Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Deep Breaths. Deep Breaths.

Alternate title: Why you shouldn't show up at my house unannounced.

It took fifteen minutes of walking around my apartment with an unsheathed katana samurai sword big ass knifey-thingy, for me to realize that I had let my paranoia get the best of me.

Huh... that’s a weird place to start a story and might be making you feel like you should never talk to me again. I guess I should start at the beginning –

As I’ve said in the past, I live above a bar.  Although that might sound like a recipe for sleepless nights and alcoholism, I can promise you it’s not as bad as you might think.  Sure, when I had the bedroom at the front of the building I could always hear the smokers outside at all hours of the night and the beer/food delivery trucks at all hours of the morning, but I live in the back bedroom now and don’t have any of those problems. 

And so what if my favorite game every night is “Name That Tune Through the Floor”?  Everyone needs to train their ears to be able to identify the muffled sounds of Jason Aldean or the Ying Yang Twins “Whisper Song” through their floorboards. 

For the most part, the fact that there’s a bar below my apartment just means that I always have a neighbor I can borrow a cup of sugar or a fifth of Jack from.  In my book, that’s a damn good neighbor to have.  Plus, they make kick ass tacos.


But on rare occasions, the idea of a bunch of rowdy drunks hanging out in your basement all the time is a little disconcerting.

Like the time when I was in the front bedroom and I heard two drunken girls in a fight outside.  I watched as the drunkest girl was carried away by her brother (fireman’s-carry style carried away) but then fought her way off of his back and ran away from him.  Fifteen minutes later I heard her screaming bloody-murder and I had to run out of the house because I was afraid a car had hit her. 

No, she was just two houses down rolling around in the front yard as her brother (I know what you’re thinking, it was definitely her brother, all of her friends at the bar had been shouting “YOUR BROTHER IS TAKING YOU HOME NOW! GO HOME WITH YOUR BROTHER!” and he told me their parents were coming to pick her up – he was definitely not an axe murderer.  Most likely.) tried to get her to calm down.  So I walked back to my barpartment and sat on the front step just in case things got more entertaining crazy again.  Five minutes later he walked by – barefoot.  “Fucking bitch stole my shoes,” he said to me. 

I have no idea how she stole his shoes, but I’ve gotta give her props for being wily enough to get them off his feet when he was standing on them.  And him, of course I have to give him props.  He’s a much better sibling than I would be in the same situation. 

Also because I probably can’t lift my brother (although he is quite svelte these days) onto my back and just stroll down the street with him.  Also because anytime we drink together we just end up reminiscing about comic books, Star Trek and video games, not running away from each other.


The point is –

You never know what drunken people are going to do.  So even though living above a bar that cops frequent usually makes me feel pretty safe (there’s always someone around at all hours of day/night in case something horrible happens to me) there are nights when my imagination runs away with me.

Shortly before my old roommate moved out, she went to Colombia for fourteen days.  Halfway into that time – my first time essentially living alone – was the night when I got scared – really scared.

I had just gone to bed when I heard what sounded like someone walking through my apartment.  At the time I was still living in the aforementioned front bedroom, which is right off of my living room.  The noises I heard seemed to be coming from right outside of my bedroom door.  I was terrified, but I tried to stay rational and convince myself that it was just the building settling and noises from downstairs seeping through the floor.

It was at that moment that I decided I’d be a lot more comfortable if I had some kind of weapon in my hand.  (Incidentally, it was also at this moment when I decided I wanted to learn how to operate a gun.  You know, just in case anyone ever came at me with one and I was able to get it out of their hands – that way I could defend myself with it.  Because it’s highly likely that I’m going to be attacked with a gun at some point and just as likely that I could wrest it away from my attacker.)

The only things I had in my room were pillows, Henry (my stuffed gryphon hatchling), books, jewelry, an antique hand mirror, a wooden statue of a sleeping fox with wings and my bedside table lamp.  I opted to cradle the wooden fox in my arms as I went to sleep that night.  Henry wasn’t too happy about being ousted for cuddles, but I felt a mite safer having some kind of bludgeon by my side.  The only thing Henry can do is “cute” people to death (which, let’s be honest, he’s really good at doing).

He'll hug the fear away.
The next day, after a night filled with nightmares of my violent and bloody death at the hands of a drunken frat boy, I told my friend Jason about the ordeal.  I told him that I felt like I would have felt better had I been in possession of some sort of weapon – even a pocket knife would have made me feel less paranoid.

