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Friday, February 24, 2012

236

Inadvertently Mocking the Dead

I think everyone who lives in Chicago has rented the type of apartment my then-boyfriend, now-husband Steve was living in when this happened: an old, dusty brick building with hallways that featured windows that don't open, worn carpeting, and the smell of shoes. The apartments themselves are usually one- or two-bedrooms, with hardwood floors, dinged-up walls, and bathrooms with tubs that have seen much better days. They're not modern at all, but they're roomy enough and they'll do from the ages of approximately 23 to 29.

Steve lived on the second floor in his building in Lincoln Square. It was an upgrade from the flimsy apartment he rented when he lived in the howling wastelands of Logan Square, but I still didn't come visit too often, thanks to his cats, to whom I was allergic, but since he kept them out of the bedroom and the place was adjacent to several cute restaurants, I slept over maybe once a week.

Steve didn't know his neighbors that well, but one week noticed that the door to the apartment below his was slightly ajar for a day or two. Not only was the door open, but it appeared that the tenant was playing music, some trance-type of album, on repeat.

At first, Steve didn't think too much about it. He had slipped that neighbor a couple of notes under his door before, asking if he could lower his music a bit. The neighbor always replied with an apologetic note back under Steve's door. So this time, even though the music was going longer than usual, Steve assumed, "He's just listening to his loud music again.”

But then it went on for several days, nonstop. “Should I call the landlord and ask what's up?” Steve asked me. “Sure, why not?” I said.

The landlord told Steve that the tenant must have gone out of town but forgotten to close the door, something he had done before, and asked Steve to do it for him. After calling out “Hello?” in the apartment, and hearing nothing aside from the spooky, spacey music, Steve closed the door.

Later that week, we had dinner in the neighborhood and went back to Steve's apartment to watch the new Hulk movie (I'm still not sure why).

“Is the music in this movie really dark, or is that coming from downstairs?” I asked, feeling some bass vibrations through my feet.

“It's him, downstairs,” he said. “His music's been playing all week now.”

“Maybe he's dead,” I said. “Maybe he killed himself.”

“Maybe,” Steve said.

“I mean seriously. Who would listen to music like that for so long other than someone who had committed suicide?” Steve agreed. We finished the movie and went to bed.

The next night, back at my apartment, I got a call from Steve.

“Can I come over right now?” he asked, sounding shaky.

“Sure, of course. What's going on?” I asked.

It turned out that, indeed, the guy we had been flippantly making comments about the night before was dead and had been for quite some time. That night, Steve saw the coroner's van pull up to his building and reported to me a sickeningly sweet smell in the halls of the building when the man's many-day-old corpse was pulled out.

“I don't want to be a baby, but I'm a little freaked out,” Steve said.

“This is a perfecty acceptable time to be freaked out,” I said. We did a bit of Googling and figured that the man who died was a teacher at Columbia College, and, if so, had perished from a heart attack, unbeknownst to his friends and family for a while. But for some reason, we still suspected that the man did it to himself. It was that music. For several weeks after, Steve pointed out that the neighbor's car, an old Mercedes, was still parked on the street.

I could never decide if I should feel bad about saying “Maybe he's dead,” or not. I had perhaps seen too many movies involving suicide scenes and closed doors and eerie music. Maybe it was just one of those unfortunate times where I said something irreverent and it turned out to be the worst time to do such a thing. Maybe it was nothing. Obviously, had I really thought the guy was dead, I wouldn't have just sat there like an idiot watching a terrible movie, making fun of him, letting him sit there while his family worried. I wouldn't have just gone to bed.

Steve and I got married a year or two after that, and moved into a townhouse in Edgewater that we've been living in for almost four years now. We have a greyhound that we each walk twice a day. A few weeks ago, Steve got back from his late-night walk.

“Well, twice now since I've lived in Chicago I've smelled a dead person smell,” he reported.

This time, it wasn't in our building, but a block away, on a corner we've walked around thousands of times since we've lived here. Same type of building as before. “The windows were all open and the coroner's truck was there and it was the same smell, that weirdly sweet smell,” Steve said. Plus, “The clean-up van was there and the two guys were unloading what looked like hazmat suits.” Steve was disturbed to notice that our dog was sniffing around that building more than usual, and made an effort to hustle away as soon a possible.

