Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Just call me “Mr. Static Electricity”

I have trouble getting rid of people. After my divorce call and letter to my mother last year (wherein I told her never to contact me again), she immediately countered by calling and then sending me a letter of her own. I didn’t respond to her voicemail and sent the letter back unopened, which seems to have discouraged her a little, but lately I’ve been getting a lot of hang-up calls and I think they are from her. I haven’t bothered to *69 the person calling, but in the past I’ve always had a pretty good sense for when she’s on the other end of the line, mostly because I know that she knows my schedule and when to call at the least opportune time.

After a week of daily hang-ups, I welcomed the approaching weekend. Historically, my mother called less on the weekend because she knew it would be less invasive. On Friday, I endured my first private Japanese session (more on that later) and spent the remainder of the evening studying. Knowing I would have to awake early (by Saturday standards) the next morning, I set the alarm for 8:00 AM and went to sleep around 2:00.

At 4:00 AM I received a knock on my door. Actually, that’s an inaccurate description. At 4:00 AM, somebody started pounding on my door. I went through several stages of disbelief, followed by convincing myself it must be a dream, to wondering if it was my door or a neighbor’s (the echo in the hall can be confusing), to covering my ears with pillows, and finally to wondering if I should get up and tell whoever to fuck off versus waiting them out. I chose the last option because every time I began to get out of bed the knocking stopped for a few minutes and, tired as I was, I immediately fell asleep again. After a few minutes, the pounding began anew and then abruptly died again. I wondered why nobody else came to their doors. Like me, they probably figured anybody who would bang on your door at that time of morning was not somebody you actually wanted to see. It finally stopped around 4:20. Before I drifted off the last time, I wondered if it could be my upstairs neighbor / mendicant, but thought not. It was a more insistent knock than she used, and she had been polite (if not slightly wacky) in the past.

The next morning when I awoke (tired), I gathered my stuff for class, stepped outside, and was hailed by her while I walked toward my car. She stood in the doorway of her apartment in the near-freezing cold waiting for me to appear. She quietly told me she had my money but made no attempt to bring it to me, so I turned and climbed the stairs to her level. On the way she repeatedly asked me a question. I honestly thought she asked me if I wanted a hamburger and was going to politely decline, but I decided to make sure I heard her correctly so I asked her to repeat herself one last time when I stood outside her door.

“I need to go to the bank,” she said.

That makes it official for her. She’s now asked for money, booze, and a ride – the big three here in Beggarville (a.k.a. Atlanta).

Question #1 – is it like this where you live? By which I mean, wherever you go, do people approach you for a handout?

I told her I didn’t have time as I had a class. She started with the questions, probably to see if my excuse held. I stood before her holding a notepad and textbook, so if I was making an excuse, I had prepared for it well. While trying to escape, I told her I was taking a class in Japanese. She asked if it was a karate class, to which I should have said yes and showed her my belt. I was wearing an expensive leather oxblood belt which I could have told her they only give to the most dangerous grand masters. “Black belts? Pussies! The reason you’ve never heard of an oxblood belt is because we are honor bound to destroy all those who have learned our secret. Oh, but now I’ve said too much…”

Question #2 – this is a real, genuine, cow leather belt which was made in India. WTF? Aren’t cows sacred over there? What’s the rule – they can’t kill them, but if we kill them and send over the parts, they can work them into fashion accessories (e.g. the Belt of the Gods). Shouldn’t they be able to eat hamburgers made in foreign countries?

While trying to disengage, she changed the subject and demanded to know why I didn’t open the door last night (meaning that morning) and give her any beer.

“What!?” I demanded, thinking the tone of my voice should straighten her out. “That was you banging on my door? At four o’clock in the morning?”

“Yes,” she said, brightly smiling. “Why didn’t you give me any?”

“I don’t open the door at that hour,” I said and walked away. She laughed and called after me, asking me if I had any beer for her now. Note – this was still before 9:00 AM. I shouted “No!” over my shoulder and left.

