Bent Words

Bent Words

February 24, 2007

The Crazy Lady in my building has simply got to go.

I can no longer check my mail with ease, drop a load in the laundry or enter the building via the first floor. I am too afraid of running into the Crazy Lady.

Her insanity isn’t her fault, or so she tells me. She was involved in a major car accident a few years ago and bumped her head, causing total memory loss. Most of her long-term memory has been restored but her short-term memory completely fails her. The only problem is that she continually forgets she has already told me this, four times now.

She has also forgotten about the kitten story she has told me twice.

“My cat ran away when I was living in the ghetto and my dad had go find her and then he had to find a casket to put the cat in because we found her dead in our backyard like she had come back home to die and there she was, all dead and stuff. I was so sad. The cat was my friend. I liked that cat. I miss her and sometimes visit her grave. She was white and black and her name was… well, I forget her name now.”

But you cannot tell the Crazy Lady that you’ve “heard that one” because by the time you run into her (again and again without fail), she’ll have forgotten.

A few weeks ago, I had a note with my signature attached to my mailbox requesting the carrier to leave my package at the door in case I was not home. The Crazy Lady brought the letter up to my apartment on the third floor and knocked loudly on my door.

“This was downstairs for you and I thought you might need it so I brought it up here for you in case it was important.”

Then she saw my two cats peering out from behind me.

“Ohhhh! Ya know, I used to have a cat but it ran away and then my dad had to go find her and then a casket because we found her dead in our backyard like she had come back home to die and there she was, I forget her name…”

So, instead of explaining to her that the note needed to go back downstairs for the mail carrier, I just listened to her cat story. Again. Then I placed a sticky note on my mail box that was clearly labeled, “Under penalty of law, DO NOT REMOVE!” which seemed to only make the Crazy Lady curious.

Two hours later, after I had run some errands, I found the carrier’s note taped to my door.

Not long after this incident, I had an item ready to send after selling it on ebay. I left it downstairs next to the mailbox only to find it placed by my door the next day. The UPS pickup person came to my door to inquire about the package. I told him the story about the Crazy Lady and how she was running the court without a basketball.

“Perhaps you should have a chat with the manager – it’s illegal to tamper with U.S. Mail, even if she is looped in the head.”

I relayed the story to my building manager, Susan, only to find that she, too, has had enough of the Crazy Cat Lady.

“She tried to drag the dead ferns from the patio into the building the other day, Laura. She told me they were going to die out in the cold weather. They’ve been dead for months! I explained this to her only to have her ramble on about her dead cat.”

It’s kinda like explaining basic rules of engagement to a large chunk of Styrofoam. You’re only wasting your breath.

I normally take my laundry down to the Mexican Mat or wait until I head out to my parental unit’s place on the lake but, today, with all the snow, I thought I’d just run downstairs and throw a couple loads in. Mistake. Big. Mistake.

“Is today Friday or Saturday?” she asked.

“Ahhhh, Saturday,” I replied.

“Oh. I was supposed to do my laundry yesterday then. Friday is laundry day, ya know.”

“Yeah.”

“I forget things like that because I was in an accident a few years ago and bumped my head pretty hard which caused total memory loss and now I suffer from short-term memory loss and that makes it difficult for me to remember when I have to do my laundry and, MY LORD!, it’s crappy outside! This kind of weather, I only have to say, FUCK! It’s like, where is spring, ya know?”

“Yeah.”

“I always put my basket in front of the machine I’m using so I don’t forget which one has my stuff in it. I don’t want to grab someone else’s laundry, ya know?”

“Yeah.”

Then, as I’m putting my whites into a washer, she tells me to wait and reaches into the washer before I could bite at her fingers. She picks up a pair of stringy underwear and asks if they are the string for my keys.

Whoa! Alert! Crazy hands on my underwear!

I tapped the back of her hand as though she were a two-year-old and she dropped them back into the washer.

“Thanks. I got it,” I said.

“Oh. I was just worried you might have lost your keys. Ya know, I lost a cat once and I remember my dad had to go and find her and then he had to find a casket for her because she was dead. She had been gone for so long and then we find her in my backyard in the ghetto where we lived and she there, dead, like she had just come back home to die and she was white and black and her name was… something with a C.”

Written at 9:28 a.m.