The next day, while walking the dog, we saw a note on the building's door, alerting the tenants that the locks were being changed, which made us wonder what had happened: was it just a preventive measure after the coroner had come in, or had something more insidious happened? This time we had no idea.

In a few years, Steve and I are probably going to move once again, this time one city north to Evanston so our dog can have a proper yard and our kids can attend the same schools I went to. But maybe this time, we'll alert our new neighbors, especially those in vintage apartment buildings, that they might want to ask their friends to check in on them once in awhile.

Claire Zulkey is the author of AN OFF YEAR, and is a television critic and contributor to the Los Angeles Times and AV Club.  She lives in Chicago, where she hosts the literary humor reading series Funny Ha-Ha.

Photo by irexon, via Shutterstock



236 Comments / Post A Comment

gimlet

a ha ha ha HOW DID YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT MY APARTMENT IS LIKE.

You forgot to mention being surrounded by bars that have no name, only giant Old Style signs, but other than that, bingo.

Gertrude

@gimlet and the rickety wooden back decks that seem constantly on the verge of collapse.

JoanTition

@Gertrude and a homeless guy that sleeps under the stairs....

whizz_dumb

@JoanTition 1527 W. Chicago Ave. Across from Rothschild liquors. Tony slept (maybe still does) in the back alley. He gets angry and yells/lights things on fire sometimes. No dead bodies were found when I was there. Kurt Vonnegut quote I'm reminded of: "Chicago is a better city than New York because Chicago has alleys"

gimlet

@Gertrude And raggedy-ass floorboards. It's some kind of epidemic in this city. Or maybe ... maybe I'm just too broke for un-busted hardwood?

whizz_dumb

@gimlet raggedy-ass hardwood is better than any kind of carpet.

gimlet

@whizz_dumb Fair enough, but I've tripped over my own floor too many times not to be bitter about it.

Gertrude

@gimlet just snagged my tights on a raggedy-ass floorboard this morning! I was very annoyed. also, doors that don't close right because the frame has sixty eight layers of paint on it.

whizz_dumb

@gimlet sheez I didn't realize that "raggedy-ass" entailed "jacked-up". I take it back, complaint warranted. @Gertrude The layers of paint thing! I've had physical altercations with windows, none of my goddamn cupboards close so I think flecks of paint fall into my frying pan food.

withatwist

@gimlet The layers of paint! The tile in my bathroom was painted over. White, flakey paint on white tile. Is it some sort of rule that any property less than $1200/month in Chicago will have all surfaces covered in cheap white paint after each tenant?

whizz_dumb

@aitch Yes. It's an annoying unwritten rule that seems to have spread to Oakland as well.

miwome

@aitch When my roommates and I moved into our first (and last, we stayed there two years) college aparrtment, the previous tenants had sponge-painted all the walls above the tile in the bathroom HOT PINK and sponge-painted the underside/outside of the TUB AND SINK in LAVENDER.

Sure enough, a man came and threw another layer of white paint over everything, including the tub and sink. It flaked.

Bitterblue

@aitch YES! MINE TOO! Are we in the same apartment complex or something? How/Why is this so goddamn universal? I actually took some sandpaper to my tiles, but I couldn't get all the paint off.

It's kind of freaky how accurately she described my apartment, right down to living in Lincoln Square! So apparently I have 3 more years of residency in my apartment until I'm supposed to upgrade? But I'll be getting my master's then ... and still be flat broke... so, unlikely.

