I've called the police 4x in the last 24 hours. Twice because of the jackhammering upstairs and twice due to George's stereo pumping through my floor and shaking my dining room table. Due to the noise pollution I can't sleep at all without medication. I toss and turn until about 4 a.m.
10 a.m. I awaken to the sound of g's stereo. Is that what woke me? I'm in worry mode already. The maintenance men break into my apt. at least twice a week. They figure out when I'm gone then break in. I feel depressed. I'm not ready to face my day so I go back to bed and try to sleep more.
Up for good this time. 50 dollars worth of belongings missing this week. Check voice mail.
1. "Miss Snyder I'm sorry , there is nothing we can do here at city council regarding the robberies. You'll just have to keep calling the police. You aren't allowed to change the locks. Do you need a contact name and # over at Northern Police District?
2. Ms. Snyder, this is Tom's taxi. Your credit card didn't go through can you please call us back?
I call both people back. Then I call 411.
ME-I need the # for Northern Plice District please"
electronic operator-I'm sorry , I didn't understand"
ME-"I need the # for Northern police district please"
elctronic operator: "Transferring now."
E-"I need the # for Northern Police District please"
operator "searching, searching, searching" "Maam, I can't find a Northern District in Baltimore, MD."
I wonder to myself. Should I make a police report for the things stolen this week? No, I better not do that while staff is still here in the building. Better wait until evening. I hope I can get an officer to dust for fingerprints as well as see if they can find a match for the blood smear on my dresser drawer, from months ago. (I interpret that smear as a death threat)
12:20 Call chatline. An old acquaintance is on line. I tell him about the robberies. He has an extra v.c.r. He's going to help me next week to set up a discreet security system. We talk for an hour.
1:20 I go to shower. I hope the water pressure is enough to get the shampoo out of my hair. I don't want to call the maintenance men to fix my shower for obvious reasons. At least there is a bathtub.
1:35 Call House of Delegates, get their voice mail. I leave a message asking them if they can advocate for me regarding the robberies.
ditto for the Governor
ditto for Jayne Miller of the I team (a team of people that explore legal problems and then broadcast the investigation on t.v. www.nbc.com)
Return Carol's call from Tom's Taxi. I suggest they need a new credit card swiper if they can't get my card to work. She takes my credit card numbers again. this time it works.
2:23 I'd like a cold coffee. I gather my belongings together to put in my backpack. The backpack is very heavy and that's bad for my spine. But I don't have a car, so I have no choice. These are the items I'll need today. I hide the tapes under the pillow, the soup under the sheet, the money in that very clever place. I blast the radio and begin to leave the house. I can't let staff see me leave. Just as I'm on my way out the door, a maintenance man walks past my door. I stall. I wait for him to turn the corner, I put the 8x11 sheet of paper in the apt. door, then make a mental note of how it's placed there. then I leave. There's a note that falls to the ground that someone stuck in my door. It's another demand from the office.
"You must come to the office between 1 and 5 on Friday to turn in your side door keys. We need to give you the new keys. This is for your own safety."
Safety my ass, I think. They are the reason I'm not safe. On top of that, what if we are at work between those hours, or out of town. Then we'd get a "lease infraction" for not following the rules. What a horrible place to live.
I don't take the elevator. I take the side entrance then climb down the three flights of stairs. A maint. man sees me leave.
I walk to Brick Wall Drug Store to buy a cold coffee. The clerk at the front register doesn't like to ring up white women, so I take my purchase to the pharmacy where most of the employees are pretty decent.
I walk to the bus stop. There is a man walking behind me. Will he mug me? Kill me? I only have to walk a block and a half to the bus stop but I don't feel safe. Here comes one of the beggars. I leave the sidewalk and walk on the grass to avoid him. He doesn't pick up on my non verbals. He passes me then turns around to yell @ me "Hey, miss lady, hey miss lady, God Bless!"
2:58 I arrive at the bus stop. It's just me and a latino woman. We could wait 10 minutes or two hours there is no way of knowing. A white man of 50 is clean and carrying a garbage bag that I don't notice initially. He addresses us both. I know the latino woman doesn't understand his English.
Beggar: "I have a question. I just went to social services and they denied me and I was wondering can you give me some money for the bus?"
