I live a life rich in anxiety, which is not a surprise to anyone who knows me. My main way of dealing with anxiety is to stay the hell at home and not go out into the big, scary world unless I have to. So if you’ve seen me socially outside my home–that means that I probably love the hell out of you. It also means that if I’ve inexplicably dashed away from a planned gathering, that it has nothing to do with you.
Anxiety. One of the things I’m most anxious about is that something bad will happen to H. He walks a long way to take the bus to work, and has been hassled by cops as to why he is out at night, where he’s going, etc. I used to stand outside the video store where I worked waiting for cabs for upwards of an hour without incident–but when H was waiting with me we’d be questioned regularly. We were even pulled over in a cab once.
So, I occasionally call H at work, just to say Hey and to quell my anxiety. I’m aware that this is lame, and could be perceived as needy and controlling. H is cool with it.
Last week, I called H after waking up from a dream that he was shot in a robbery at his work. Not out of the question–especially since he’s there alone during the overnight shift. So yeah, I called just to make myself feel better. The phone rang and rang, but he didn’t answer. Doing my best to stay calm, I waited three minutes and then called back. Again, no answer.
I wanted to call the cops, explain the situation (leaving out the dream and some of my own ridiculousness) and just ask them to check in and make sure everything was okay. But I didn’t.
See, H is a black guy who stands over 6 feet tall. Statistically, this is the scariest type of person in America. I then envisioned multiple circumstances by which H could be “accidentally” shot by “helpful” cops who thought he was robbing the place. This week, we learned that some cops think it’s okay to beat the shit out of people for being “arrogant,” or not properly kissing the asses of cops as they hassle us. If anything bad happened to H because I asked the cops for help, I couldn’t live with myself. Seriously. I’d have to be hospitalized to prevent my own suicide after something like that. No lie.
It occurs to me how incredibly fucked up it is that I should be afraid to call the cops, because it seems that being helped and being killed or beaten are roughly equally likely in some circumstances. People like to pretend that the cops only kill people who are criminals, or who are threatening their lives. But we know better now. The proliferation of cameras on phones, on dashes, or in businesses have clearly proven that you can be standing around near a slice of pizza, making a minor traffic error, or just walking down the street and be murdered for the crime of looking scary, making someone uncomfortable, or standing up for your own dignity.
Nutzo police are not the norm in Ann Arbor. But they did murder a mentally ill woman last summer when a relative called the cops to help calm her down. Apparently 2 (or 3, I forget now) grown men couldn’t take down a mentally ill woman with a kitchen knife in any other way except shooting her in the head. So yeah, why take chances?
No point to this story, I guess.
H was actually vacuuming the floor and didn’t hear the phone ring.
He was fine…probably because I didn’t call the cops for help after all.