How to Piss Me Off

Written by Jennifer Nicholoff

This little episode happened on June 30th at about 5:00 p.m.

I was sitting on my balcony. It is a westward-facing balcony, nice view of the mountains, perfect for just sitting, relaxing, having a drink, reading, catching a few rays, you know summer stuff. So that's what I was doing, just minding my own business, reading the current "Discover" magazine, and I heard a voice from the building to the north.

I heard a few disjointed words at first, among them "balcony", "girl" and "look". Then, crystal clear, I heard this: "come look at the white girl on her balcony." What would go through your mind?

I live in White Center. For you Seattlites out there, you can probably guess what the neighborhood is like. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, suffice it to say that I am a minority here.

So I thought, "Fine, whatever," and I kept reading. I kept hearing the voice, mostly in pieces, and bits would get through, and it got louder and louder until there was no way that I could pretend that I couldn't hear it anymore. Among the captured phrases were, "stop showing your dick to that white girl", "looking at the white girl showing her tits" and "stop waving your dick around by the window".

Just for the sake of clarity, I would like to explain something. I was wearing shorts. They are jeans cut-offs, knee length and baggy. I was wearing a tank top. It is basically an Oxford shirt with no sleeves, and the sleeve holes are cut so that I can wave my arms around and show nothing to anyone. But believe me, this particular shorts/tank ensemble is not the least bit provocative. I don't even have cleavage in a bathing suit. I was not showing off, I was just reading.

So what did I do? Well, I came into my apartment and paced, and got really worked up. I called my landlord to find out who owns the building. He didn't know. I called a friend at work to tell her that I'm interested in helping her build her house so that I can move into her old place.

I paced some more.

Then I decided that the particular brand of insults I was receiving from this building next door (racial and sexual, not to mention purely rage-inducing) was actually a good reason to call the police.

They were here in 10 minutes. I told them what was shouted at me, I pointed out the apartment, and they went to talk to the person in question. It turned out to be an old, insane woman who is currently off her medication and isn't a real threat.

That's beside the point. If she is that out of control, she shouldn't be out on her own. Anyway, now I don't want to sit on my balcony anymore, because this whole little episode really got to me. So my summer is essentially shot, because the one thing that I look forward to every day has been taken away from me. (No, I don't have a life, thanks for asking.)

I have never learned to ignore crap from other people. I'm amazed, as a matter of fact, that I did anything. Usually I just go away and seethe quietly and bake and take out my frustrations on butter and sugar. (I have a nice fresh batch of cheesecake-filled chocolate cupcakes cooling on my cutting board right now.)

Calling the police is a sure sign that I am ON THE VERGE. You know when a serial killer is caught, all of the neighbors say, "she was such a quiet girl"? I'm quiet. They don't get much quieter. I have had it. As the movie says, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

And my neighbors put another dent in my car. Six months old and the passenger side is cratered. I had a 16 years old Corolla, but did anyone ever touch that piece of crap? Nooooo, they wait till I have something nice to destroy it. Ain't it just the way. That's a little off topic. While I'm here, I would like to thank the Seattle Police Department for their prompt response and for not treating me like a crazy person. They aren't all bad.

I know, I know. You have no sympathy for me. That's part of the problem with this place...