Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rainy Day

It was raining when I got home from work tonight. It was a typical mountain storm, one that affects everyone but depending on where you are it can be a drastically different experience. It wasn't doing anything at work beyond being a bit windier than normal. But by the time I arrived home, a mere ten miles distant, the rain was falling in almost sideways sheets of water. And within seconds of parking the car the rain suddenly slowed to barely a light shower.

I love rainy days so I was having fun watching the sudden changes. And that's when I noticed the neighbor's car window was rolled down (technically it was the downstairs neighbor's boyfriend's car, but that's not really important). The important fact here is that I suddenly found myself faced with a dilemma.

Do I tell them the car window is down and their car's innards are getting wet?


Since it appears the rain is stopping, do I go inside and just forget about it?

My first instinct was to tell them, but almost immediately my Super Hermit Reflexes kicked in and told me not to do anything. After all I've never formally met the downstairs neighbor, even though she's lived there for several months now. Our schedules are completely out of sync so we've never had the awkward "Hi, I live upstairs/downstairs/next door...How about that weather" conversation you have when you run into someone while you're taking out the trash. Better to let it go and not get involved. The rain had almost stopped; maybe it wouldn't be so bad. So I unlocked my door, went inside, and found myself immediately racked with guilt.

How would I feel if it were me and I went out in the morning to find not only frost on the windshield, but a nice layer of ice on the seats too? I've sat on frozen seats back when I had the motorcycle in college. Plopping your junk down on a seat covered in a sheet of ice and driving somewhere is not a fun experience. So I went downstairs and knocked on the door to tell them the situation.

No one answered. They were obviously home since her car and her boyfriend's soggy-seated car were both in the parking lot...they must not have heard me knocking, or perhaps they're "preoccupied" doing something sticky that I'd rather not know about. As I was debating whether to knock again or walk away, I heard the faint metallic sound of the door being slowly locked from the inside. Then I saw the not-as-subtle-as-you-think-from-the-inside bending of the blinds that happens when you try to peek out and see who's there. A few muffled voice sounds from inside after that and then nothing, still no answer.

I was being shunned while trying to do a good deed. My first reaction was anger. Here I was trying to help them out and they were trying to play it off like I wasn't even there.

That's when I flashed back to 12 years ago and saw a similar situation unfold in my mind, only this time I was on the inside. I was the one locking the door and "peeking" through the blinds when there was a knock on the door. It was the deepest, darkest point of my own personal Great Depression and I avoided friends, family, and strangers equally. I lost quite a few relationships permanently during that time of my life. Not that the neighbors were going through anything similar; our situations and reasons were obviously very different but I understood their reasoning. Better to hide and hope whoever it is goes away than open the door and deal with it. After all, that had still been my first reaction today too...don't get involved and let their car get soaked inside.

So instead of knocking again and pushing the point, I went back to my place and wrote "Your car window is rolled down" on a post-it note and stuck it on the door. That way I could satisfy my feeling of doing what's right and letting them know about it and I could also respect the privacy they obviously wanted, for whatever reasons they wanted it. I then went upstairs and started my usual nightly routine.

A few minutes later the boyfriend rushed outside, keys in hand, and rolled up his car window.

No comments: