If there’s one thing that I’ve returned to when readjusting to apartment living is that at any moment, someone, somewhere, could knock on the door and stop on in. It’s the same as a phone call, really. You can set your phone to “do not disturb,” but people will still knock, sometimes with reason. This time, it was the police, asking to search for any signs of domestic violence. Sure. I have nothing to hide.
Yesterday, my noisy neighbors swore at each other over something.
This morning, they yelled for a bit while I was reading, so I shaved two days of stubble off before planning out the rest of my day. I heard a knocking on a neighbor’s door. It wasn’t the ten-bang treatment the glass guy gave. Nor was it the same as returning back to see my door ajar as fresh paint lined the threshold, as I’d put in a work order over, laying bare the contents of my living room for anyone curious enough to peer through the open door. It was more subtle. Calmer. I answered. “Police, may we come in.”
“Sure.” “May we look around?” “Please.”
“We received a report of potential domestic violence in the complex. Have you heard anything?” “Well, my neighbors are really noisy all the time…” I rambled on for a bit and didn’t make eye contact, all the signs of having been inside for too long with no preparation over what was really going on, but they thanked me for my time and left before I really knew what was happening. I still would have let them in to observe my clutter and perhaps judge for themselves over the nature of my hoarding tendencies, because they surely didn’t care about anything other than survival, and when the police officer was sketched out when I put my hands in my jacket pocket, as I compulsively do, I realized that, sure, this clutter is a big issue and has taken up much of my attention.
But, clutter is nothing compared to protecting the peace.
Someone in the complex was concerned enough about the neighbors, past my minor to major annoyances, to call the police. No one will call the police on my clutter. That’s where clutter can be insidious, and it might be wrong to compare someone calling out the police to address a potential emergency with a project of streamlining my possessions, but it’s one of those things where you never know who will stop by. I was embarrassed inviting a technician over to the old place at the height of my hoarding tendencies. I wasn’t embarrassed much at all about inviting the police in to take a look around. The only thing I have to hide is the amount of time and money I’ve wasted on things I don’t care about anymore, now that I’m looking at everything with a neutral gaze, considering how much effort it’d take to move again.
At least the neighbors have been quieter today.
|Quotes: Conversations between myself and the police officer were based on my memory, with an estimated accuracy of 80%.|
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Real life experiences.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: After the police left, I ran some errands, I returned to move my rower around to see if I could use it in the apartment. Not well. This ended up cluttering up my living room more. It’s less presentable in this photo than when they were over, but I only just figured on putting those blocks together to tell the story after I moved everything around.|
|Written On: March 26th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft for the Internet.|