Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Nothing says Good Morning like a hot steaming cup of panic

Remember my neighbour? You know, the one who wanted to move out because my showering was waking her up? Oh, didn't I tell you about that - that she wanted to move? She wanted to pack up her whole apartment and move to another building because my showers were so noisy? Mmmhmm, OK, good luck with that.

Anyway, she's still here, and apparently her hearing is less sensitive, because she didn't say a word the other morning when somebody in the building started to scream. And scream. And scream. And scream some more.

So it's 6 AM and I'm in my bathrobe, drinking my coffee and reading, listening to the radio, when I hear what sounds like somebody yelling, outside. It sounded like kids going "Arghhhh! Arghhhh!" Except that kids don't usually yell "Arghhhh!" rhythmically, with measured pauses between each "Arghhhh!". Especially not at 6 in the morning.

Marmalade heard it too and jumped on the dining room table, twitching his ears and looking around, agitated. I thought it might be on the radio, so I turned it down. No, there it was again.

Harry was sitting silently in the bathtub, as is his wont in the morning (he likes to watch the drips run down the shower curtain), so it wasn't him. No, it sounded like it was coming from upstairs.

I started to feel afraid. There is a couple who live upstairs from me and I've heard them have some loud arguments. Lots of muffled yelling and once, clearly, I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS SHIT ANYMORE".

I opened the front door. I could hear the yelling more clearly now, and also an alarm ringing, distantly, faintly. Like an old fashioned telephone or a school bell. Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng. Punctuated by "Arghhh! Arghhhh!"

I closed the door, locked it, and called 911. (Well, what would you have done?)

Anyway, long story short, the screaming turns out to be somebody stuck between the 7th and 6th floors in the elevator. Which, by the way, just happens to be right outside my neighbour's door.

First I'm on the phone with the police, then the fire department, running back and forth between the phone in my apartment and the elevator (I don't have a cordless or a cell - I don't have a DVD player or a microwave either, isn't that shocking?), reassuring the person stuck in the elevator that help is on the way, relaying information to the authorities. The fire department says they won't come out unless it's a medical emergency, that I have to contact the super who will then contact the elevator repair company who will rescue the victim. For fuck's sake. And of course, I don't have the super's number handy, so guess who has to go down 12 flights of stairs in her bathrobe to knock on the super's door, wake her up, and tell her that somebody's stuck in an elevator.

But while all this drama is going on - the screaming, my talking loudly through the elevator doors to the person trapped inside, the alarm ringing, my door opening and closing, the stairwell door banging - does my neighbour ever once come into the hall to see what's going on?


Maybe she wasn't home, but I doubt it. I'm sure I'm not the only person who heard screaming and alarm going off on Monday morning - I'm just the only person who had the sense to do something about it.

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