When I first started blogging I spent an entire summer here in the Hood by myself. My husband was working out of town and was only able to come home on the weekends.
I got a little mental that summer.
It was extremely hot. The temperatures hovered in the 100′s during the day and there was very little relief from the heat at night. The Hood became nocturnal. People would roam the streets fighting, multiple shoot-outs became an every single night occurence..I began to feel like I was trapped and couldn’t breathe.
I had never been afraid to be here by myself and I suddenly became afraid of everything. Things that never bothered me before – bothered me. My home turned into a cell surrounded by prison walls. I became an insomniac.
I had the summer off from work so I would read a lot. I tried really hard to get into Facebook, but only succeeded in becoming an on-line poker junkie. A friend suggested the show “Hoarders”….and, “Intervention”….I would pile the pillows up on my bed, staring out the window, knowing the night was coming and feeling the dread of it.
The t.v. became my companion. I would watch these people with their homes filled with trash and junk piled high from the floor to the ceiling. I would marvel at their sickness and be bewildered they would lose their children because they hoarded.
Cleaners would try to help them. They would come in wearing hazmat-like suits because the air was foul and their homes were covered in animal feces. I once saw them clean out a lady’s kitchen..they had to use shovels and when they got to the bottom of the rubble, they pulled out a few freakin’ dead cats!
Night would start closing in around me outside.
The addicts would come next. A dizzying array of broken people who thought they were being filmed as part of a documentary about their drug habits. Alcohol, crack, speeders, paint-huffers, a very bizarre mom who liked to hit herself. She would lock herself in the bathroom and punch herself repeatedly…she was thinking about progressing to a cutter….
And of course the ending of this show was always a tear-jerker. The unsuspecting participant would have to face their accusers…”Surprise!” Hand-written letters of please stop doing this, we don’t want you to die, I’m leaving if you don’t, your disease is killing me, too….will you accept treatment?
I would log onto FB afterwards and read the frenzy of comments these two shows generated. Some of shock and horror, some of how could they do this, and a few humorous takes…I won’t lie….
This is what I’m doing with my time for the sake of entertainment flitted across my mind….the summer loomed out in front of me…sleep started coming less and less. I acquired 2 million dollars in cyber poker money.
I would turn off the t.v. , but immediately would be engulfed in the sounds of the night. The angry shouts outside the windows, the sound of the ever persistent gun-shots ringing out, pounding feet on the pavement – constant bombardment of police and ambulance sirens.
I sat here one night in front of the computer and watched a police car spotlighting my windows. The light danced to and fro all over my house and yard. A panicky fear set in. I was never afraid someone was out to get me or anything, I was mostly afraid someone would break into my house to get away…to get away from the cops, to get away from the person chasing them…what would I do? What would I be willing to do to stop an intruder?
I turned the t.v. back on – the constant background sound was better than sitting and listening for something bad to happen. I have a basic cable package so I said to hell with “Hoarders” and “Intervention” and started watching the Discovery channel and a few things on the History channel.
I got really into the Biography channel, I watched the bio’s of Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy, Janice Joplin and the making of several movies. I watched a re-enactment of the shoot out at the OK Corral, shark week, the guy who lived with the Kodiak grizzlies, and pretty much every episode of “This is how you make this” that came on.
But I quickly exhausted everything. I can only handle so much of cooking shows and if you’ve ever been an insomniac with basic cable you know that eventually everything becomes one big fucking re-run.
I made it through the first month of that summer on four hours of sleep a night, but then I started having nightmares and would sleep just an hour or two in the early morning before dawn and would be pissed off at myself for falling into exhaustion.
Then the rat came….