I am now a stalker, says the crazy neighbor.

After getting off the bus, I turned the corner and started walking up the street towards my mom’s apartment building.  Just after turning the corner, I saw the woman that lives next door to my mom.  She stopped for some reason and turned around and when she saw me she threw up her hands and made a weird noise.  She’s deaf and doesn’t speak, at least not intelligibly, so I went past her and kept going.  I wasn’t trying to be rude, but I just didn’t know what she wanted or if she was even attempting to communicate with me.  She suddenly rushed past me and kept looking over her shoulders, making a ‘no no no’ gesture with her finger in front of her face while mumbling.  She rushed off at full speed to the building where my mom’s apartment building is.  Some of the people in my mom’s apartment building are disabled, so I didn’t think much of it.

I entered the lobby just in time to see the elevator door close.  The door on the second elevator was opening though, so I got on and rode up to my mom’s floor.  When I stepped out into the hallway I could hear her making a lot of noise.  I looked, and my mom’s apartment door was open.  She was gesturing wildly and making plenty of loud noises that neither my mom or I could understand.  I walked down the hallway and when she saw me she got even more agitated.  So, I stood there with my mom trying to figure out what her issue is.

Through a combination of hand gestures and her very strained attempt to say the word “following”, we finally concluded that she is freaking out because she thinks I’m always following her.  The fact that there is only one way to get to my mom’s apartment from the bus stop, only one set of elevators and only one hallway that goes to my mom’s apartment, which is right next to hers, seems to have totally gone over her head.  The fact that we’re bound to run into each other in those areas, seeing as how we’re typically going to be heading for that same floor and two adjacent doors in the hallway, well that seems to have gone over her head too.  She’s outright convinced that I’m stalking her and that I’m out to get her.

I’d noticed previously that she would always rush into the elevator and close the door before I could get to it, or if I got in the elevator she would wait for another one rather than ride in the elevator car with me.  I never really put it together, but the idea that I’m following her around intentionally is ludicrous.  It never ceases to amaze me, the kind of fantasies people can create for themselves and live in.  Of all of the women in the street, why would I choose to, as she seems to be implying, stalk a late 40s, overweight, deaf woman that lives next door to my mom?  Besides the fact that I’m married, I’m really not interested in old disabled women.  Even if I were a stalker, as she seems to think I am, well, it’s summer in NYC.  There are plenty of better looking women to be following around.

I just hope that this woman doesn’t completely flip out, because there’s no way this will be the last time she’ll see me going in and out of the building.

A Tale of Fear and Panic in Singapore

Ok, just to get it out of the way, this isn’t my story.  This is the maid’s story.  I thought it was worth sharing because it highlights a problem that’s unique to Asia.  For the sake of the story and her privacy we’ll call her Cookie.  Ok, here we go:

Cookie was at the mall with one of the boys she looks after.  They’d been having a good time at the arcade, but it was time to head home.  It was starting to get dark out and it was close to dinner time.  So, they walked down to the bus interchange and got in line.

While they were waiting in line, Cookie noticed that there was an old white guy in the line behind her.  He looked to be in his mid-50s, was bald with scraggly white hairs around the sides of his head and a he had a rough, unshaved look.  He also looked like he was smuggling a small pig in his shirt, the way his gut overhung his shorts.  In other words the guy was pretty gross looking all around.  Cookie didn’t pay him much attention, but every now and then she’d catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of her eye.  He was watching her.

When the bus showed up, Cookie hurried herself and the boy onto it and they made their way to the center area, close to the exit door.  The old white guy got on the bus with her and sat down where he could see her.  During the short trip to her bus stop, Cookie noticed that the guy kept glancing over at her.  She was starting to get uncomfortable with it so she was glad when they were able to get off the bus.

As she started walking down the sidewalk she looked over her shoulder and saw that the old white guy had also exited the bus at that stop.  She started walking faster.  She looked over her shoulder again and saw that the old man had matched her pace.  She started walking even faster, but whenever she increased her pace so did the old man.

When she reached the bottom of the building where she lives she grabbed the boy’s hand and ran to the stairwell.  She took the stairs quickly and then dashed down the hallway to her door.  She could hear the old man running behind her, chasing her.  For an old fat guy he was pretty quick on his feet.

When she got to her door she started fumbling for the key and finally got it out of her bag but she was so nervous she couldn’t get it into the lock.  She heard steps approaching and knew the old man was right there, coming around the corner.  She finally got the key in the lock and looked over her shoulder and…

The old man was right there behind her.  She backed up against the door gate and asked him what he wanted.  He reached in his pocket and quickly pulled out…

A piece of paper.  With his phone number on it.  He handed it to her and left.