Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In Which I Participate in a Standoff and the Police are Less Than Appreciative

You know how police standoffs/shootouts with the neighbors always happen when you’re trying to do laundry?
My crazy neighbor (pretending that only one of them is crazy) had a standoff with the cops.  I was here for the entire thing, but I missed some of the specifics while I was on the phone relaying the action to my sister, contemplating the logistics of an evacuation, and making coffee.
I know most of this seems like normal activity, but I was totally losing my mind. And not in an appropriate, I’m really scared, why must we have senseless violence kind of way, but in an excited, this could not be a better Wednesday morning kind of way. I was actually giddy. Giddy. I think that was my third time.
People were bringing chairs and breakfast out onto their balconies to enjoy the show. I didn’t do that, but I don’t usually eat breakfast. The point is we are all idiots. There could be a burst of gunfire coming my way any second. This is not a good situation. Why am I gawking? Why? I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me. But I continue to dart from window to window, keeping an eye on all aspects of the action. I’m practically dancing. By now there are at least six regular cops, a SWAT guy with a possible sniper rifle and a guy in a bowling shirt who seems important because since he’s arrived, all the other cops want to huddle with him. The last guy seems familiar, like maybe he arrested me when I was a teenager.
So the timer for my laundry goes off, and the problem is that if I leave it there someone is going to move it, because god forbid someone’s laundry should sit in the washer for more than a minute after the cycle is finished, and if someone does move my laundry I’m going to flip out because I don’t know where their hands have been and now they’re handling my underwear. So that’s my big problem right now, I can choose to leave my undies to the mercy of mysterious and possibly grubby fingers or I can risk getting shot. Sophie had it easy.
At this point I notice my white haired neighbor has gone to fetch her mail and who am I to be fainter of heart than a demure and fragile retiree, and yes I know older people can still do stuff and I’m sure when I’m really old I’ll object to young assholes speculating about my frailty, or incontinence, or dementia, but it’s just part of the cycle of life. Anyway, as I was saying, anything a ninety year old can do, I can do better, so I traipsed down to the laundry room and not only moved my wet things to the dryer, but audaciously started a brand new load as well. Here’s some foreshadowing for you: I was going to regret it.
So I’m back at my window and one of the cops with his rifle or shotgun or whatever catches my eye and waves me out. So I go trotting downstairs since I’m not getting much from the window at this point because the crazy guy is inside with the blinds drawn. So the cop tells me they are going to evacuate the building and asks if I’m alone. I say no, I have pets. He assures me that they’ll be fine. I assure him that there’s no way I’m leaving them. So he says I should go start getting everyone together. Now what I’m wondering as I trot obligingly back up the stairs is, if it is so dangerous that the building needs to be evacuated why would he motion me outside? Surely, I would have been safer inside, peeking out the window or not, than out in the open consorting with those who were surely seen as the enemy by the crazy man.
Now I’m in kind of a tizzy, because those pets I mentioned? There are five of them. Plus I need clothes, and my computer, and my brand-new-fucking-too-expensive-to-leave-in-case-the-shootout-leads-to-a-fire-bike, and my books. I know the books are impossible so I mentally let go of them pretty quickly, but I’m trying to imagine how I’ll  arrange everything else in my tiny car and what or who I’ll take out first. I’m afraid that if I take the things out first the cops won't let me come back in, and the pets will be stuck in a building with a madman. I’m afraid that if I take the pets out first I could be killed going back for the stuff and then they’ll be stuck in the car indefinitely because the cops are too focused on the crazy neighbor to care about animals. I mean they didn’t want me to even take them. It seems best to just stay here and hope for the best. If they come to drag me out I’ll end up with only the pets because I know if it comes to that I won’t get to make multiple trips, but fuck it. I’m also reluctant to leave my laundry and I can’t get the washer open until the cycle ends, and that’s not happening for another twenty-seven minutes or so.
When stuff starts happening downstairs I’m obviously pleased because if they get the shootout over with no one will have to evacuate. Unless the fire happens after all.
The crazy neighbor is messing around with the blinds on his sliding door which is one door over, below and across from me. Although technically that’s several degrees of separation, I can actually see him really well and the thing that I notice is that he has a walker. He’s not using it, he’s sitting, so I think that maybe he can’t get to the door like the cops have been demanding and maybe this is all a terrible, soon to be tragic misunderstanding because the poor guy can’t get up. When I see he’s in a wheelchair it seems like a good idea to make sure the cops have this valuable information. They were surprisingly unappreciative. Apparently they already knew.
Then the SWAT guy got tangled up in someone’s fake Halloween spider webs which was pretty fantastic. Nothing personal SWAT guy. I feel bad because (SPOILER ALERT) I laughed before I knew no one had died, but there’s not much I can do about the order of events. Although if we look at things from a quantum, time is an illusion kind of place, maybe I could do something about the order of events, but damn it Jim, this is not a science blog.
Time for the end. The cops decide to pop out a window to grab the unarmed, crazy wheelchair guy, but before they can, a shot rings out. I still have no idea where it came from. No one got shot. Maybe the crazy guy let one off inside his apartment; if I find out I’ll let you know.
Anyway, it went something like: Gunshot. Napoleon barks. I think crazy guy killed himself and I feel really bad for referring to him in my head as crazy guy, but then crazy guy manages to slide open his patio door. Cops start yelling  and advancing on crazy guy who is trying to wheel himself out the door while keeping his hands up which didn’t look as easy as it sounds. Then cops drag crazy guy out of his apartment and wheelchair, which looked gentler than it sounds.
The aftermath included handcuffs, a pat down, a search of the apartment and camaraderie between the cops themselves, which I get, and between the cops and the crazy guy, which I don’t.
So that is basically that. And between living it and writing about it, I’ve lost like three hours of my day, but luckily I saved the time I would have taken thinking up a blog topic for this week. And crap, now I’ve come right out and admitted I plan on doing one every week, so I’m panicking a little. I’m also worried that between this blog and the last one I am coming across as kind of a bitch, so let me just say that I like puppies. A lot. I’ll talk more about that next time. Not too much though, I don’t like puppies in ways I shouldn’t. Just in perfectly appropriate ways. I don’t know if that’s weird or quirky and adorable. The sentence, I mean. I’m leaving it because it’s supposed to be adorable. I have to stop now. Goodnight. It’s not night, but I already know I’m not accomplishing anything else today. That makes it time to drink.