Me-"I don't carry cash." "The people in my building aren't allowed to use that welfare office even though it's 2 blocks from our apt. bldg. because our bldg. is in the city and the welfare office is "county"
Beggar-"I'm sorry to hear that maam"
3:15-I see the bus coming. I notice the man's garbage bag. "Are you homeless?" I ask. "Yes" he responds. He walks over to the trash can, pulls out a pizza box, and begins eating the scraps. I compare his actions to mine. I just went through the starvation and hunger because I was too proud to beg or dumpster dive. I just hoped that the starvation wouldn't kill me. I got very weak and sick but obviously it didn't kill me.
3:17 I board the bus. This time I don't feel as scared as usual. I'm careful not to make any eye contact which might anger the passengers. I get off at my stop @ 3:27. I walk to the university to blog, check my email and work on my book. I read a tiny bit of a female homeless survivor's website. I leave at 4:30.
4:30 I walk the 7 blocks to Sub Club for a sandwich. Getting 7 blocks without getting hit by a car is no small feat in a town that is so pedestrian unfriendly.
4:45-Arrival at Sub Club. The employees here have always been real weird. One employee takes the order of woman 1, while looking at me , woman 2. So woman 1 keeps looking back at me since the clerk is. When he gets to me I place my order then say, that's all. (no toppings)
He says "what do you want on it"
female clerk-yelling past the woman in front of me......"chips and soda?"
me-"no, that's all"
"but this woman is in front of me" I declare. One employee smirks at me and they mumble to each other about me in a foreign language other than Spanish.
4:55 After I am done eating I walk toward the bus stop. There are 2 teen girls there who are making fun of my weight and smoking cigarettes. I go sit on a curb with another man who is waiting. He says his mother had to drive him to the 55 bus line, he took the 55 to the 8, now he is taking the 8 to the light rail. I wouldn't be surprised if his one way trip takes him up to 3 hours.
5:15 Bus arrives. There is a new woman on the bus. She asks the driver where the light rail is. The driver says she'll try to remember to let her know. I give the new rider detailed instructions. The driver hears me, and starts yelling stuff at the new rider.
5:35 I've arrived at Bangles Book Store. Hopefully Aaron is working. He always cheers me up. (he isn't) I try to cross the parking lot to Bangles and an SUV is barreling towards me. I put up the stop sign with my hand, and the female driver yells angrily at me. I can't hear what she is yelling.
I come to Bangles for 3 reasons. I feel safe in Bangles but not on the bus to or from.
I have few positive experiences with humans in my own neighborhood.
I don't have the physical, psychological, and emotional wherewithal to do bus tranfers, so I live my life almost solely on one road.
Aaron isn't here so I read and write. It's still a tiny bit better for me to be here then to be at home.
8:10 p.m. I better start walking to York Road before it gets dark, since the streets and buses are so dangerous.
-A customer who I've never formally met before says: "you're here all the time"
ME-"Yes, it's healthier for me to be here, then at home"
"I was on my way to the bus but I'll have to scrap that plan because it's dark. I got so used to it getting dark at 9 p.m.
Ron-"So, what can you do now?"
E-"Well, I'll have to hitchike home"
E-"Yes" "I call it selective hitchiking. I simply suss up customers leaving the store decide who is safe, then ask if they are going my way"
Ron-"Oh, o.k. I'm surprised to hear that public transit is so dangerous"
E-"For single women or minorities it is especially dangerous"
"Miss, pardon me, but do you happen to be travelling south?"
I do this every 20 minutes for the next 2 hours as Ron and I talk. He says, you are never going to find anyone to take you home. I reply, if I absolutely have to I'll take a cab. No, don't do that, that's too expensive he says. Yes, it is too expensive. It costs me 14 dollars to get home. Oh boy, that is alot of money, he says. I tell him that the cafe clerk said that if I get stuck with no ride, she'll take me home at 11:30 p.m. I surely don't want to be here that long.
Ron and I go inside I get some food. Turns out the cafe clerk, Robin, gets off earlier tonight, at 10 p.m. I go with her, this is the first time. She flies through the parking lot like a race car driver and makes a sudden sharp turn to exit the parking lot. She nearly ends up on the island divider. I'm terrified the whole way home. She assures me she is an excellent driver who does not "speed, but drives swiftly." I won't be her passenger again.
It's 10:20 p.m. and remarkably I am, yet again, home in one piece..........................
I check the paper in my apt. door, it's in the same position that I left it in. It's unlikely anyone broke in today. Still I open the door slowly just in case. Nope, no humans, just me and the ghost.
(many think our bldg. is haunted, including me. One day I found my candle on the toilet paper holder, and my baseball cap moved to a different hook. I haven't moved that hat in months!)