Fortunately I haven’t heard from her since Saturday, but no doubt she’ll show up at my door again the next time she gets drunk or stoned and wants money or beer or a ride to get money or beer. The next time she asks me for anything I’ll have to leave all subtlety out and tell her the Quickie-Mart is closed forever, including the all night ATM and taxi stand. She’ll probably act hurt, like all bums do when rebuffed, but I don’t care as long as she gets out of my life and stays there.

Note – I’ve lived in the same building as this woman for over two years without incident. I wonder what happened to break down the invisible barrier between us. Did word get out about the time I helped my newest redneck neighbor? Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I can imagine one bum trying to beg from another and in the process being told who’s the real chump in that neighborhood.

Question #3 – how should I handle it if she continues to bug me? What I’d like to do is hurl a Molotov through her window (if she didn’t live in the same building as me) or slap her across her nose with a tire iron, but she’s not worth the potential legal troubles. That only leaves calling the police to report a disturbance, which I hate, or reporting her to the office to let them make a pathetic attempt to resolve the issue (usually done by sending the offenders a letter stating they need to be more considerate of their neighbors).

Anyway, I’ve finally decided to alter my charity policy: no more donations that can be tracked back to me. That means no help to anyone who lives in my apartment complex and no help to anyone who can or will track me to my home or work. The Salvation Army is still okay, but the Humane Society is out. Last year I sent them a hundred dollars and was bombarded with two hundred dollars worth of letters asking for a handout.

I have to say, having a group of stalkers isn’t as much fun as I had hoped. Of course, I wanted a bunch of Asian schoolgirls who were in awe of my literary skills, not my neighbors / mother who fancy me because I have a job.

***** UPDATE *****

I just got home and she (in her bathrobe) intercepted me on the way to my apartment. She gave me back my $10, said she had been gone since Saturday and apologized for taking so long, and told me it wouldn't happen again. I'm not sure I believe her, but I think she's at least earned a polite refusal the next time, which I seriously hope never happens.


Seven said...

My advice is to turn into her for a short perod of play acting. That is; knock on her door at weird hours, ask if she can wash and fold your clothes cause you don't know how.....Ask if she can paint your door......ask her to watch your car overnight so aliens don't steal the engine codes....will she drink the rest of this Drano cause you hate to waste it... etc etc....she will then learn to avoid you....however if she consents to all of the above....don't blame me.

Tai said...

What a bunch of WIERDNESS!!

My neighbours have never done anything like that to me.

Mind you...we are all Canadian. Wonder if that has any bearing!

Tai said...

(p.s....I DID spell weirdness like that on purpose.
Just so you know.
It was designed to be ironical, but in retrospect, it just looks kind of...sloppy.)

Mel said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Rick's advice - especially the Drano - :)
I think you're gonna have to use your ass-kicking boots here, Grant, people like this broad seem not to understand anything but very very blunt language and almost crude, cruel behavior. She seems not to care about your sleep or your good graces so ...
Good luck...

Nobius said...

I always use 'Bounce' for static cling.

Or a big gun. :)

Depends on what is doing the clinging.

Got your package today, thanks again!

Kira said...

Trying to interact wtih her more might make her think that Grant is up for her freaky flash titty with no titty showing games.

I'd probably at this point be so freaked out that I'd move, but then again I actually had a stalker walk through my house and rearrange my furniture, leave death threats and sexual messages on my answering machine, and occasionally break in and place my indoor only cat on the front lawn. It tends to make one a bit more jittery. So! Take Karate and flash your blackbelt. Use a dragunov. You have a mighty load of range with that sucker, and maybe that way you can take her down like the weak buffalo from the herd she is without anybody tracing it back to you!

Eternity said...

I lived in the same house with a psychopath (literally), a satan worshipper, a cutter, and a Christian. None of them managed to creep me out as much as the people you continue to describe who hound you.

Melissa said...

1. As a general rule I say no to anyone asking for a hand out. The trick is to say it with a smile and turn up the Texas drawl. Even the bums in New York thought I was charming when I said no.

2. It's all those freakin white hippies in India making the belts. They go for enlightenment and realize enlightenment doesn't pay for the curry. Leather tooling is the only skill they remember from 4H.

3. Make like Nancy Reagan and "just say no."

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...


Just move. I don't think, unless that chick gets thrown out...that you will EVER be rid of her.

