Remember how I said I moved?
Soooo glad I did that. Lemme tell you why.
I realize that I may have come across as a brat in my blog entries where I complained about my former building, landlord, and downstairs neighbor. The stories I conveyed are true, and I don’t mask my sassiness because it’s funnier that way. But in reality, I didn't move only because the guy who lived below me was noisy. He was only a contributing factor. The truth is, the place was sketchy. I know this sounds snooty and uppity and sheltered etc etc etc. Sure, so someone in the building smoked a lot of pot. Most people would say, so what? Actually, it was more that a LOT of the people in the building smoked pot. Yes, people were messy and sometimes dropped their unwanted third class mail in the front of the building and left their cigarette butts in the hallway but who cares? That’s not REALLY a safety hazard, is it? Somewhat more worrying was the fact that a LOT of people left the front door open, because they’re apparently too busy to come let in their friends or too weak to carry their apparently extremely weighty keychains with them when they walk their dogs. I mean, I didn't really mind during the day, but if I came back after a night out and the front door was propped open at 1am, then I started to feel a little uncomfortable. But the fact that, judging from the times I stopped by my apartment to grab something in the middle of the day (yay for living five minutes from work!), some of these people never actually WENT to work was a little weird. I mean it’s not PROOF that they’re getting income from selling illegal drugs or weapons. Maybe they’re just nocturnal wildlife photographers, or strippers. But they all had really nice cars for wildlife photographers.
Are these complaints just baseless whining?
But the armed arrest I witnessed tonight begs to differ.
I've been in the process of cleaning the last few items out of the old place all week. Tonight I went over after work one last time to clean, throw some third-generation (well, third grad generation anyway) furniture, and pick up my last few items.
On one of my trips to the dumpster, I noticed a tall, nice looking man walking a dog.
On my next trip downstairs I realized there were two men. And they weren't so much walking the dog as following it. It also happened to be a police dog. And lo and behold, they were policemen.
I figured they had been called in for another pot junkie stinking up the place. I chuckled at the thought of tipping them off to my old neighbor. As I walked back into the building, I held the door for a guy who lives in the building. The police watched us go inside.
Back in the apartment, I gathered up the final armful of crap and locked the door. Good riddance. I made my way to the back parking lot, now sans police and dog, and threw my armful in the trunk. Before getting in the car, I decided to check my mail one more time. As I approached the area with the mailboxes, I saw one of the cops again. He was asking some of my former neighbors if they had seen a white guy wearing a back hat running by. It slowly dawned on me that this might not be just a dinky pot bust.
It was then that I realized the policeman was carrying an assault rifle.
I had to follow through on checking my mail or it would have looked like I was avoiding them. “Oh my. Lets get inside the building!” the women talking to the policemen said. I grabbed my single piece of mail (a Comcast internet ad- not worth it, for the record) and hurried to my car. Just as I was getting in, someone yelled, “GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!”
So here I was, sitting outside of a building where I no longer lived, having just totally cleaned out everything I own, blocked in the parking lot by a police car that had just moved to cut off anyone who might try to help their suspect escape. What. The heck. Do I do.
I just sat there. It seems like the guy wasn't who they were looking for but an accomplice. Two more cop cars and a motorcycle officer arrived. They shined their flashlights and questioned the guy. I sat in my car trying not to look suspicious but watching in my rear view mirror so that I could get the hell out of there as soon as the cruiser moved.
In the end the motorcycle officer walked around back and I asked him if I could leave. He asked me if I had seen anyone run behind the building, and then told me they’d move the cruiser soon. They did, but none of them actually left. There was another cop car about a half mile away down the most likely route of escape on foot.
I don’t know what the heck was going on or why and frankly I don’t care. I don’t think I've ever personally seen police carrying their weapons drawn and I KNOW I've never seen it so close to somewhere I used to sleep. Maybe this incidence was a fluke and maybe it was unrelated any occupants of my former building. But the next time I don’t feel safe, I’m listening to my gut, no matter how people scoff or assure me it’s no big deal.