Well, I have recently came across a couple blogs ("Hi Virginia, Hi Bet!") about strange and somewhat sinister neighbors, I decided to throw in my very own hair-raising saga of my "extraordinary" neighbor.
Let's start with a vivid depiction of my humble abode. . . My current apartment is probably a whopping 700 square feet, mainly composed of a living room. The best part of the living room is the huge double sliding doors out to my deck. (They ARE unusually massive, strangely so really) My deck gives way to a glorious view. . . of a concrete parking lot and other brownstones. Anyway, early last winter when gazing out my window I noticed a strange fellow wearing only a t-shirt, jeans and socks getting into his van. This struck me as odd mainly because of the fact the temperature was below zero, and the ground covered with snow. I'm not particularly observant of my fellow neighbors, and though I'm sure this had been his parking spot for the whole time I've lived here, I never even noticed it. He then proceeded to wipe off a little spot on his windshield, and then just sit in his van. I could see his face peering at me through the windshield and immediately I was unnerved. For one thing, being oblivious to the outside world, I wander around my apartment in who knows what some days. Especially at night after Tuckers asleep and I can schlep around in comfy clothes i.e little shorts and a bra. So I obviously made a note to self . . ."Watch what you wear, woman!"
Do you ever notice how when you buy a new car you all of a sudden see the same car EVERYWHERE? And you kind of wonder, "Where were all those cars hiding when I bought this??" When in reality, it's just that we are more aware and on the lookout for it, so we notice what we would never otherwise thought twice about. Anyway. . .that's what this was like. But the car was "him." It seemed that every time I passed my window (which was pretty frequently considering I live in a box) there he was, staring in my apt while sitting in his van. After a few weeks, it was almost "normal". . . and I just became a little more apt to close the blinds at all times not look out the window for fear of dreaded uncomfortable eye contact.
Then one day, (probably a month after my first sighting) there's a "knock" "knock" on my door. Considering my apartment has controlled access, and I would have to buzz a non-tenant in, I wondered who this could be. Open the door and (surprise, surprise) there stands the peeper from the van. He looks nervous, sweaty, shifty and. . . high. I look at him, and he thrusts this picture into my hands. "I drew a picture of you," says he. Being as polite as possible I take it, thank him, and awkwardly close the door as fast as I can.
Then. . . ten minutes later, comes another knock on the door. Of course, it was him again. This time he's a little bolder, still sweaty but less nervous. He introduces himself: "Ronnie Rodgers, Secret Service." And literally barges into my apartment and begins to talk. . .and talk. . .and talk. He tells his tale of being in the "C.I.A" and going to Vietnam and goes back and forth telling different stories, most of them not even remotely believable. It's obvious to me that this man is experiencing a "manic" episode, characterized by his fast-paced manner of talking and his behavior ranging from one extreme to another.
Well, I think I received 5 visits from him that day. Thus beginning the Ronnie Rodgers saga.
During the few couple weeks these visits became more and more frequent. Often he would knock on my door over 10 times a day (literally!). He would bring strange relics ( more pictures he'd drawn, shiny fake gems for Tucker, a polo shirt with the Secret Service logo on it, a picture of a limo with "Ronald Reagan" in it which he signed in front of me, a pair of Presidential cuff links. . . the list goes on) He left these items in front of my door if I refused to answer, and often times would stand at my door for over 10 minutes hollering my name. During this period I contacted my apartment manager who seemed to think he was harmless, and bought into his C.I.A/war stories and hence felt sorry for him. Somehow the level of the harassment I was experiencing escaped her.
Yes, this picture is one of the many things he left at my door. I haven't even mentioned the best part. . . this man reeks of paint thinner. Not in the "I'm an artist, smell my scent" manner, but in the "I huff and puff and blow my brains aways" kind of way. When he was "high" (which was most of the time) his behavior would be so erratic, you often times couldn't comprehend what he was saying. He would sometimes seem angry, then sad. He would express his anxiety about the "helicopters" that were flying overhead, the sirens in the distance, ect. I understand that these are things that trigger PTSD, however I am fairly certain the chemicals destroying his brain were just as much to blame, if not more.
Honestly, my feelings towards him ranged from sympathetic, to fearful. I never knew quite what to think. One picture he drew in particular, reiterated my feelings of fear. This man is dangerous.
So one day, Ronnie comes over in the a.m, just messed up out of his mind. He is wearing a glow stick necklace, has huge earphones on (not attached to anything) a dirty t-shirt/jeans, holding a rag soaked in paint thinner to his face and he can barely speak. All he can manage is a mumble. It is apparent the man has lost whatever little brains he had left. He won't stop knocking on my door and I refuse to answer after the initial time. This stems my first call to the local police department. They tell me he has a decade long history of inhalant abuse. They come and do a "well-person check" on him. AND THEY LET HIM GO. They come to my apartment, tell me yes it's obvious that he is messed up, yada yada yada. But since it isn't ILLEGAL they can't do anything unless THEY physically see him huffing. Their advice to me? "Move. This isn't a good neighborhood" Wow. Anyway, to make a long story short I called the police on him 3 more times for similar behavior. Fact of the matter is, he was stalking me and harassing me and I was beyond the point of annoyance. I had no idea what he was going to do next, he was so erratic. I wasn't the only one in the building, as others had complained also.
So, It took about 4 months of my privacy being repeatedly invaded and a long conversation with the owner of the apartment building, but he was evicted and now I am Ronnie-free. Woot woot!!