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The "art of disappearing" turned out to be a little more difficult than I thought (referring to my second to last entry and to Naomi Shihab Nye's poem, which I quoted there).
To continue the story, which did not end where I left it. The next day, I got home from the grocery store, where Josephine had taken me, to avoid another episode of paranoia (which still afflicts me despite an extra 5mg of Abilify, though it may be diminishing slowly...) and found a message from Nancy on my phone. She would be at my building by noon, it said, and would come in and we could meet in the dining room to discuss the jewelry I had already made and how much she owed me for it.
No way, José, I thought to myself. You will not meet me anywhere. I'm not getting within ten feet of you...I don't trust you as far as I can throw you, let alone enough to be within scratching distance.
Instead, I decided that when she rang the intercom, I would instruct her to go to the back door of the building, where the double doors were more secure and she she could not easily get inside when someone else went through the door.
To explain, as it was critical to my plans: the front doors are electrically operated and swing open automatically when you wave a fob in front of an electric "eye" -- leading to the situation that anyone following you can get in too, for as long as the door remains open, which is about 30 seconds. In the back, the door is only opened manually, even though the lock operates by the fob as well, so no one can easily follow you, as long as you pull the door shut after you. That's why I wanted Nancy at the back door. I wanted her to stay outside the outside door, so I could place her jewelry bag outside the locked inner door, pull the door shut behind me, then let her come inside and get her bag once I was safely in a locked building.
Well, she arrived at 12 as she promised, and rang the buzzer. I explained in as calm tones as I could muster what I needed her to do, and she screamed into the intercom, "F---k you!"
Ah, so now she was showing her true colors. I sort of thought she had this side to her. But now I didn't know what to do. Did that f--k you mean that she would do as I asked, or did it mean that she was going to get in and come upstairs despite my telling her she was not permitted to? I couldn't decide, and in not deciding, i made my decision, and stayed right where I was...I figured, if I didn't bring the jewelry downstairs now, she would ring again or simply have to come back another time. Either way, she would figure it out, and know why.
OR she would do something like call the police. I wouldn't put that past her, since she had already threatened to take legal action. I sat in my green recliner and thought and thought about what I'd do and say if the police came to my door. I knew they had no grounds upon which to arrest me or even demand the bag of jewelry from me. All they could do was try to scare me into giving it to them and I could decide whether or not to play along...But I didn't want that sort of confrontation, not in my own building where everyone might hear of it.
I sat and thought about the possibilities for about 3/4 of an hour, until I realized that nothing had happened nor, probably, was going to. I relaxed. Then it did. Someone knocked. softly enough, but someone knocked. Probably not the police, I decided, but you never know. W --- field police are nothing if not pollite and do not hammer on doors..."Who's there?" I called.
"Who's there?" I called again.
Still no answer. So I got up from my chair and tiptoed to the door. THe spy-eye was covered up with a map so I couldn't look out, alas, but I put my ear to the door. Nothing. "Who's there?" I said, in a normal speaking voice, expecting silence for a third time.
"Evil spirits are here--" someone hissed. I thought I heard someone's clothing rustle, like Nancy was still standing there, not leaving. This scared me.
"You are not allowed in the building. If you don't get out NOW, I will call the police." I said.
But I didn't mean it. I was just trying to scare her. I didn't know what to do, but I didn't dare call the police, I didn't think. What I did do was call the office downstairs. Unfortunately, it was Saturday and only the answering service was on. They told me they would take a message, but the building manager would only get it on Monday and if I was scared I should call 911.
I thought about it and finally, after trying to call Lynnie (no answer) and Karen (absent, away in NYC) I decided I had to. The police answered immediately and said they would send an officer over in 5 minutes. We are a very small town, you see, and our building, housing elderly/disabled, is visited by the police and ambulances regularly, so the police recognized the address and they are never very far away.
When the officer came, I explained what had happened, and he said he would have taken the bag and driven it over to Nancy, but for the fact that no one had any idea where she lived, and she did not answer the phone to tell us. He called her then and told her that I would be happy to return the jewelry if she came over and followed my instructions, but she had to do that as I was scared of her and did not want to be in the same room with her. Then he left and I thought all was resolved except for her call back or her second arrival.
Instead, I waited until 9pm that evening, when I got a phone call from the police once again. This time a different officer asked me if I was willing to give back the jewelry...as if he knew nothing about the original call from me. As indeed I think he did not. I said, I would like nothing better. "Will you give it ALL back?" This was an insulting question, I thought, but I answered it with, "Not only will she get all of it back, but I am including a necklace I made and earrings, using my beads, free of charge." He made a noise that sounded impressed, but I didn't care. I just wanted the call to end and for him to come get the damn jewelry. "Did you fix her jewelry?" he grilled further, as if I were her employee and had stolen it. "Excuse me, but she didn't PAY me..."
Finally, he came to my apartment and I said to him, before I made any move to give him the bag of despised jewelry, "suppose she spent a long time telling you how wonderful and good she is, and how terrible I am..." He shook his head, but I didn't believe him. I handed him the bag. But I also explained my side of the story, a little, but I was so tired I didn't really care if he understood or not. I told him that I'd separated every necklace into a 2" by 3"plastic bag. I did not however tell him I had given her the jewelry I'd made her to teach her a lesson about real generosity (which she evidently, for all her talk talk talk about her acts of charity, did not understand) and about turning the other cheek...
Of course, I wasn't really "turning the other cheek" because to do that I'd have had to invite her to abuse me further, and I was trying in fact to avoid that. But I was letting her have something I'd made free of charge, which she did not deserve, which felt to me like...Well, you get my drift.
Sorry for that digression. IN any event, my tale is just about told. All I can say is that I found out that Nancy had actually called me 5 times to threaten legal action, the day before. The thing is, she had called Karen's number, not mine, so Karen had complained to a friend that she was being harrassed by Nancy and had taken her phone off the hook before she left for NYC. When she got home, she too wanted to return various items to Nancy, and in order to do so, called the police herself. She had it easier, because of my experience, and did not let Nancy get the final say, but forced her to come get her items, which she left in the foyer with the police at a certain hour, without waiting for a phone call back or a more convenient time for Nancy...
The only "good" thing to come from the whole thing is this: Nancy's reaction to Karen was an unmitigated, "She is a pathological liar, can't you tell?" This confirmed what I had feared and felt all along. Now I can trust my instincts more and also distrust Karen and what she tells me more freely. I don't tell her this, I just feel better about taking everything she says with many grains of salt, if not discounting them altogether. I don't necessarily distrust them immediately, because I tend to trust what people say in general at first. (At least certain things, certain times) But afterwards, I am learning to doubt the veracity of things that don't quite fit the picture of what I suspect is actually true...
So all's well (?) that ends well, though I wouldn't say all ended very well at all, nor that the lessons I learned were very good ones, either about Nancy or about Karen.
Posted by pamwagg at April 29, 2008 07:29 PM
Forgive me if I do not proofread this tonight, but it is 11:30 and I must go to sleep as the visiting nurse comes at 7:30am and I cannot get less than 7 hours sleep (I won't fall asleep for an hour yet). TTFN