Tuesday, January 15

There are no raindrops on roses and girls in white dresses. It's sleeping with roaches and taking best guesses.

I think one of the worst things about living on your own is how common it is to feel uneasy or scared. Or maybe it's just me.
Sometimes, it's easily explained things making those unusual noises, but that doesn't stop your heart skipping beats or your breathing rhythm to quieten and slow down enough to enable you to hear a pin drop. Then your mind starts wandering and you find yourself imagining all sorts of things.

It happened earlier, while I was soaking in the bath.
It's one of my few luxuries nowadays, to run a hot bath and have a nice long soak, complimented with a book or magazine and music playing in the background. I could hear voices outside, but was unsure if they were out the back of the house or out the front. Out the back would be impossible, I thought, because unless someone is willing to scale a six foot fence, (in the dark....in the pouring rain....through some very muddy fields) there's no way for them to get around there. So, must be out the front then. That's not so bad. It's probably just people walking down the road, past the house.
I settled back into my magazine, putting it down to nothing unusual.
Several minutes later, there's a thud. Then another one. Then another, sounding like something is being thrown against the window downstairs.
By this time, I'm like a startled cat, sensing impending doom.
Another couple of thuds, then definitely something weighty slamming against my front door. I've now reduced my breathing to that of a corpse and my mind is racing. Should I get out and investigate? Should I shout something down the stairs? Should I just make any kind of noise so whoever it is knows somebody is in? Of course, who-ever it was must have known the house wasn't empty because they would have been able to hear the music playing and seen some lights on.
While my mind is trying to think of something sensible to do, the doorbell rings. I have a doorbell that doubles as an intercom, so when the button is pressed on the outside, I can hear who it is on the speaker that's at the bottom of the stairs. I could hear voices. Whispering. Then laughing. Then shouting. Then nothing; the intercom had switched off.
There was one more bang on the door. Not a 'knock'. A definite bang. The voices raised up again, then faded away, presumably as whoever it was moved off.
I lay there in the bath, unable to enjoy my magazine, the music or my rare luxurious moment anymore. It had been ruined. Bastards!
I stayed in there for another five or ten minutes before deciding I felt confident enough to get out, get dressed and come downstairs to investigate. Before I went downstairs, I checked outside from the safety of an upstairs bedroom, without the light on of course.
Downstairs, I sheepishly opened the front door and checked to see if I could see anything unusual. I was half-expecting to find my car or van had been damaged or perhaps a horses-head had been left by the steps.
Nothing. It all looked ok.
False alarm then.

I've probably watched far too many horror movies!

I hate confrontation.
When I've been out with friends and trouble has kicked off, I'm the first to back the hell out of there. I've been caught up in a nasty fight outside a club once before and I learnt a valuable lesson from that night. Never be anywhere near a fight again.

When I think about it, I've been in a few potentially serious situations, so it's no wonder that I'm nervous when I think I can smell danger. Ok, so the bath story wasn't exactly danger per se, but I think my experiences have perhaps instilled a safety mechanism inside my head that makes me more susceptible to wanting to run or hide than be in any kind of scary situation. Either that or I'm just a big pussy!

The nightclub fight involved glasses and bottles being broken and used to lash out at people. I have no idea how it started, but once it kicked off, anybody who was even close to the rumble (which after a short time involved at least 10 people) got dragged into it. The screaming and shouting was deafening. The door security weren't getting involved, presumably because it was outside the club, although they did keep shouting that the police were on their way. Luckily, this was enough to make most people see sense and eventually, people who'd been thrown to the ground were able to get up and walk away.

I stupidly chased a guy who I'd watched steal something from the shop I was working in. I'd obviously been influenced by too much Starsky and Hutch, although none of that came as any help when he suddenly stopped running, turned on his heels and pulled out a sharpened screwdriver on me.

In my more active clubbing days, I had a knife pulled on me because I was apparently talking to a girl who this particular guy liked and wanted to teach me a lesson. A few weeks later, he came up to me in a different club and said he never intended to use it on me. He just wanted to scare me off. I told him he'd done a good job.

One of the worst ones I can remember is having a neighbour from hell. A couple of weeks after moving in, the guy next door decided he didn't like me. Stupidly loud music was just the beginning. It was bloody Country and Western as well! Loud banging on the walls followed, along with lots of shouting, swearing and threatening directed at me. The walls were so thin I could hear every "pfffffssssttt" when he opened another can of beer. This went on for a couple of weeks, coming to a horrible conclusion when one night he decided shouting through the walls wasn't good enough and proceeded to try and kick down the front door, telling me that when he got inside, I was gonna "get it". Fortunately, he wasn't able to kick the door down and went back round to his own house, ranting and raving about something. Unfortunately, he returned a few minutes later with a samurai sword and began hacking at my front door. Obviously, I'd phoned the police by this time. In fact, I'd phoned them way before he got to the 'hacking' stage. They were certainly taking their time though and jumping out of the window briefly entered my head.

There was also a 'road rage' incident a few years back. I wasn't aware that I'd done anything wrong, but a guy in the car behind me obviously thought otherwise and took his opportunity to tell me when we pulled up at some traffic lights on red. He pulled up alongside me, wound his window down and began to shout and scream at me as if I'd just been caught sleeping with his partner or something. I tried my best to ignore him and 'willed' the lights to turn green, but my prayers weren't answered and next thing I knew, he was out of his car and thumping on my window asking me to "step outside".

Without having to think too hard, it appears I've been in a few 'situations' but luckily none of them resulted in anything more damaging than turning me into a scaredy-cat.

5 parlez:

Treacle said...

I know exactly what you are talking about. If I am in the house on my own, I start to feel quite jittery. One time I double locked all the doors I was so paranoid and then I had a nightmare and woke up thinking I heard something in the house. I naturally conclusded someone was in the house and turned all the lights on at 5am so I could check every single room. What had woken me was the binmen, not an intruder at all!

Cat said...

I always have fresh flowers in the house (just M&S ones, before you start calling me Elton) and generally favour lillies. Last week I started freaking out because there were lots of sudden thuds which I couldn't explain. It turned out that some of the lily buds had decided not to open at all, and instead pop right off their stems.

(And as per, may I draw your attention to the anxiety caused by the unexpected hidden track?)

bedshaped said...

treacle,
I hope you had something in your hand when you went investigating.
My doors are always locked when I'm inside. I've always done it. Maybe that's more down to slight OCD tendancies than wanting to feel safe and secure.

cat,
I'd love to have fresh flowers in the house all the time. Maybe one day....
There have been a few times when I've been caught out by the unexpected 'hidden track'. I've been soaking in the bath when the album sounds like it's finished, so I've just lay there....soaking. Then suddenly, I'm jolted out of my nice tranquil moment by the offending noise.

treacle said...

Actually I was totally empty handed! Thinking about it now, I wouldn't have stood a chance...

bedshaped said...

...against the binmen? No, probably not.