Living life laid off complicates life in ways I never expected

Absolutely no one is going to read this blog today, the day after the untimely and tragic deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, but I’m awake updating it because, since a strange man pounded on my door at 3:30 this morning demanding to see people who do not live with me, I haven’t been able to go back to sleep.

When the loud beats on the front door of my apartment jolted me out of my slumber, I didn’t even take the time to put my glasses on.  I rushed to the door and looked out the peephole.  I could only make out a blurry image of a white male’s head; the rest was distorted by the peephole.  I think I asked, “Who is it?” or “What do you want?”  He asked if men I do not know were home.  I said, “You have the wrong apartment.”  He asked again.  I repeated my answer.  He asked if he could come in for a minute and call one of them.  I ran back to my bedroom, shut and locked the door, grabbed my cell phone, and with trembling hands, dialed 911.

Police arrived probably within three minutes.  I can’t be sure because I was using my body as a barricade to my bedroom door, in case the strange man decided to break down the front door, and I wasn’t about to move until I was sure that either he was gone or the police were outside.  I didn’t hear any sirens, and the angle of my windows to the parking lot combined with the lightning outside would’ve made the lights on top of the patrol cars difficult to distinguish.

I moved from the door when I felt things had been quiet long enough.  I went to my window and peeked through the blinds.  I saw three patrol cars in front of my building and one police officer standing outside the building that sits cattycorner to my own.  I heard muffled voices from the floors below and outside; fans on high covered up everything else.

Moments later, I heard another knock on the front door, this time loud but normal and solid, and a voice identifying itself as St. Matthews Police.  I looked through the peephole, this time with glasses on, and saw the distinct markings of a police uniform.  I opened the door.  A kind and concerned officer informed me that the man was homeless, had been seen around the area before, and was now in police custody.

I was relieved but visibly shaken.  In fact, I was still shaking, hard, from head to toe, and then I started crying.  The officer asked three times if I was okay and said he wasn’t going to leave until I said that I was.  I took a few deep breaths, assured him that I was all right, took his card, shut and locked my door, and retreated to my bathroom with cell phone still in hand.

Another officer rang the doorbell about two minutes later.  This one asked if the man had tried to kick down the door.  I said no, I hadn’t waited long enough to see if he would.  I looked at the door for evidence of a hard kick but didn’t see any.  The officer said he doesn’t think the man was trying to break in; he was just wandering, and they were probably going to escort him to a homeless shelter rather than to a jail, which didn’t bother me.

I peeked out from the blinds again and caught an officer escort a tall, thin white male in blue jeans, a green t-shirt, a baseball cap and handcuffs, into the back of a patrol car.  They turned on aviator lights – the red ones inside the car – presumably to do paper work or input some data about the night into the computer in the car – and drove away.

I put the direct number to my neighborhood dispatch in my cell phone and lied down.  I called one person, who didn’t answer, and tried to think of others I could call who wouldn’t be so alarmed that they would make me even more nervous, but might be so concerned that they would drive here in the middle of a thunderstorm with bright lightning to help ease my fears.

I decided that making the request during a thunderstorm was unreasonable, and as I desperately sought elusive sleep, my mind raced.  What could have happened if … What do you do when safety – one of your most basic needs in the hierarchy of needs – is disrupted?  I want a dog.  A dog would’ve heard someone even coming up the steps and the barking probably would’ve scared him away.  Wait, I can feed myself fine, but pet food costs money.  And then there’s the initial expense of just buying the dog, getting it spayed or neutered, getting whatever shots it may need from the vet, then there’s regular vet check-ups … Okay then,  I need to move to a more secure apartment complex.  Application for rent.  Wait … they’ll want to know my monthly income before taxes.  And my employer.  And how long I’ve worked there.  God …

Living life laid off complicates things in ways I never expected.

At least I’m awake in time for the morning show tributes to the King of Pop.

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© Mariam Williams, aka The Pink-Slipped Girl, and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mariam Williams and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off or http://livinglifelaidoff.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Any use and/or duplication of any photo contained within this blog without express and written permission from Mariam Williams is strictly prohibited.

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3 Comments

Filed under Mental & Emotional Health, Unemployment

3 responses to “Living life laid off complicates life in ways I never expected

  1. Monique

    Well, I read your article. Maybe I’m the only one who read it today. I think I’ve heard enough about Michael Jackson for the day. I have my own problems to worry about. But I agree with you… being laid off DOES make things in life more complicated… I was laid off. I’m collecting unemployment, but they have stopped my unemployment check temporarily because I was working part-time somewhere, and now that the job has ended, they have to do a judication… So I have NO income coming in. I personally don’t know how I’m going to make it through the next month… Or maybe the next week. Just like you, there are things that I NEED that I can’t afford right now. But all I can say is that things will get better soon… I don’t know when but soon. Keep your head up!

    • The Pink-Slipped Girl

      You keep your head up too, Monique! I’m sorry to hear about your current problem with unemployment assistance. I often consider part-time work, but there are so many nuances in the rules for receiving unemployment compensation that I just stick to a full-time search. (After taxes, I would be making less than unemployment compensation anyway.) I understand that the rules are meant to keep people from abusing the system and to encourage people to get off of unemployment as soon as possible, but the combination of the size of the system itself and the current number of people in the system mean that when there’s a slight change in someone’s circumstances, it can take weeks of red tape to get them back into such a uniform system. I hope there are family, friends, churches, clothes closets, and food pantries you can go to until this mess gets straightened out. Thanks for reading!

  2. Bill

    This was powerfully written. It moved my heart. I know this is very little consolation to your situation, but you can know at least a few people read this and commented today 🙂

    I believe that in the end things always work out. I believe that God has a plan for you, no matter what your situation may look like while you’re sitting in the depths of your your sorrow. I believe that faith and courage are best revealed during times of hardship and trial. You are a strong woman and I believe in you as a person. You once told me that you’ve chosen a solitary profession. Well, that choice implies that you have the strength to handle and weather the lonely and complicated storm. Living life laid off can be complicate, but it can also be interesting.

    hang in there.

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