Have you ever just lost your s**t with a complete stranger? I have, and I couldn’t believe it when it happened. It was like a bomb went off that I couldn’t outrun. My mouth pulled the pin, and my legs could not run fast enough. I lived in a nice apartment in the small town of Universal City, Texas. I was literally located directly across the street from the police station and fire department. In all, a pretty safe place to be. I’d seen residents across the hall from me come and go, but a new neighbor got under my skin in a way that led to that mouth-bomb moment. You see, she was a young mother, a drunk, and a drug user.
This young mother had a three year old daughter. She also had a boyfriend who had his own small child from a previous relationship, another toddler. This young couple would get drunk, fight and scream at each other, pass out, and leave the front door wide open. Their little ones would be out in the hall in the middle of the night, in dirty pajamas, running wild. I hated to be that nosy neighbor, that Mrs. Kravitz, but children were involved, and so I called the police. They came around, but by the time they arrived, the kids would be back inside so they were simply told to close their door and keep it down. This went on for several months with neighbors from above and the other side also calling police or phoning it in to the complex manager’s office.
I came home late after a night out with friends. It was around 1 a.m., and cold out. As I parked and got out, the couple also arrived home. They were carrying the kids in. One was crying, and neither was dressed for the weather. In that moment, I lost my s**t. I could see it happening like an out of body experience. My mouth opened as they passed and I let loose.
“Are you seriously just now bringing those children home? And why are they not dressed warmer? What the hell is wrong with you two?” This litany of question flew out of my chops faster than I could comprehend that I’d just openly challenged and chastised this couple. I was shaking from head to toe. I felt ill. I was actually afraid I’d just pushed them too far and could, easily, get hurt. Did I mention yet that I’m physically handicapped, and despite this, as feisty as a Chihuahau? My bark is loud even if my bite isn’t fatal, and still I foolishly barked on.
The girl was stumbling. She was obviously drunk. My anger went up five notches and took over. He started to speak, but I heard only the young mother who tried to tell me it was none of my business. Since I was nearly twice her age, I let her know that was not the case when two small children were involved. I went off on her and cited every single time police had to come out because she was drunk, drugged, her kids were unsupervised, filthy, cold, running around at night outside while she was unconscious, and were subjected to the constant fights between her and her boyfriend. It seems when I unload, I have an arsenal of things to say. She went into her apartment, and I went into mine. We both called the police.
She lodged a complaint that I’d verbally assaulted her. I lodged a complaint that the young mother was once again drunk and dragging her young kids around in the middle of the night – meaning she and he were driving drunk with children in the car. I also apologized straight away to the police for my outburst to the woman stating that I knew it was wrong, but it all popped out before I could take it back. Police officers arrived, two to her place and two to mine. Here I was, a known local journalist, in tears, saying how sorry I was for possibly speaking out of turn, but not sorry if it helped those kids. The officer told me he understood my concern and was aware of the history of calls from several residents about this young woman. They went across the hall and met up with the other two officers who were already calling Child Protective Services.
It seems that once they entered the apartment, they were shocked. I heard one officer loudly berating the young mother and father for the filthy state of the home. His voice raised, he literally yelled at her about the dirty clothes, the empty food containers all over the counters, dirty dishes on the floor including in the children’s bedroom. He went on to point out the two little ones were dirty, cold, and that she should be ashamed of herself. She was ordered to put the kids to bed and be prepared for an early visit from police and CPS in the morning.
Sure enough, they were back at first light, and the children were taken out of the apartment. I saw the officers later who told me I’d done the right thing. I still felt bad. I felt bad for the kids who would be scared and confused. I knew that they were in better hands, and I sincerely hoped the young mother and father got the help they needed, that the whole incident was a wake-up call to pull their heads out of their butts and get themselves together. I’ll never know for sure since they were evicted from the complex – three months behind on rent. It was certainly a moment I’ll never forget…the day I completely lost my s**t and went off on two strangers.