It was a busy night, especially for a Monday; an assault, a help the officer, an attempted rape, and an armed robbery all before midnight. While I was writing paper on the sexual assault another officer asked if everyone out tonight seemed more off than usual. The scene we had just come from was at one of the public housing buildings where there was no shortage of weirdoes. The details around the call were sketchy and something big seemed to be missing, most likely the part where they all sat around and smoked crack. The apartment was cluttered with bizarre knick knacks, my favorite of which was a raccoon skin hanging over a desk lamp. I had to step over all sorts of things to get in. Even without everything tossed around from the struggle it was obvious the apartment was always this cluttered. Despite the hoarding collection I saw the cable for the tv running beneath a scrap piece of carpet with a handmade sign taped to the floor asking, “PLEASE STEP OVER”. It was probably the last thing I would have tripped on in the room.
Earlier today at another public housing building for an assault that had occurred outside, some of the tenants sat in the lobby rocking back and forth with a far away look. “Hi Officer how are you doing?” Everyone was really nice, just a little weird. Every time I go into that building, which I got lost in my first time there because the main entrance is on the sixth floor, I wonder if I am fated to end up there following some sort of head injury or brain trauma. As I sit in my subsidized room with million dollar views of the city, completely indifferent to me in my new found mental state I will pause every time the police respond to my building. I will look at them as if there is something familiar about them before getting distracted and returning to my insane post-it note ranting collection that is growing on my wall.
I remember the first time I went to one of the city’s mental housing units. It was a disturbance call where a neighbor had been threatened in the lobby. As we entered the lobby this guy approached us in a friendly manner consistent with someone with the mental capacity of a child. “What’s going on? Is everything alright?” he asked us as we headed to the elevator. He followed us into the elevator and rambled about the cold winter we were having and something about rain. We were on our way to room 702. When we all got into the elevator he pushed the seventh floor button. I wondered for a moment if this guy was somehow involved but he didn’t mention anything more than small talk banter. We got out of the elevator and he walked ahead of us to room 702. I watched him as he unlocked the door and went inside. “Are you the one that called us?” I asked. He walked into his apartment, turned around and stood in the opening of the door like he had just answered it. There was a pause and for a moment. We stood there looking at each other. The guy took a deep breath and sighed as if getting into character and said in a more inflection than before, “Hi thanks for coming out.” He explained the convoluted incident which turned out to be a verbal altercation over the use of the common room type writer. The problem was solved by just listening to his story with a smile and a nod.
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