The Knock-Knock in the Night

So, it was Sunday night and getting late for me (you know, it was 8:30pm) and I headed to my bedroom to start winding down for the night.

All of a sudden, Clarke is in the foyer, looking around alertly — unusual since he had already been snoring away in his chair and very little gets him up once he’s asleep. I thought maybe my roommate was home early (she wasn’t supposed to be home for another few hours) and didn’t think much of it. Then, Clarke is staring at the front door. Hmmm.

And then? Someone has opened my screen door and is jiggling the door knob on the interior door. Clarke is doing his sissy bark/whine thing that he does; I figure my roommate had trouble with the garage door (it had been acting up) and was trying to get in. I go to the front door, start opening it at the same time that I’m pulling the curtain away from the side window and lo and behold — it’s not my roommate. In fact, it’s someone who might look vaguely familiar, but certainly nobody that I outright know.

(disclaimer:  I am AWFUL at remembering faces.  And names.  And what I did yesterday…)

I’m holding the door open just a few inches and also holding onto Clarke’s collar because now he’s barking like he means it (Belle is too, but is gated into my bedroom so hers is a long-distance “I’m going to eat you if you come in the door” bark). The woman on the threshold tells me, “I’m glad you’re home — the door was locked and I really have to pee!”. Um, okay?

“Who are you?”, I inquire.

“Lisa! I’m supposed to be here!”

“Are you a friend of my roommate?”, I ask, thinking that maybe there was a miscommunication somewhere and this is a friend of hers who was expecting her to be home.

“Who?”  Okay, apparently not a friend.

“Let me in!” the woman insists again.  I tell her that she must have the wrong house.

“No, this is the right place — that’s my dog Toby right there!”  And Clarke, apparently not taking a liking to his new name, begins barking with renewed vigor.

“I’m sorry”, I reply, “but this isn’t the right house.” And with that I close the door and watch the woman trail down the path away from my house. Weird, I muse, but then go back to my bedroom to continue getting ready for sleep. I live in a townhouse where every house looks the same as the other, and not only that, but my house number is also the same as a house on the next block north, so it wouldn’t be impossible to get it wrong.

About 10 minutes later, more door knob jiggling. And knocking. And even more demanding door knob jiggling (if door knob jiggling can be done in a more demanding type of way).

Now, both dogs are at the door trying to get at this lady. She looks normal and non-menacing: Mom-type hairdo, glasses, big ol’ purse, flip-flops, too-short shorts (just my $0.02) and a tank top. But she is quite insistent that she lives at my house and needs to get in. Because, she tells me for a third time, she really has to pee.

I open up the door once again and once again let her know that she’s got the wrong house. After a little verbal jousting back and forth, again she leaves, looking confused but walking away nonetheless.

Back in my bedroom yet again, it occurs to me that perhaps she needs some sort of help. While she didn’t seem drunk or under the influence, perhaps she was on some drugs or is suffering from some sort of dementia — who knows.  I grab my phone, put some shoes on and go outside with the intention of offering to help her find the right house or call someone. I walk around the front of my house and turns out she was telling the truth about one thing — she really did have to pee. And was doing so in front of my neighbor’s garage door, blocked from most people’s view by his huge truck.

I backed away slowly and went inside once again thinking that perhaps this was finally done with.

Of course not.

She’s back for round 3. This time, I don’t open the door and instead call the cops — there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to bother them because I’m not really in fear or anything, but I also know that this is beyond something I can deal with on my own. I call the police station — 911 seems like far too dramatic an action to take — and the nice woman on the other end efficiently takes down the necessary information and sends a squad car my way.

In the meantime, I stand in the foyer by the front door, watching my dogs go absolutely nuts while she’s trying the door knob (which – really? – does she think it’s going to magically unlock or something?) and pounding on the door. I have two panes of glass beside the doors and if she really wanted to get in, it would be easy enough to break them so on the off chance that she does something that stupid, I don’t want my dogs getting caught in that fray.

Within 5 minute, a cop shows up. She gets out of the squad car and approaches the woman on my doorstep — the woman loudly complains to the police officer that I’m not letting her in and that her dog Toby is in the house. I open up my garage and go outside that way — opening up my front door would likely mean that one of the dogs would get away from me and go through the screen and lord knows, the last thing I need is for one of my pups to get in trouble for something that wasn’t their fault.

I walk up behind the police office, she turns around and asks if I live here — I reply that I do. She goes back to questioning the woman on my stoop, requesting ID and gently leading her away from my house. Another cop shows up and helps get the woman to the curb.

I’m standing inside my garage, taking all of this in — I don’t feel a need to be part of this process — and the woman is almost swallowed up in her huge-ass purse trying to find her wallet or some sort of identification. She can’t, but she does finally locate her cellphone and says that she’s going to call her daughter and her daughter will come out of the house to tell them that she belongs here.

The cops are losing their patience with her as she keeps ranting:  “That’s my house! I live there! That’s my dog, Toby!” She takes a break from the yelling to dial a number on her cellphone, both police officers over her shoulder telling her to hand over the phone. Like an indolent toddler, she kept turning to and fro to keep them away from the phone.

I can now hear her yelling, “Come out here — the cops are here and think I don’t live here for some fuckin’ reason…”.

And from a couple of houses down and across the street, out comes a teenager. I recognize the house as our “crazy neighbors” because there’s often yelling and cursing and fighting going on outside as if their driveway was as private as the inside of their house. I suddenly know why the woman looked vaguely familiar — she’s the mother of the crazy neighbor house.

The woman and the cops walk towards the daughter, the cops trying to figure out what’s going on. They ask for her address and the woman yelled it at them — clearly not my address, which both the officers and I had been telling her for the past hour. They had what looked like a one-sided conversation — the officers asking questions, the woman not answering — and then she defiantly walked away from the cops, her daughter trailing and looking behind, apologetically, at the officers. As she walks to her house, she makes one last turn towards me and yells, “And I don’t know what she is all about and why she has my dog” sweeping her arm to indict me and my entire household in some strange dog-napping crime, I suspect.

Both officers came back to talk to me, asking if I knew what was going on and I divulged the little information I had — that they were the crazy neighbors and why we thought of them that way. They didn’t have much to add to my assessment — whether it was because they couldn’t divulge the information or didn’t know, I’m not sure — so the mystery of my crazy neighbors remains.

With my involvement no longer necessary, I thanked them profusely, they told me I did the right thing in calling, and then … finally … I went inside and got ready for bed, with no further interruptions.


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