Real time: Monday afternoon lesson planning & physical violence

Had to call the cops today. The couple downstairs had one of their big blow-out fights that turn physical and then some. I was trying to develop my lesson plans for 4 classes tomorrow. But it’s hard to focus on rhetorical devices and structuring peer review when you hear a man yelling “Stop it! Stop it” over and over and a woman yelling “Call the police!” and “I can’t breathe!”

What do you do? I’m the only other person home, so I know they’ll know I’m the one who called the police. I know within a few hours of the cops coming by, they’ll get back together again and bond over hating me. I don’t want to have anything to do with their lives. Even more so, I don’t want to be complicit in her possible death.

Color me old-fashioned. But when a woman screams that she can’t breathe and would someone call the cops…I call the cops.

The landlord texted me a few minutes ago. The landlord always seems willing to believe these people’s stories. I understand: there are 2 of them, so they pay double what I do, so their word is literally twice as valuable. But dude. Come on.
They told the landlord there was no fight, that the girl was just having an asthma attack. Last time the cops came before this time, the man told them there’d been no fight, that the girl was just drunk and clumsy and had bumped into things.
I heard her, distinctly, say “Get off me,” then “Call the police,” then “I can’t breathe.” That is not what an asthma attack sounds like.

It’s an hour and a half since the police came. The girl’s gone now, but she’ll be back before long. The man is still downstairs. I’ve made zero progress on my lesson plans for tomorrow, because violence and abuse and circular self-destruction are squeakier wheels than “How is Alison Bechdel using metaphor in Fun Home?” and “Can you connect how Marjane Satrapi made you feel in Persepolis with why you suppose she did what she did?” and I only have so much oil to go around.

It’s 3:00. I have to leave my apartment in order to get work done. I’m so tired. In my bones tired. When I spoke with the 911 operator, what I gave off aura-wise was not anxiety, or fear, or concern. It was exhaustion. I’m fucking tired of not being able to work at home because the idiots beneath me don’t know how to act beyond hurting one another and coming back for more. I’m fucking tired of feeling like I’ve wandered into someone else’s punishment in Hades. Sisyphus would be tired of these people and their shit.

It’s 3:00 and my brain is light years away from professor mode. More like pie a la mode. My brain is a syrupy bowl of melted ice cream.

This week I begin looking for my 5th address in 9 months.


2 thoughts on “Real time: Monday afternoon lesson planning & physical violence

  1. Wow. That’s kind of hard to imagine. I can’t believe their turnaround time is that quick. These people sound like those winners on cops who get busted with 9 pounds of meth and a crackpipe and are like “that’s not mine.”


  2. I know! I can almost envy their creative skills…you know, if not for all the violence and abuse that spawns them. I need to get away from them because I can tell my exposure on a daily basis to their nuttiness is threatening my own sense of reason. The other day when they’re laughing and having a grand time mere hours after the fight, I found myself thinking “OK. Screw it. Next time they’re fighting, I won’t call the cops. Hell, if one of ’em kills the other, then at least I won’t hear them fighting anymore.” But honestly, instinctively, even though she’s full of BS, if I hear a woman fighting with a man yell out, “Call the police,” what am I gonna do? NOT call the police? Of course I am. Even though it feels like manipulation on her part by now, I can’t start thinking the crazy way they do. The only solution is to get out of here. Which is sad. ‘Cuz life’s a pretty sweet fruit when the beach is less than a mile away. But life’s a downright Jolly Rancher when you’re not living above the Evil Honeymooners.


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