Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Crazy Lady

Found out yesterday that the crazy lady on my block has finally been evicted and is in a hospital. Whenever I would leave my apartment -- midnight on a Tuesday or 7 am or noon or you name it, she would be running about. I could see her deteriorating over the years. She could alternate between viciousness and sweetness, would be outside with no coat, looking disheveled one day and totally looking "normal" the next.

She was plagued by feeling that people were breaking into her apartment and stealing her diamond earrrings which got stolen again and again and again. Then those same people would steal her ID and other jewelry. Then the super was stealing her panties. It was all very sad, and I would make myself think about what a terrible way that would be to live since she really believed the thefts were happening.

The UPS guy told me her place was like a hoarder's, piled to the ceiling with stuff, and that the hallway stunk from her apartment. Yesterday the landlord told me that he lost seven tenants, one after another, who lived next door to her and had to move out. She would bang on people's doors and pee in the hallway.

What's sad is that she has a brother who lives in California who is a lawyer, or so the story goes, and a trust fund had been set up for her. He figured out that if he stopped paying the rent from the trust fund that someone else -- the public -- you and me -- would have to pay for her upkeep and he'd be off the hook. So that's what he did.

In the past few years, she'd taken up borrowing money from people and I got suckered in a few times. If I thought (which I did) that three dollars could help a person out -- she always asked for a precise amount -- I was all for it. Then I stopped loaning/giving money when I realized she had no memory of having asked previously and would ask anybody who passed by. She'd also go into the local stores trying to borrow money.

It took years to evict her, and finally while I was gone, marshals came and took her away in an ambulance. Yesterday, when the super and landlord were telling me this, I asked if her apartment was as bad as I'd heard and the super just nodded his head yes. He said there were pigeons living inside the apartment so you can imagine what it was like.

She'd always talk to me... well, not always... some days she'd be really angry at me for no reason and walk by me making a show out of ignoring me and then the next day she'd be asking sweetly how my writing was going and telling me what a pretty color my shirt is.

I know she is crazy, and I know she is now safe, and I really believe that. I worried that she would be out in the middle of the night without a coat or get beaten up or something, but the whole thing makes me sad too. It could be with the proper medication that she will be able to live independently again, but I can't shake the image of her strapped to some gurney and going away in an ambulance to God knows where.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poor Helen, I hope she has a peaceful life now.