Ms. Kitty and I had been asleep for roughly an hour, just getting into that good, deep, useful sleep. Then, at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night, my bedroom was flooded with the sounds of Madonna’s Ray of Light CD.
Was it part of a dream?
Where is it coming from?
I was groggy, confused and furious. I don’t like when people disturb my sleep.
Ms. Kitty pulled back the bedroom curtain to reveal a car idling with its windows down and the stereo bumping just outside of our window. Beginning to pull out of the fog of dreams, I looked out the window, trying to ascertain whether the car belonged to our neighbor who might be pulling in, wasted. No, it wasn’t a Scion.
Being the nerd that I am, I began to try to figure out what car it was by the distinctive transverse sunroof. Then I realized I was pissed.
I walked down the hall to the closet, threw on a shirt and made my way for the back porch. Just as I reached for the handle to the metal screen that separates our home from the dangers of the outside world, ready to issue a pummeling, the owner of the car climbed back in and backed out of the driveway. Fine. He’s gone. I can get back to sleep.
Just as I’m drifting back to Dreamtown, I hear tires on decorative rock and more disco music thumping. Our bedroom is grazed by headlights as the car pulls back to just below our window. I throw off the sheets and run to the back door, shaking with anger.
The guy walked right toward me as I told him flatly, “Turn off your car.”
“I’ll be 30 seconds,” he replied non-chalantly.
“You’ll turn off your car first.”
“Call the cops. I’ll be gone before they get here,” he arrogantly stated. It was true, but that didn’t mean that his car could keep running.
I thought for a moment about the movies I’d seen, where an act leads to a spiraling series of events that leads to vandalism, warnings and dead family members. Would this end up like Boys in the Hood? I heard him complain to my neighbor about “the white guy” that was hassling him.
Then I saw his car; a Nissan Altima. I’m not scared of anyone driving an Altima. F this guy.
It took all I had not to do more than turn the key back toward the steering wheel. Wild ideas of throwing the keys into the street, cranking them forward to fry the starter or using them to fulfill dreams of metal artwork on the hood flooded my mind, but were controlled by the thought that he knows where I live and I don’t know his address.
I lay back down on the bed, shaking with anger as my fight or flight response had only one option and I was preventing it from its natural urgings. The now-silent darkness was broken by his insincere apology surely brought about by the urgings of our neighbor’s upset girlfriend, the cranking of an engine and then his proclamation that “they’ll get over it.”
In fairness, the girlfriend did seem sincere when she apologized through the window and went back inside next door. It didn’t stop me from lying in bed, shaking with fury and resting in hyper-vigilance, awaiting more music to pull up the drive.