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Thinking of Calling the Cops

Got a neighbor down the hall who has a severely borderline personality. She routinely flips out just screams for hours. I come home, maybe one in six times before the elevator doors open I hear her screaming her head off with such anger, true rage that I had never witnessed. We go out for dinner (me and the wife, not the batshit neighbor), come back, she’s still yelling. This has been going on since we moved in and it appears to be getting worse.

At first I was sympathetic to the neighbor, thinking maybe she’s delusional, swinging around into angry histrionic and possibly psychotic territory every few days and could probably use a little involuntary trip to the hospital and some throat medicine given how miserable her own existence must be. I had thought for a long time that she was probably just yelling at an ex husband over the phone because I never heard anyone else shout or speak back at her when passing audible range of her door, never hung around long enough to get the context, never saw anyone go in or out of her apartment until recently the suitcase incident which revealed it was a soft-spoken Hispanic live-in maid.

The last time this started, the maid threatened to quit, put a suitcase in the hallway, sobbing, begging the woman to stop shouting, I mean really begging, denying that various things were her fault, building up some nerve, but to my dismay she caved and brought the suitcase back inside, apologizing, enduring more wrath of this perceived betrayal on top of whatever else the woman had been shouting about before the suitcase gesture. The maid’s been working for this woman for fifteen years. Why hasn’t she quit? Battered woman’s syndrome? Maybe she has sort of calibrated and thinks that this is not that abnormal, maybe she’s poor and afraid she won’t find another job easily. Maybe being subjected to this chronic verbal abuse is part of their agreement and she is compensated well, who knows.

It reminds me how when you tell someone about someone else having some form of crazy, you’re supposed to say “she’s suffering from seasonal affective disorder” or whatever. This maid, and wow she is surely suffering, she is on the receiving end of this madness, the type that over time can induce disease in someone else. It makes it difficult to use such language, that my neighbor is suffering from anything, even though she is. They both are, the way I see it.

Something I remember from Sunday school comes to mind, the story of the wounded man on a road everyone walks by — ahh yes the Good Samaritan – and I think it may apply here: I may be among other neighbors who assume or hope that one of the other neighbors, in judging this as actionable, does something about this situation, namely calling the cops; and though I think this is a wrong situation that could use rectification, getting involved would ultimately be ineffective unless it cost this woman her job somehow, and that woman may be willing to pay this price. And if that’s true it’s her right, isn’t it, to stay put. Eviction or her employer getting arrested or hospitalized would likely jeopardize that, though it would quiet things down.

Unless the maid quits, this is compulsive behavior that has no shot of being mitigated without some very impressive psychiatry. That would be a tough sell on my part to just knock on the door, introduce myself, ask her to pardon me for interrupting their dialog to suggest she ought to look into “getting help.”

Man, still going on, a marathon. Sad shit.