Someone tried to force their way into my apartment tonight
I was sitting alone in my living room on my couch when my doorbell range, at 9:30pm. That’s late for me. Yes, my lights were on, but still. My roommate is visiting her family, so no one else was there but me. I wasn’t expecting anyone and was about to head to bed. So I got up and peeked out the peep hole. It was a strange guy, bald head, with a backpack and a giant stick with a grip coming out of it – either a tennis racquet or a baseball bat. So I slipped the extra safety lock, and moved back. Terrified, and hoping that the person would just go away. But he didn’t. He tried the door. Hard. He didn’t ring the bell again, nor did he knock or anything. I figured, if it was someone I knew who needed to get in, they’d text or call me, say “I’m on your doorstep, can you let me in”, adn that would be that. But it wasn’t. So I panicked. I IM’d a friend and said “what would you do in this situation?” then she talked me down just enough to call the cops, which I did.
I had to rehearse my script a few times, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it, since words were escaping me, but I did call. This is a big deal, because I’m terrified of the phone. I do not speak well on the phone and using it is not something I do well when I’m not stressed into utter panic. Why is it, that at times when you most need your words, they are the most likely to run away?
The dispatcher answered the phone and threw me a question that wasn’t on my script: “Is this an emergency?” – I didn’t know how to answer it, because, to me, yes, this could be an emergency. Someone just tried to force their way into my apartment. And they had something in their backpack that might’ve been a weapon. I’m a young female, alone, and injured. This qualifies as an emergency. If it didn’t, would I have even bothered to call the police in the first place?! And she interrupted me at “someone just tried to break into my apartment” with “is this an emergency” again. So I thought again… “is life or limb at risk in the next 30 seconds?” because that’s a major emergency. So I said “I don’t think so” to her question, and she put me on hold. I hope whoever had a more pressing emergency got helped. But eventually I was able to talk to a dispatcher and give my script. They asked me what the person looked like. Balding was all I could say. My apartment isn’t that well lit from the outside, and I couldn’t say height, weight, or race. At one point, the dispatcher put me on hold, then came back and said “did you say he was heavyset?” and I said “no, I didn’t say anything about his weight. I couldn’t tell you that information, I don’t remember, and couldn’t really see in the first place. There was either a tennis racquet or a baseball bat sticking out of his backpack, and he was balding. That’s the only information I can give you”. I think they were trying to plant information in my brain or something.
Eventually, a police officer showed up on my doorstep, and said that I’d absolutely done the right thing, and he even suggested that I barricade my door for the night. He was really nice and calming and told me that my decisions were the right thing to do, and that I had been completely reasonable. And to call back if anything else happened.
It might’ve been some person who was lost and looking for a friend’s apartment. Or it might’ve been someone trying to find an easy to rob apartment. Or someone planning to bludgeon anyone who opened the door for him. I’ll never know, and honestly, I don’t care. They scared me so much that I still can’t sleep. I will, eventually, I’m sure, but still. I’m not sure if the scariest part isn’t that the guy looked marginally like my crazy downstairs neighbors who have been harassing me and my roommate because they can “hear us walking” in our apartment upstairs. Usually, the sounds they hear have nothing to do with us at all.
So anyway, I had a major scare tonight, and I handled it well. Though under no circumstances would I ever like to repeat it. I managed to get my panic under control enough to do something I’m normally not capable of doing, and use the telephone, because it was the best course of action, and I needed to do it to remain safe. I even managed to speak on the telephone and answer some unanticipated questions. And now my anxiety is through the roof, I’m utterly terrified of the person coming back (though I’m pretty sure it was probably just someone lost in the complex – its badly labeled and not terribly well lit, so I can easily imagine the circumstances that would cause someone to try to find an apartment and stumble on mine.)
At least my door was locked. (and its now barricaded, too). Now I’m going to go stim under a pile of wonderful stuffed animals who make me feel safe.