A Vigilante Without A Cause

August 5, 2010

in Blame The Sudafed, How to be a Housewife, I Learn the Lessons So You Don't Have To

The apartment building the Big Man and I live in is, for the most part, an odd mix of friendly hermits.  We all know of each other; we’ve all introduced ourselves to each other at one point or another in passing; we all say hi to one another whenever its too awkward not to.  Sure, none of us are hosting an open house, but none of us are secretly plotting to stink bomb our neighbor and their mildly illegal second-story grill.
Aside from the couple across the hall from us with their male mistresses and elephant herd, there’s the single mother living below us whose son (youngest of FIVE, dear god – FIVE) just graduated from high school; the eternally dating, never married couple in the bottom left corner; the grandparent’s who take care of their grandson most days (and by take care of, I mean remain oblivious to the number of times we’ve all almost run him over as he careens around the parking lot on his trike…or feeds the wild raccoon over by the dumpsters); and the social security lawyer who continually tries to get the Big Man to sign off on disability papers for his perfectly fit clients.
Then there’s the woman in the upstairs middle apartment.  She seemed nice enough when she moved in a few months ago with her teenage son.  Quiet, and…well, quiet.  I actually didn’t even know someone had moved into the apartment for the first few months.  That is, until she moved out.  
But not really.  
Or rather, she moved out and her adult son (and ALL of his friends) moved in.  
Except, apparently, she refused to give him a key?  Or he had a key but lost it and didn’t want to admit he was squatting in her unused apartment and get a new one?
Either way, it wasn’t long before we all started finding the apartment’s front security door propped open.  Or the lock jammed.  Or taped over.  Or magically disabled by a myriad of items currently on sale at Staples.  We could have opened our own office with the amount of things that kid “repurposed” to take the place of his missing key.
After about a month, Frakenstein’s mob? Had nothing on the righteous wrath of the entire building.
(Word to the wise – if you live in a building where the residents pay an extra $45 a month for the luxury of a secured building entrance?  And you lose your key?  Be afraid.  Or ready to pay.)
Some of our neighbors began their own gossip campaign.  Others resorted to the always effective anonymously typed note taped to the front door.  In bold, naturally.
I?  Decided to take a more…stalkerish approach.
Of course, that didn’t actually entail stalking the offending man down and explaining to him that his days of living without a pitchfork up his ass were numbered.  That?  Would have been the mature approach.
Nope, once the door stopped being propped open, and the lock remained suspiciously stationary-free, I realized that he (and ALL of his friends) had either learned how to scale the wall to his second-story balcony or they were playing Abracadabra with a hidey-key.
Sadly, our “new neighbor” was not a spider monkey.  
So, while I did not actually park myself and the Little Man in the bushes and deliberately spy on the man (and ALL of his friends), I may have accidentally on purpose spent a bit longer in the car watching him get into the building than I may normally have done.
Which is how I discovered that his new favorite method of entry was a hidey-key under the front door mat.
The front door welcome mat.
Yeah – that’s an original hiding place.  NO ONE looking to gain illicit entry to the building is going to look there.
(Have I mentioned I’m a security freak, by the way?  The reason we live in the more expensive building isn’t (just) for the view…)
So what did I, as the newly-as-of-that-moment captain of the neighborhood security watch, do?
I took his key.
Or at least what I thought was his key.
Turns out, that key?  The one he (and ALL of his friends) were using to squat in his mother’s left over apartment?
May or may not have been the one my landlord left there temporarily to let in the carpet guy to, well, clean the carpets.
Which explains why the huge stain in the front carpet?  Is still there.
My bad.


Nicole Carpenter August 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm

HAHA!! I laughed so hard when reading this post!!

Domesticated Gal August 6, 2010 at 12:12 am

i'm going to give the poor woman who birthed him the benefit of the doubt and say he was squatting there without her knowledge while her lease ran out. Fortunately, her lease was suddenly up a few days after I proudly presented the key to our somewhat irked landlord.

Also? Glad to hear i'm not the only one who would have gone all Rear Window on him!

luckydame August 5, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I love your P.I. methods! A gal after my own heart.

My husband calls me Mrs. Kravitz (the noisy neighbor in 'Bewitched') because I'm always on the look-out in the neighborhood. What?! It's my/our prerogative!

sheila August 5, 2010 at 2:09 pm

GREAT post! lol! And I SO would have taken that key.

Lissa August 5, 2010 at 2:00 pm

That's an awesome story and made me laugh out loud. Good on you for taking the initiative. Even if it did mean the carpet didn't get cleaned.
So was the lad there without his mother's knowledge or did he actually lose his key and not replace it?

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