Lesson #1: Don't Open the Door
Ok, where was I...oh yeah...lonely, miserable, depressed, stressed at work, yadda yadda. I'll just tell you about one frightening incident and then move on to religion, politics or the weather (everyone talks about it, but nobody does anything about it).
For the first few weeks in my new "home," I lived very minimally. I did nothing to embellish the apartment, not even hanging curtains or shades in the windows. I figured that since I was on the third floor, no one could see into the windows, so what the hell.
The apartment had only one entry door, at the top of the narrow stairway, which opened into my small kitchen. One night, I was sound asleep, and awoke to the sound of someone banging on my door. I was startled and disoriented, and called out, "Who is it?"
"It's your neighbor!"
My neighbor? Omigod, there must be a fire and he's here to tell me to get out, before it's too late! I jumped out of bed and, clad only in a prim (fortunately!) long flannel nightgown, I ran to the door and pulled it open. I saw a young man, casually leaning against the wall, smoking a cigarette.
He smiled and said, "I thought you might like to get acquainted with a neighbor."
I was speechless. Finally, I was able to say, "Why would you think that?"
"Because, for the past couple of weeks, I've been watching you walking around in your apartment, and it looked like you could use some company."
"It's the middle of the night! I don't want company in the middle of the night! Get out of here!" And I slammed the door shut and locked it. I was shaking with fear. What if he tried to break down the door? What if he sets a fire on the stairs? What if I die of terminal stupidity??
Fortunately, none of those things happened, and I never saw him again; not that I know of, anyway. And the very next day, I taped newspapers over all the windows. They looked nice with my cardboard kitchen table.