Recently, I read an online news report about a man who threatened his neighbor with a sawed-off shotgun. Shortly thereafter, the man barricaded himself in his studio apartment, with the shotgun, of course. Shortly after that, a law enforcement contingent composed of several state troopers and local police officers converged on the scene. Fortunately, the man surrendered without a shot being fired by either side.
This scary event took place at an apartment complex in Massachusetts. When I saw a picture of the complex, I thought OMG, I used to live there.
Yes, I certainly did. In the mid-seventies.
My very first apartment was on the first floor of that complex. Had I noticed the bullet holes in the window of another first floor apartment before I signed the rental agreement, I might have turned around and looked elsewhere. But then, I never would have met Ken and later had the good fortune to escape from the cold New England winters.
Ken soon convinced me to move—no, not in with him—to an apartment on the second floor. He didn’t think it was safe for a woman to be living on the first floor. I guess he thought I was pretty naïve or something, because, hey, I grew up in rural Berkshire County. But I had heard about the break-ins on the first floor. According to a gossipy tenant, feral teens from the not-so-nice neighborhood to the north made a habit of jumping the complex fence after sunset in search of open windows and easy pickings.
I took Ken’s advice seriously. Really I did. I intended to ask about moving. Sometime. But I wasn’t in a hurry. I figured I would be safe as long as I kept my window closed and locked. However, when I came home from work one afternoon, I found a note from Ken saying I could move up to a second floor apartment. Guess someone in the complex office had ESP. Or something.
The next day, I moved to the second floor, into an apartment two doors down the hall from the local illegal immigrant. Incidentally, she was from England.