Catching Hope

Looking for the grace of God that surrounds us

Doorbells, and the End of the World.

on October 10, 2010

So it seemed to be, anyway, as I was getting ready for bed at 1:00 am on a Friday night not too many weeks ago.  The end of the world, that is.

*Note: this post is dedicated to my dear roommate Rachel, who was not home to witness it and to whom I refuse to give the pleasure of a re-enactment for the sake of photographs.

I am not even sure it has been a long enough time for me to recover.  Even as I write this I am feeling my fingers tense up and my heart rate increase.  Two weeks ago on Friday night I thought the end of my world had come.

The doorbell rang.

Sounds innocent, right?  HOWever keep in mind it was the middle of the night.  In a still-somewhat ghetto neighborhood.

When I was little I was taught to NEVER, never never never answer the door after dark.  Especially when I was home alone.

Which I was, at this particular hour on this particular Friday.  Rachel was working and Sarah had left a note that she was staying at a friend’s house overnight.

So, being the good little city-living person that I am, I let the doorbell alone and didn’t go to look who it was.  I figured it was either a kid or a drunk person and they would go away.

They didn’t.

After a few minutes of constant doorbell-ringing, my head started a slight spin.  This slight spin soon turned into a downright downward spiral of irrational panic.

That’s right. Panic, folks.  Sheer terror.  As I thought about the fact that people who want to break in to houses often ring the doorbell several times to make sure no one was home before they kick the door in.

As I saw the pickup truck parked directly in front of the house.  The getaway car, of course.  Lots of room for everything they were going to steal.  Were they (*gasp!) armed??  Knives? Guns? Anything?

The pitch of my voice and the speed of my speech heightened as I called my Superhero Daddy. (“What do I do? what do I do??….*gasp* …ringing….*gasp*[pitch of voice increases] they’re in the back now….I think there’s two of them…oh daddy I can hear them….*gasp*…”)

The tremor in my voice increased as I then called 911 and panickedly told the operator that I thought I was about to get broken in to.

“What do I do while I wait for the police?”, my little voice eeked out (by this time the pitch of my voice was at a pure squeak).

Apparently there’s nothing TO do while you wait for the police, except call if anything changes.  Or so the operator told me.

The doorbell kept ringing.  Whoever It was, was going from the back door to the front door, back and forth, back and forth.

I got back on the phone with Superhero Dad, waiting for the inevitable.  My little chipmunk voice now pretty much could only peep out, “It’s still going, it’s still going….what do I do?” over and over again.

(*pace* squeak out some unintelligible expression of fear into the phone* pace* repeat.)

That’s how the next 1o minutes went, mostly.

Except when I was planning my Official Escape, which was to go on to my porch roof via my bedroom window and let the Perps take whatever they wanted (I, rather brilliantly, had locked myself in my bedroom).  I attempted this escape just prior to calling the cops.  Did I not mention that before?  You see, it just so happens that around the time Superhero Dad mentioned calling the police (about three minutes into the doorbell-ringing) I was slurking around on the roof trying to determine the best place to avoid being seen by the Unknown Creep (should I close the window behind me so they don’t know I’m here??? but how would I get back IN once they were gone…) and it then struck me that the neighbors, if awake, might just call the cops on ME for suspiciously prowling around on my own roof.  Despite the red stripey pajamas and fuzzy white zippey-up hoodie, it probably looked somewhat suspicious.

Besides, what if the Crazy-Eyed Assailant/s could HEAR me talk on the roof?

So I slunk back in. I left the window unlocked and ready to go just in case.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  (*pace*squeak*pace*squeak…..)

Now Superhero asks if there are any lights on at the neighbors.  There are.  He calls that neighbor from another line, who shines a flashlight on the Lone Blatant Decrier of Justice (by this time I have determined that there is indeed only one of them, judging by the time in between front and back doorbells).  The Fearsome Criminale doesn’t answer.

*pace*squeak*pace*squeak (“oh daddy, can you PLEASE ask him to come and see who it is???”)

Daddy asks the Kind Neighbor. Kind Neighbor gets dressed and goes out to see what the trouble is.  (Despite the lights, I guess he was in bed after all. oops.)

Muffled voices.  Female voice….familiar voice….

Sudden wave of relief mixed with ocean rush of adrenaline leaving my body.

Sudden thought that I had better call 911 back and tell them not to come.  This was fortunate, for my roommate at least.  Because the Nefarious Personage was not a criminal at all.  It was my roommate who didn’t have her keys or her phone when she got dropped off earlier than she expected.

I let her in (poor thing was freezing), then spent the next hour trying to realize that no, I was not about to get attacked and yes, I could indeed now close and lock the window.

Everyone was finally in bed (Superhero Dad and Mom, Poor Half-Frozen Roommate, Kind Neighbor and Rather-Foolish-Feeling-Yet-Still-Totally-Freaked-Out-Me).  And then there was a garage fire across the alley.  I missed it, because even though the sirens were close I decided we had had enough for one night.

I cannot quite laugh about this yet.  Perhaps in three months.  Or maybe three years, considering how elevated my adrenaline levels were and how ridiculously out of control the old “Fight or Flight” response was.  Perhaps you will laugh, though.  Or maybe you will (or should) cry.

Point of this story is, it was not the end of the world, as I so highly suspected at the time.

I am sorry don’t have any major applications to life on this one.  Except to say that I am glad my sympathetic nervous system is intact.  Or was, at least, before this incident.

The only other thing I can think of is just perhaps some little word of wisdom, something having to do with red stripey pajamas and fuzzy white zippey-up hoodies and not sneaking around on porch roofs.  I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.

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4 responses to “Doorbells, and the End of the World.

  1. Expressmom says:

    I am sorry to admit, I was laughing during this little story (knowing it had to have a happy ending as you were able to blog about it.) And having done similar things myself!
    What struck me funny, was I had just read your “ABOUT” section. I can only imagine how many emergency, panic filled, traumatic situations you must face as a pediatric/hospice nurse!
    But thanks, because now, when reminding my own kids about home-safety, I will re-iterate the part about not opening the door to strangers and re-enforce the part about being allowed to say “Who is it?” 😉

  2. Rachel says:

    I’m coming up with photographs, just you wait!

  3. scottjisaok says:

    You’ve got lots of Kind Neighbors to call 🙂

  4. Andie says:

    In situations like this in the past, I have snuck down to the living room, turned off the lights and peeeeeeekkkkkeeeed out an ever-so-tiny crack in the curtains to figure out who it was. But it’s not as easy to see from your living room, huh?

    Poor Kristi. I would have been scared, too.

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