I recently spent a week reading Augusten Burroughs’ classic memoir Dry, which, in a nutshell, is a humorous yet very dark account of his experience recovering from alcoholism in NYC.
(Side note: After using the phrase “in a nutshell” just now, I was reminded of that scene in Austin Powers where what’s-her-name-with-the-machine-gun-boobs was all, “That’s you in a nutshell, Austin, isn’t it?” and then he was like, “No. THIS is me in a nutshell: HELP! I’M IN A NUTSHELL. HOW IS THIS NUTSHELL SO LARGE?” and I legitimately laughed out loud, which was fun for two seconds but then became highly embarrassing because I’m currently writing this post from a crowded train.)
Also during the week in question, I dealt with a literary rejection (the aftermath of which led me to impulse-buy a two hundred dollar toothbrush, because that’s how I do), suffered from a debilitating cold, and had like, three existential crises in a period of ten minutes after watching The Life of Pi.
So by the time I went to bed on Friday night – after drinking probably about a third of a box of wine, which, yes, I just said “box” right now, because economy – I was in a pretty dark mental space. I was basically Dakota Fanning’s evil, Volturi, capable-of-inflicting-pain-with-only-her-thoughts character in The Twilight Saga. (This comparison works on multiple levels, by the way, because I had purchased and worn a sweater with an inexplicably large hood just like hers that week, too.)
Anyway. So I’m in bed, right? And I fall asleep pretty easily, because wine. It’s one in the morning, let’s say. I’m dreaming about, I don’t know, Jafar from Aladdin naked in a cold prison cell (because dark), and getting closer and closer to REM status with each passing minute.
Well, about three hours into this cycle I was abruptly awoken by an insanely loud banging noise coming from my front door. It sounded like POUND-POUND-BOOM… POUND! BOOM! POUND-BOOM! And then BOOM again. And so on.
At this point, I was all delirious and like, “Whaaa…t?” (When really I should have probably just stayed in character as Jafar and screamed “WHO DISTURBS MY SLUMBER?!” …That was Jafar, right? As the Cave of Wonders? Or am I getting Aladdin all wrong? Steven, can you help?)
I slowly got up and made my way toward the door, but stopped about ten feet shy of it, because that’s when the handle started violently shaking from the outside in conjunction with the aggressive banging, and I realized that there was a crazy person there trying to pull a Miley and come in like a wrecking ball.
At first I was all, OH MY GOD, IT’S A PSYCHO MURDERER COME TO MAIM ME IN MY SLEEP. But then I was like, Wait. Clearly this person wants to be heard. Maybe I know who it is. But then why isn’t he or she yelling, “Nic! Let me in!”?
I checked my phone to see if any friends (or, let’s be honest, ex-boyfriends) had texted me with something about how they were drunk and in crazy mode and stranded in my town, but there was nothing.
Upon deciding that it was indeed a stranger, I really wanted to go look through the peephole. But then the thought of possibly creating a shadow at the crack of the door, which would indicate to the intruder that I was home and standing right in front of them, was frightening. So I just stayed where I was, bewildered and scared and a little ready to run to the bathroom and hide in my shower while pitifully crouching with a bottle of shampoo in one hand and a toilet plunger (I lack a baseball bat) in the other.
But then the banging and handle-shaking came to a sudden halt, so I waited a few minutes and tip-toed my way to the door to surreptitiously get a view of the hallway. I did consider that Crazy Pants McGhee might still be there, diabolically waiting for me to creep up and put my face up to the peephole so that he or she could creep up and put his or her face up to the peephole, with like, his or her one eyeball (all eerie and fish bowl-like) giving me a cursing look while he or she let out an evil/threatening/maniacal laugh, but I decided to take my chances and hope that he or she in fact wasn’t the Joker from Batman.
(Side note: Can we talk about how incredibly sick I am of saying “he or she” right now? I really wanted to just say “they,” but I think that’s grammatically incorrect. Right? I suppose I could have just arbitrarily chosen a gender for the sake of flow and ran with it, but I feel like, in terms of offending people, that’s a screwed-either-way situation.)
When I finally looked through the peephole, I saw that the psycho intruder was still there. Except ON THE FLOOR, LIKE, SLEEPING. All I could really make out was the back of his or her red coat. And the fact that he or she was basically in the fetal position.
As bizarre as this was, though, it didn’t bother me as much as it probably should have.
In fact, it gave me enough comfort to be able to be like, Okay, I guess if my psycho intruder is going to bed, that means I should too, and so I did. And then I woke up six hours later, and he or she was gone altogether, leaving me incredibly relieved that the nightmare was over but also confused and somewhat dissatisfied with the lack of a resolution. It was akin to what I imagine sex with Newt Gingrich might be like.
When I started telling other people about this experience, I realized that my reaction was totally not as extreme as it should have been and I probably should have called the cops. But who thinks of these things in the heat of the moment? (Normal people?)
In retrospect, I think what happened was the result of one of the following possible scenarios:
- Someone who lives in my building was severely intoxicated and/or on some really good drugs and thought they were actually locked out of their own apartment.
- Someone who is involved in a highly illegal international drug ring was given my address as a fake from someone who owes them money, and so this was a drug lord’s suburban crony coming to collect. (Think Piper’s ex-lesbian lover from Orange Is The New Black, except more violent.) This would explain why she staked out my front door after failing to break in, but it would not explain why she vanished in the morning without notice.
- Remember that married guy I made out with a couple months ago? I suppose it could have been his wife dramatically seeking retribution.
Or maybe my dark energy from the preceding week’s events sent out a negative frequency signal to the universe and simply drew this entire experience right to me, and so the whole thing was just a big testament to the importance of staying positive and light.
You know what? I should probably burn that Dakota Fanning sweater.