The single lady safety dance

Posted at 11:30 AM Apr 20, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

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I would feel so much safer if these dudes were always on patrol.
Today in Dear Abby, "Cardio Carrie" wonders if she should have opened the door to her apartment complex gym for a guy who, presumably, lived there but did not have his access card:

" .... [he] sat outside the door waiting for me to let him in. Because I was working on a cardio machine and trying to maintain my heart rate, I didn't want to interrupt my workout to open the door. He eventually tired of waiting and left. Should I have stopped and let the person in the door? Or should he have gone back to get his access card?"
I'm having trouble seeing how this is even remotely a question of etiquette. No, you should not let the person without an access card into the building if you don't know they live there. Not even a little bit. I don't care if it's Barack Effing Obama, dude stands outside until he proves he has a reason to be there.

I'm sensitive to this issue because last year, my crappy, old first floor apartment was broken into when I wasn't home--it happened seconds after I left, actually, which means somebody was watching me, which creeps me the fuck out. Door was kicked in, and a couple thousand dollars worth of computer equipment was stolen. While many of my neighbors heard it happen, nobody had the gumption to call the police. I came home to a gaping hole in my wall and two very scared kitties, which was maybe the worst part of all.

The incident was made ever more affecting because I have always been an uneasy single dweller. Unfortunately, I also hate living with people. I opt for living alone instead of the living hell that is having a roommate as I'd rather lose sleep because I'm neurotic than lose sleep and become a passive-aggressive nutbag who seethes with every minute a television is on too loud in the next room. A service to you, really.

So while before I used to have neurotic fantasies about how I'd be raped and killed in my own home, I now have a very specific incident to lead me to envision ever more vivid death fantasies. Which is why I recently moved to an overpriced, security-ridden apartment where there is at least the illusion of safety via access cards, parking gates, guards, etc.

I just about lose my shit when friends come over and, while I'm in the process of going to let them in, some other resident lets them into the elevator, parking garage, etc. I think it's incredibly dangerous, not to mention rude. What's the point of having the illusion of safety if that illusion is constantly shattered by "nice" people?

Any other single lady-dwellers have similar feelings/neuroses?


Kris said:

Not a lady, but I feel the same way. What's worse is my complex is used as a shortcut for people too lazy to walk along the road. I'll get stoned teens wandering across my back porch from time to time. Now that I have cats for the first time in my life, every noise at night makes me jump and think someone has surely just broken into the apartment, intent on killing me.

I just remind myself I can throw my girlfriend in their path and run away. Chivalry is dead...

Andrea said:

Kris - I know what you mean about the cat thing. Either the kitties are making mischief, or they themselves are freaked out by some random noise. It's unnerving.

Michelle said:

Not a single lady, but I still have the horrific nightmares of being raped and murdered in my home. I have to keep reminding myself not to watch SVU or X-Files after dark.

My fears were, like yours, heightened by having my apartment burgled twice in a week, obviously by the same person. I then lost my faith in doors as a barrier to intruders.

Andrea said:

For real, Michelle. Doors are useless, as are windows, as are burglar alarms, if it's still pretty convenient for someone to get in and out quickly. I'm now a believer in the "just make it as hard as fucking possible to carry my shit away" safety precautions. The higher the floor, the farther from the front door, etc., seem to be the best ways to ensure safety.

Nikki said:

I completely share what you're feeling, and I'm not even living on my own yet. I'm about to embark on single "apartment-hood", and have yet to find a place relatively close to my university that doesn't look like someone could corner me in a hallway or door way and attack me.

And like you said, roommates are out of the question. Especially when they were a threat security wise and didn't quite grasp the idea of locking the door at night. That coupled with not quite understanding the idea of "clean" was just the icing on the cake. Clearly this round goes to single living.

Andrea said:

Man, I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who's crazy like this.

Mandy said:

Andrea, I get scared just being home alone by myself. Which is why if you are even mildly neurotic you should never, ever watch I Survived...

I'd tell you about the scariest episode I ever saw that scarred me for life, but it actually took place in Austin, so that's probably a bad idea.

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