Omens

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.