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Second Guessing Myself

June 2, 2011

Last night was a crazy night of storms in Massachusetts.  The Boston area didn’t see tornadoes, but we did have a very long lightning storm followed by a huge thunder storm.  My local Facebook stream was all about the Booms and the Flashes.

After the storm, we gathered in our living room – Lemon was wet because she had frolicked in the storm with a friend, and Mouse was still jittery because the thunder makes her nervous.  As we’re sitting there, one of our neighbors drove up and 2 people got out of a car and proceeded to scream and yell at one another.  They went onto their porch, and the man yelled at the woman loudly, and they were sort of dancing around each other in their anger and argument.  The woman had a dog in her hands, and the man kept reaching toward her.  She said, “don’t touch me!” several times and skirted out of his grasp.  At one point, he reached out and snatched the dog out of her arms by its neck.  An older woman came down and joined the yelling.  The man went in the house, and the older woman yelled more at the younger woman, and the younger woman yelled back, and called the older woman “mom.”   But the man was young, and did not seem to me or to WD that he could have been the young woman’s father.

The argument made us all very uncomfortable.  It is not a typical scene on our very small street of family homes.  Most people on the street know each other, and do not engage in these kinds of things.  But we don’t know these people.  I’d never seen the older woman before in my life (which is strange, really, considering the tiny neighborhood).

While we felt uncomfortable, I also was somewhat relieved that there was no actual violence.  The snatching of the dog was rough, and the young woman protested loudly that “YOU CAN’T HOLD A DOG LIKE THAT!!!!” But the man did not touch, grab or hit the woman.  I thought that there was a chance that these people were concerned about where the young woman was during the storm.  The fight seemed to be about whether or not she was on a train, or something like that.  So I thought it was over.

But it wasn’t over.  The yelling went on for another 10 minutes.  Mouse was able to hear through their house and to ours the exact words of their argument, “I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK; I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU KNOW!”

And so … I called the police and reported a domestic dispute.

Inside of 2 minutes, 3 police cars were on our street.  They had some difficulty figuring out which apartment in the multi-unit building housed the argument, but then the dog started barking.  One of the 6 police officers came to our door to get more details, and so I bet these people know that we were the ones who called.  The police didn’t stay long, and they didn’t take anyone with them.

At the time that I made the call, I was very concerned about the argument and it seemed very extreme and out of place.  It was remarkable for our neighborhood.  The girls were watching closely, and I was uncomfortable.  It was impossible not to hear all that was going on.

But now, this morning, I wonder if I shouldn’t have called?  I’m glad that they had their extreme anger and emotions called out and stopped.  I’m sort of wondering if the young woman was actually the couple’s teen daughter.  Does that mean that the screaming, yelling, and grabbing was okay?  I do sort of feel like if she was a teen who stayed out past a curfew it was less appropriate to call – but people don’t typically scream and yell at their teens like that. Maybe I should be more comfortable calling if it was a parent/child argument, rather than an argument between lovers.

And she can’t be a young teen, or we’d know her.  She’d go to school with Lemon.  She has to at least be post-high school.

If I saw the same fight amongst people I know on the street (which is 80% of the people on the street), it would have been way out of character, and I still would have been very disturbed.  I have seen families that I know argue, and it never rises to this level.  I’ve seen teens have tantrums, break rules, etc., and I’ve seen parents’ reactions.  This was way beyond that.  This was a complete lack of control.  This was scary.

But still, I wonder if I shouldn’t have called.

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