And my stupid neighbor with the 8 million watt garage lights never turned them off, so viewing was hard (I'm also on a corner, with two streetlights on each end of my property). It would start raining and spatter my glasses as I was looking up, so I would go back inside, wait, and then go back out.

At one point, I think around 11:30, I heard this horrible thumping from a house across the street -- that doesn't do it much justice. It sounded like a structure collapsing, something huge being thrown at a wall. And then screaming, and more of the crashing. Then more screaming, my neighbor's voice yelling, "Stop it! Just stop!" Where I live, some of my neighbors and I call it the single ladies' corner -- there are five of us in the immediate corner who all own our own houses. It's kind of funny. But that house has had different tenants over the years, which I found out last summer when I finally, after years, met my neighbor, and she told me that there had indeed been many different people there as she was subletting it while she was in developing countries like Kazakhstan doing democracy development.

I had this moment of disorientation and then I ran in the house and called 911. Right before I called, I heard her scream, "Just die already," which gave me pause. The cops came within about two minutes, and within another minute there were three squad cars. It's hard to figure out which house it is but I pointed at it, probably looking like a freak with my black jacket and hood up, pointing like the ghost of Christmas future or something.

I kept stepping outside to look at the eclipse, but by penumbra it was completely covered with clouds (fucking Seattle, man). After about 45 minutes I gave up. I saw the one original car was still there. They had asked me on the phone if I had seen or heard anything else there, and I did mention that one night she was walking her dog by my house, sobbing uncontrollably (I was outside and it was dark, so I doubt she realized I was there), but I didn't mention another time I'd seen her in a car with a guy in a store parking lot, and there was a weird, scary vibe from him and she was sitting in the car looking pissed and crying while he got out and went inside. I've often heard a guy shouting over there, but I know she has people over to watch sporting events all the time, so I have chalked it up to that.

After a while, the cops knocked on my door, and they told me that everything was okay, and she was really embarrassed because she was alone, and apparently she's going through a really difficult situation with someone who's dying, and there are disagreements over care and whatnot (which, something I'm all too well aware of). She was having a bit of a breakdown, they said, and I felt so awful. The one cop kept reassuring me that I should call anytime I hear something weird, and I told him I was just really worried because the pounding sound was so incredibly loud that it sounded like someone was being badly hurt -- and that I was flinchy from my previous neighbors, who really did try to kill each other. They kept telling me it was okay, and she even told them to please let the person who called know she was all right, but man, I felt so stupid. They were really nice about it, but I just...

I feel like I've only added to her burden. I mean, intellectually, I know I did the right thing -- it really sounded horrible. This is a super quiet neighborhood (except for me, apparently, being the person in whose yard someone was arrested with the K9 unit a few years ago!), so things like this are really amplified, and it's late at night, when me and only a couple other neighbors are even awake. I would want someone, if they heard screaming and pounding in my house, to call the cops. And yet I feel stupid and terrible.

My subject line is me trying to make myself laugh about it. Since my icon has Christopher Walken in it, I was thinking about my favorite Saturday Night Live skit, with Jay Mohr doing his Walken impersonation -- Christopher Walken's Psychic Friends Network. It's a call-in show with his guests, Todd Bridges and Crispin Glover, and they're telling you to call now for your psychic reading: "You could be... in grave... dangeuh." I die every time. Maybe I should buy a little something-something and leave it on the doorstep when she's gone.


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Dec. 21st, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
You absolutely did the right thing by calling.
Think how you would have felt if you hadn't called and someone had been killed or something.
(It makes me really angry when people see something bad happening and do nothing; much better to overreact - and this wasn't even an overreaction, because it sounded so bad.)

Edited at 2010-12-21 08:13 pm (UTC)
Dec. 21st, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
Ya done good, stop fretting.


Dec. 21st, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
Holy moly! You totally did the right thing, and it sounds like the neighbor is totally aware that you were making sure she was safe. Single ladies gotta look out for each other.

It might even have given her a chance to calm down a bit to have someone break through her hysteria, even if it was the cops. And if the cops were that good with reassuring you, they were probably decent to her.

Poor woman. What she's dealing with sounds awful. I don't think a little gift would go amiss, though you don't have to due to guilt.
Dec. 21st, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
Adding my assurances too... better to err on the side of potential possibilities than not and then REALLY feel badly that you didn't do anything.

Sorry you missed the eclipse in Seattle... our stupid San Francisco clouds blocked our view too! =(
Dec. 21st, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
Relax, you did the right thing.
Dec. 21st, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
Better to call and have it turn out to be nothing, than not call and have someone end up dead as a result of inaction.
Dec. 21st, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
A little bit of embarrassment is easy to get over.

When I was in high school I got a bad feeling that something might have happened to a neighbor and ignored it. It wasn't anything nearly as obvious as screaming and banging. Mostly, I had just noticed that it was a lovely day and she was not sitting on her porch but, since she actually had fallen and broken her hip and laid there for a couple of days before anyone found her, 25 years later, I still feel like crap for not checking.
Dec. 21st, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
that sounds like it would have been really creepy to hear :( I am glad that she was okay though!
Dec. 21st, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
You did the absolutely right thing.

Dec. 22nd, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
sorry you didn't get to see the eclipse!

please don't embrace the embarrassment - you completely did the right thing in this situation, and your neighbor probably understands completely. it would have been scary hearing those sort of noises in the middle of the night, even if you hadn't witnessed other stuff. *hugs*
Dec. 22nd, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
It's better to call and have it be nothing than sit there wan wait to see and find out someone got murdered.
Dec. 22nd, 2010 10:49 am (UTC)
As everyone else has said, and as you yourself have said too, there's no need for you to feel embarrassed: you did the right thing. And your neighbour seems to have already recognised that.

I couldn't see the eclipse from where I was, either. Too much cloud cover, unfortunately.
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