Porn Peddler

I had a customer tell me a fucking horrible story quite similar to this: he was a property manager at the time, and had to inspect an apartment or clean it out or perform maintenance or something, and he had alerted the tenant, an old, HIV positive lady, that he would be there at a specified time. I don't know how he alerted her-- I'm assuming by note or several days earlier. At the appointed time, he went up to the apartment and started knocking on the door, to no response whatsoever. He continued knocking and calling out "Property management!" to no avail. He assumed she had left the apartment or forgotten he was coming, and he unlocked the door. He opened it a little less than a foot, heard the corner knock into HER HEAD, and looked down to see her dead on the floor. He promptly locked up again and called the police. She must have been there for a little while because there were already maggots squishing around, and he said that despite a cleanup crew dealing with it, he could not get the smell out of his head. He also got out of property management that year.

redheaded&crazy

@Third Wave Housewife "maggots squishing around"

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY OH GOD WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY

Porn Peddler

@redheaded&crazy In retrospect, I can't believe that was the gentlest way I could think to say that.

Inkling

@redheaded&crazy
My sister and I used to cut off the heads of roadkill so we could bleach and keep their skulls. Due to this, I have discovered that maggots actually make a sound very similar to rice krispies crackling when they're squirming around, doing their maggot thing.

Porn Peddler

@Inkcrafter omg stop no

(okay I may have initially missed the skulls part and thought you were just bleaching severed heads)

anachronistique

@Inkcrafter Well, now I definitely don't want to eat lunch.

datalass

@Inkcrafter I've heard this! There was a New Yorker article a few years ago about how doctors have been using maggots to remove necrotic tissue from burn patients. It worked really well, much better than other methods, but some of the patients were nonplussed about the sound.

lisma

@Third Wave Housewife yeah that's not what I felt like reading as I ate my oatmeal. BERHGAETHA>

Inkling

@Third Wave Housewife
I mean, essentially. The bleach skinned them, though, and dissolved away their brains/noses/etc.

ETA I'm sorry :(

NeverOddOrEven

@Third Wave Housewife The smell doesn't go away. Thankfully I can't speak from personal experience, but I've been told by more than one cop that they have to buy new uniforms after being at the scene of a body more than a day or two old.

iceberg

@datalass I would rather die. Not even kidding, just chop off my leg or whatever.

emilylou

@Third Wave Housewife Haha, I'm sitting at my desk having breakfast and I bit into a banana just as I read the phrase "maggots squishing around," HAPPY FRIDAY!

feartie

@Inkcrafter Oh blerg, this has reminded me of the time I was visiting my friend who lived in another hall of residence (dorm) by way of the window (he lived in the basement of the building) and the room next to his had an open plastic container of sliced ham (you know the cheap circles of ham you get with the weird patches of pale and bluish colour?)

And I'd seen it there the day before, and now something was moving in it and oh no no. I had to bang on the window to tell him to get rid of that shit. Who keeps sliced meat on their windowsill? IT IS NOT A NICE PEACH PIE COOLING THERE A WHILE.

princessS

@Inkcrafter Ohhhhhhhhhh now I definitely can't eat that Rice Krispie treat I bought on my lunch break...

Xanthophyllippa

@Inkcrafter Which is itself a similar sound to stirring up a jar of mayonnaise...

TheDragon

@Inkcrafter
I am a wildlife biology student and found a deformed pronghorn head on a work assignment. I took it home and boiled it to get the skin/brains/parasites off of it. (I boil skulls in a pressure cooker as to not stink up the house.)
My roommate came home, wondered what I was cooking, and took the lid off. Then barfed all over my lovely skull.
It had another little skull growing OUT of the left cheek. SO COOL.

(Blood, guts, maggots, etc, none of it bothers me. But oh god do not spit out your disgusting toothpaste spittle in front of me or I will gag.)

Inkling

@The Kendragon
LOL @ PRONGHORN.
Also, that skull is the best skull! Do you still have it?
Also also, I can't actually imagine having such a quick vomit response. Like the roommate actually barfed before they had a chance to put the lid back on? It seems so slapstickish!

Myrtle

@datalass Are they smacking their little maggot chopsies, maybe?

TheDragon

@Inkcrafter
It was when she was pregnant so that may have had something to do with it. I just boiled it a little longer than usual...(Somewhere Jolie is saying "Get Rid of Your Inkcrafters and Kendragons, Seriously They Are Revolting.)

I donated it to my university's museum. I checked the website and it's not up, but if you're ever in Las Cruces, NM check it out.
@PRONGHORN. I CANNOT call them antelope. They are not related to antelope!

datalass

@Myrtle Nom, nom, nom!

feartie

Oh this is so sad, and creepy.

