A few months ago, I was shaken awake by my girlfriend at about 3 in the morning. I was groggy, and there was a loud banging in the background. I looked over at her and asked what was up. Her words made my blood run cold:
"Somebody’s trying to get in…"
Fear does wonders for you when you’re sleepy. We live in a pretty safe area with a lot of people in the building, so I didn’t think we were dead. But I was frozen for a moment. I then composed myself and thought about grabbing the softball bat that sat in the back of my closet. I got up and walked out of the bedroom and realized that the banging was too far away.
"That’s not our door," I told her.
I walked over to the front door and looked out the peephole. Our neighbor was desperately banging against her apartment door with two hands, screaming “let me in!” over and over. She banged and screamed for about 2 minutes (a long time) before the door finally opened and she flew in. And it was silent again.
I told this anecdote a few nights ago to a girl I know and her boyfriend. He was from Tennessee - very polite with a firm handshake. After I told them the story, he looked at me like I was insane.
"She sounded like she was in trouble," he said in his folksy accent.
"Uh, yeah, idunno."
"You shoulda walked out and found out what the heck was goin’ on. Or at least open your door and ask if she was all right."
"She looked ok. It felt like a lover’s quarrel."
He was not amused.
"At 3 am with her bangin’ on a door like she’s being hunted by a murderer?"
I was now embarrassed and annoyed.
"If somebody came up behind her or something I would definitely do something," I answered, "I was watching."
"You sure were."
Even though I was right in that it was a lover’s quarrel, he was right in that I couldn’t be sure. I should have asked if she was ok. But I’d like to somehow blame my actions that day on being a lifelong New Yorker.