August 9, 2007

Things That Go Bump in the Night

In the middle of the night I heard a loud thump and then a distant scream. Stephen jumped out of bed and looked out to the street. Then he went to the living room for a better look. So, being the jaded city dweller that I've become I put the pillow over my ears and went back to sleep. Why get up when I have previously slept through car crashes, gang fights, police investigations and all sorts of late night happenings on our street in London? Heck, we lived through this in Oakland, San Francisco and Houston too.

In the morning Stephen opened the curtains to our back patio and there was a purse, business cards, money and a wallet spread all over the wood flooring. Again, being jaded I said, "probably someone stole the purse and threw it up over our balcony" (three stories over the street). Then Stephen pointed out the obvious, they hadn't taken the money.
Stephen, being the good samaritan that he is, called the number from the business cards. Five minutes later, while I was blow drying my hair, I looked up to see a stranger in our flat, a young woman who looked like she'd had a sleepless night. "Thank you so much for calling me," she said, "My purse and school bag fell over the balcony last night."

So, Stephen in his pajamas and me in my half frizzy, half dried hair, walked the mystery woman out to our balcony and then we looked over the scary edge into the abyss below. There, amongst years of yuck, was her school bag. The people downstairs, who are very mysterious, had told her that they didn't see any bag in their little pit of doom.
Now here are some mysterious bits of info...

1. Why was she on the balcony?

2. What balcony was she on? She said she was at a different address too buildings down the block.

3. Why did the people downstairs say they couldn't see any of her stuff when it was clearly visible?

4. Who are the people downstairs?

When you live in a big city you go anonymously on your way, usually. But this morning it was quite a pre-work adventure. The woman was able to get the folks downstairs to retrieve her bag.
When looking up the phrase things that go bump in the night I discovered that it is an old Scottish prayer.

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Whenever we hear mystery sounds Stephen recites bits of this prayer. I had no idea what he was saying until today. Maybe I should just recite this and accept the mysteries of our downstairs neighbors and the story of the woman whose things went bump in the night.