I'm feeling a little less mighty this weekend.
The other night, I woke up to find myself in the hallway outside my apartment, barefoot and wearing only t-shirt and shorts, and locked out.
I haven't walked in my sleep since I was five, and it scared the hell out of me.
Apartment life being relatively anonymous, I don't know any of my neighbours well enough to go banging on their door at three in the morning, so I wandered around the building to see if anyone else was about.
I encountered one couple, coming home from somewhere, explained my situation and asked if I could use their phone to call my father, who keeps a spare set of keys at his house. They declined to assist. Disappointing.
Returning to my floor, I decided the only thing I could do was to try and get some sleep.
There's a security patrol that's supposed to come through the building three times a night; I figured the patrolman would help me get sorted, so I sat in front of my door waiting for him to arrive, nodding off after a while.
When he did arrive, the conversation went like this:
Security Guy: "You okay?"
Me: "What? Yeah, I think so."
Him: "What happened?"
Me: "I think I was sleepwalking. I woke up out here and I can't get back in. Can I use your phone to call my father? He has a spare key."
Him: "I don't have a phone, sorry. Have a good night."
And off he went, leaving me there. Bastard.
As far as I know, that was his only patrol that night, because I didn't see him again.
Time passed, and as the sun came up, the building began to come to life. It seemed everyone sets their alarm for 0700, because I was hearing beeps and buzzes coming from several apartments. Finally, at about 0730, the door across the hall opened and my neighbour came out on his way to work. I explained what had happened and he was only too happy to lend me his phone.
I managed to call my dad, who got across town in record time with my keys (and a big grin on his face) and I was never so happy to see anyone in my life.
He joked that I'd have to get another key made and wear it on a chain around my neck. That scared me as much as having spent the night in the hallway. What if I do it again?
As far as I know, there's no history of this kind of thing in my family, and my previous nocturnal perambulation happened nearly forty years ago, so I'm hoping it's a one-off.
I stayed out of work Friday, exhausted, and slept from the time my father left until about lunchtime.
It's the closest to being homeless that I can imagine - it's a sobering thought to consider that only an inch and a half of door separated me from warmth and security, and I was helpless to do anything about it.
The reactions of people I approached for assistance also surprised me. I've always believed that people are basically decent and will come to the aid of a neighbour without needing to be asked.
Maybe I'm just naive, but I'd like to be able to keep believing that...
Thursday, 5 June 2008
(Note: I had planned on posting this last year, but somehow couldn't bring myself to click on "Publish"). My dad passed in...