I woke up this morning feeling very anxious and I cannot figure out why, exactly, I am feeling this way. The fact that I followed a hearse most of my way in to work today seems a bit coincidental [to use the word in the wrong context for the wrong reason] since I am not very superstitious. I am a little superstitious because there are enough weird things in existence [whatever that means] to feel a little paranoid about the ones I don’t know about.
Anyway, I’m anxious. I feel like I have forgotten something. I have to get some quarters today so that I can wear clean boxers tomorrow, but that is no cause for alarm since I always need quarters. I have to pay my last installment for my guitar lessons today and that shouldn’t be a problem since I have the check written out and sitting in my car. Money, probably, is the problem. Despite my best efforts to save some cash for my trip to Canada, I haven’t done very well. I’m going to have to ration my spending even more over the next month and a half to come up with enough for the trip.
That is probably what is causing the problem. I just bought tickets to see The Format, Something Corporate and Yellowcard and I probably shouldn’t have; despite my grand desire to see The Format. I’ve been hiding my credit card to cut down on the impulsive online spending but it doesn’t work so well when I know where I hid it. I haven’t actually sat down with a pencil and done the math but I think I can save up the $700 bucks I need before June. Post-fishing trip I am going to have to reduce my spending to near nil since I owe my mother a couple grand, my credit card a couple grand and a not so couple grand on my student loans. That is probably what I am anxious about, although the possibility exists that I’m still a bit shook up about what I heard and saw the evening of the day before yesterday.
It started out with muffled yelling that grew progressively louder until it seemed to be centered right outside my door. The door to my apartment is just about as close to the main entrance of the building as you can get and so I hear drunk lovers coming home, bickering old Bosnian women buying gum from the vending machine and a variety of other sounds that exist in most general liminal building spaces. This night, though, it was yelling. A man, fifty years old or so, yelling at a boy of about thirteen. The boy sounded as if he was holding his own at first. Fuck and shit and bastard were in great evidence as this man yelled at the boy who was not his son.
Something about knocking on people’s doors and scaring his wife. A tiny pause that seems quite pregnant in retrospect and then I heard the boy’s high clear voice; the sort of high clearness that a boy’s voice gains when its owner is scared witless. The boy was saying ‘Yes Sir, Please Don’t Hit Me Again.’ By this time I was peering through the peephole on my door and watching. I used to think that peepholes were something that offered distance, removal from a situation, because it doesn’t allow a full, focused or even clear view. Yet when a person is neither focused or clear, a peephole is more than adequate visually.
The man, who had cornered the boy in the middle of the foyer [impressive since there were no corners there,] was wearing a stained wife-beater [I kid ye not] and sweatpants. The boy had a bright yellow shirt on and was doing what I can only describe as the Abject Cower. Again he said it: ‘Please Sir, Don’t Hit Me Again.’
This is the part where I am supposed to burst out of my apartment and defuse the situation, looking like a movie star or something. Well, in the real world, this is the part where my hand starts to shake as I continue looking out of the peephole. I watch the man drive the boy down the hall with his voice, all the while the boy begging: ‘Yes Sir, Only Don’t Hit Me Again.’ Silence.
About ten minutes later I hear the boy again. This time with his friend. I can hear the residual fear in his voice and I go back to the peephole. He is standing right in front of my door and clutching his arm. His friend is just far enough out of the line of sight from the fisheyed view that I have that he can only be made out as a concave blur. The boy is putting on a brave face, talking about calling the police, clutching his arm. This is the part where I bust out of my apartment and take care of the kid. Ask him if he is alright and offer to call the police for him.
Actually this is the part where I go lay back down on my excuse for a bed and open up my book again. When I hear the boy’s muffled voice moving away from me the last thing I hear him say is ‘I’m going to need stitches.’
Is that something worth being anxious about? About how weak I am? I knew I should have gone out and done something about it. I should have at least made sure the kid was ok, especially since I’ve been in similar situations. Instead I made excuses, I didn’t want to get involved, I didn’t want to create ill will with my neighbors. Now I understand why you are supposed to yell ‘Fire’ instead of ‘Help’ if you are in trouble.