Then he started laughing, reached behind a bookshelf and pulled out this:

Dancing groundhog lighter pictured to show scale.

And he gave it to me.  I tried to resist at first – you know, overkill and all.  But then he reminded me that if nothing else I would be able to pull out that great old Crocodile Dundee joke whenever I wanted.

So now that beautiful knife (which actually scares the shit out of me me a little) rests right between my bed and bedside table.  I wouldn’t say I look at it daily, but there are many nights when - before hopping under my covers - I’ll double-check just to make sure it’s still there.  I don’t even know if I could use it if I had to, but the comfort of having it there makes me feel safer on the nights when my paranoia gets the best of me.

Which (finally) brings me back to the beginning of this post.

The other night I was getting ready to go to bed and I walked by my front door, which actually leads to an enclosed stairwell with another door at the bottom.  I typically leave the downstairs door and upstairs doors both locked, but occasionally when I have company over they will forget to lock the door at the bottom on their way out.  Typically I will run down and check on this, but on this particular night, I didn’t think about it until it was too late.

I had just finished my before bed bathroom ritual (clean face, braid hair, brush teeth) and was walking back to my bedroom when I passed the front door and heard a voice so clear it could only have been coming from outside of my front door. 

I ran back to my bedroom and – for the first time – unsheathed my knife and walked slowly back toward my front door.  I stopped, heart hammering in my heart, just to the side of my door.  The knife was gripped firmly in my hand and I took a deep breath before calling out a weak “Hello? Is anyone there?” 

Of course there was no answer – the serial killers never answer when you ask if they’re there.  Dicks.

So I did the only sane thing a person could do.

I threw open my front door and yelled down the stairs. 

Still no answer.

So then I peeked around the doorframe and saw that the stairwell was empty. 

Still unsure of my safety, I tiptoed to the downstairs door.

It was locked.

I’d imagined the whole thing.

I ran back up the stairs (as quickly as I felt was safe with a gigantic blade in my hand) re-sheathed the knife, grabbed Henry in a death-grip-cuddle, jumped into my bed and pulled the blankets over my head.

I slept with the lights on that night.

Every once in a while I let my imagination get the best of me. 

This should also serve as a warning to any people that want to attack me – I have a gigantic knifey thingy and when I’m going crazy with paranoia you might just get accidentally stabbed.  Consider this your warning.

Plus, I’m taking kickboxing now.  So I’m tough, bitches.


Pray for me.

Hugs n kisses,
Annie Jay

PS:  Am I the only one who gets this paranoid when I’m home alone?


  1. My dad recently recommended buying me a little handgun since I, too, live alone. Great idea, dad. I'll just start shooting at the wall any time I hear any noise in the middle of the night. So he bought be a knife. A knife I have to be somewhat lucid to be able to open in a timely manner in the event someone is attacking me.

    When I lived on the ground level of my building, I NEVER slept. I was seriously worried someone would break in and rape/murder me. I bought little door/window alarms (which do nothing but alert you you're about to be murdered/raped) but, somehow, those helped me sleep a little better at night :)

    1. Oh man, I definitely don't intend to get a gun. Although I've learned to fire one, I definitely don't think I'm comfortable with having one in my house.

      I seriously spit my coffee when I read "which do nothing but alert you you're about to be murdered/raped".

      I live on the second floor too, so it's really just the front door that I have to worry about. Well... until my determined rapist/murderer thinks to bring a ladder or those cool climbing shoes with spikes in them to scale the building.

      Fuck, now I just gave them ideas and I'm pretty sure I need to go buy those little window alarm thingies. Damn!

  2. A 100 pound German Shepherd is my anti-rapist-weapon. I actually feel pretty safe walking with him at night in my neighborhood (although to be fair I live in a mostly-ok neighborhood)...simply because I've SEEN him step between me and a stranger and show teeth. I fucking love that dog. :)

    The sword collection in my house is for decoration...mostly. ;)

    1. Haha, I can't handle the big dogs though! I lived with a Great Dane for a couple of years and I *hated* living with a big dog and all of the hassles that come along with it.

      Hmm... maybe I'll have to hang my sword on the wall so it's easier to grab in an emergency... ;-p