Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What the Fudgiscle happened last night?!

Last night was one of the weirdest, most unsettling nights I have had in a long time. After a nice night of watching TV with Emily, I went to bed around 1 and read a book (Atonement by Ian McEwan) until 2 or so. At around 3, I was awoken by what sounded like a sonic boom. It was a huge, loud bang that was so powerful it shook the house and, I later found out, caused two framed photos in the family room to fall off the wall and break on the floor. Immediately after the boom, a car alarm went off for a good five minutes, and when it stopped, I heard footsteps downstairs. I didn't really panic until the footsteps started creaking up the stairs, and I realized that someone was coming to kill me in my bed.

In retrospect, I probably didn't handle the situation well, because instead of calling the police or hiding in the closet or arming myself with the only potential weapon in my room (my aunt's synchronized swimming trophy), I stood up on my bed to look over the partition to the stairwell and called out, "Hello?" in this scared little voice. Nice, Stephanie. Turns out it wasn't an intruder after all, but was my grandmother, who was also woken up by the scary noise and had come to make sure I wasn't setting off fireworks in my room. When I realized that no one had broken into the house, my body, which had gone numb, started tingling in a horrible pins-and-needles way, and I started shaking. Damn adrenaline.

I went downstairs and found my cousin, who was awake and freaked out as well. We sat in her apartment and tried to decide what to do. When she heard the noise, she thought it was gunfire, and that our crazy neighbors had opened fire on each other. Not really an unreasonable suspicion, given their tumultuous relationship, but the noise was actually louder than a gun, so we ruled that out. When ANOTHER boom happened ten minutes later (followed by another car alarm), we called the non-emergency line of the SF police and reported the incident. We then called Emily's brother, Rory, who said it was probably fireworks. Fireworks at 3:30 am on a Monday? What kind of neighborhood are we living in, anyway?

To calm our nerves, E and I watched Urban Cowboy and I fell asleep in her La-Z-Boy till 7 am, when I dragged myself up to my own bed again. I was re-awoken at 10 or so by cement workers drilling the crap out of the sidewalk right in front of our house. It's like God doesn't want me to sleep.

Anyway, the whole thing was very strange and pretty scary, and it made me appreciate the fact that some people have to deal with actual disturbances outside their doors all the time, like in warzones or neighborhoods where people actually do shoot at each other. Makes me appreciate our (normally) quiet San Francisco neighborhood. If anyone knows what that noise might have been, please let me know. Just curious.

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