Unless you get someone to "take her out"...and I'm not talking about out to lunch, either. ;)

'Nuff said.

sands of time said...

I'd just say slowly try and distance yourself from her.People like that can become troublesome and some can start making problems for you.Try telling her youve lost your job and dont have spare cash or beer anymore.

Kerry said...

Please dont make it stop! I love reading the stories. You make me laugh those loud, catch my breath, belly laughs first thing in the morning! ;)

Seriously, I'd turn the tables on them. I'd start asking them for things... driving them nuts wanting stuff. Chances are, they will run and hide from you. lol

Or... constantly say 'NO' and keep walking.

Grant said...

rick - good plan, except that would involve talking to her which I'm trying to avoid. But it's a good plan for other people who don't loathe the contact. Reminds me of my friend who's father (when he has time) would see how long he could keep a telemarketer on the line before saying no just so he could wreck the guy's time to sales ratios and hopefully get him fired.

tai - go ask your neighbors for beer and see how they react.

tai again - not as sloppy as "ironical." :p

mel - she seems nice and even timid during the rare times that she's sober.

nobius - yw.

kira - I'm not letting the local bums make me move. If they continue to pester me after hours, I may have to invest in some pepper spray.

eternity - I've been all those things, although not at the same time. We're really not that bad.

melissa - I don't think the drawl will work on the white guy who sounds like he just came down from Appalachia.

pq - I'm not moving. Can you have your dog give them a black eye?

pink lady - she won't fall for the no job or beer trick because, when she wants something, she stands in her doorway and observes me coming and going (often carrying beer). I'm not going to make any excuses - I'm just going to tell her no.

kerry - I'm glad my misery is so entertaining to you. :p

circe said...

When bums downtown bothered me when I flew home I just started yelling, "How about them Browns???!!!"
I got them all woo hooing with me and the subject of money didn't come up again.

p.s. Yelling for the Browns may not work unless you're from Cleveland...

Eternity said...

Outside of the psychopath, I am still friends with all of them.

I was never friends with the psychopath. He is one of those people who make you shudder just by being in his presence. Shuddering now in fact, just thinking about him.

Liz said...

1. Nope they are not like that here. They stick to street corners holding cardboard signs that say “will work for food” but mean “give me cash for dope”.

2. Not real sure. Have a friend that went to India and he had burgers and pizza. Also cows walk the streets and eat out of the same trash cans as people. If you hit one with your car, which can happen quite easily, you can get stones to death on the street if you get out of your car.

3. Never answer the door to her again. If you don’t have a peep hole crack it too look out. If it is her tell her you are masturbating and shut the door. When she accosts you in the hall start with Rick’s comments. Maybe some comments about killing people and voices would help too. Also lots of odd non-stop questions until she wants to get away from you. Answer every thing she says or asks with a question. So when’s you period? Your mom ever give you an enema as a kid? Ever get an ingrown pubic hair?

Weary Hag said...

You could try going this route - purchase a six pack of the worst and cheapest beer on the rack. Keep it warm. Shake it up just as you're carrying it out to her (but be sure to stand back incase she opens it right then and there). This may dissuade her from making further beer begs.

Truly, there is no simple solution. I had my share of drama with low-life neighbors and it wasn't until I packed up and moved that it stopped. I didn't move because they forced me out ... they actually left first (by way of jail) but it was such a relief to get out of there.

Grant said...

circe - maybe if I went with "How about that local pro and/or college ball team?"

eternity - I need to develop that kind of vibe, at least in the presence of my neighbors.

liz - the peephole is a mixed blessing. You can tell whenever somebody steps up to it; the last time I opened the door for her, I looked first and she began talking and enthusiastically waving as soon as I did.
Also, I think I would prefer "Cash for dope." It's more honesty. I was approached in Germany by a guy asking for a few deutschemarks to buy hash, and I helped him out.

weary hag - cheap beer wouldn't stop her. She actually balked the first time when she thought all I had were German imports, but she accepted a Coors that I keep around for guests without my refined taste. As to the rest, I'm just going with a straight-up refusal henceforth.

Liz said...

I keep I piece of tissue shoved in the peep hole so when you step infront it and take out the tissue it doesn't show a change of light from the outside.