I was dog sitting, the owners were out of town, and I was coming back from a walk for some food shopping/meeting up with my husband when I saw there was an ambulance parked outside - the doormen where very nervous and interrogated me since they weren't really sure of who I was. I found out from someone in the lift that an old man who lived on his own had jumped from the window of his apt into the inner courtyard. Saddest of all, he hadn't died right away. The guy in the lift's girlfriend had seen the aftermath. He seemed shaken. I spent the rest of the night alone with the dog, glad of its cheery company but still a little upset for everyone involved.

BuffyBot

I made a similar comment in college. A kid had gone missing, but I assumed he'd just left campus and forgotten to tell people. There was a creepy staircase in our student center so I said to my friends "maybe the missing kid is up there." They were all shocked and told me how uncool it was to say and I was embarrassed. They found the kid's body in a landfill a month later. Oof.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@BuffyBot In college, I ran into someone I had waitressed with in high school. She was still working there, so I asked after everyone, and she said, "So-and-so's cousin [who also worked there]died." And instead of saying, "Oh, that's terrible" like a NORMAL PERSON, I joked, "Auto-erotic asphyxiation?"

Turns out he committed suicide by hanging himself. I AM AN ASSHOLE. (I think I thought she wasn't serious? I don't know why I thought she would joke about something like that. I still feel bad about it.)

emilysometimes

@BuffyBot On the bus in middle school we were discussing the fact that suicide is a crime and sort of laughing about how silly that seemed to us. That weekend one of the kids on that bus shot himself. I've tried not to let it bother me too much. He was a very effiminate guy growing up in a super conservative Mormon family. This was the early 80s. Sad.

le mango

@BuffyBot Can I be tooootally nosy and ask, was it this same story? http://www.phillymag.com/scripts/print/article.php?asset_idx=228955

BuffyBot

@le mango
It is. It still bothers me when I think about it. He lived two floors below me... I didn't know him but it was a very weird, scary time on campus.

annepersand

Aw man, now the next time my downstairs neighbors start tripping and playing the same 4-beat techno riff on a loop for 72 hours, I'm gonna have to cultivate an attitude of neighborly concern rather than simmering rage? Balls.

Bitterblue

@annepersand Stories like this are what make me try to be happy that my neighbor is a very talented trumpet player, because there are so many worse things I could be forced to listen to. (And it's not like I can *really* complain, because he plays in the afternoons ... I just work third shift, and afternoons are when I sleep. Or try to, anyway. Sigh.)

SuperMargie

I was at a death scene that was a suicide and while the ME office were going around collecting evidence, one of the detectives played the victim's answering machine and it was one of his buddies and it said "Hey BOB! Call me back, will ya? Christ! What are ya, dead or somethin?" It was horrifying and kind of cracked us up at the same time. To this day, I still feel bad for his friend.

EpWs

@SuperMargie If my boyfriend and I haven't heard from each other for a few hours (typically because work is busy/we left our phones somewhere/etc.) we'll typically text each other something like "You dead?" and then if we don't get a response, will start eulogizing each other and such. I live with a constant undercurrent of fear that this will happen in the event that one of us actually dies unexpectedly and the other one will look like a hilariously insensitive asshole.

Inkling

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher
Have you ever watched Dateline or 48 Hours? When the victims go missing, the majority of the time their family members know INSTANTLY and just spring into action. My roommate and I were enthralled by this guy who was talking to his friend on the phone; the call dropped, and he immediately DROVE TO HER HOUSE. (She was killed even more immediately by her husband though.)
We always imagine our shameful 48 Hours interviews... "Yeah, she didn't seem to come home from class for a week, but I thought she was maybe seeing that creepy guy.. oh the creepy guy killed her? Well, that's unsurprising."

(On a related note, SO many times the friends n' family of the victim instantly know who the killer was. Everyone: if your relative/friend is dating someone who you think would kill them, maybe you should say something about it!)

datalass

@Inkcrafter The news in the DC area this week has been all about the UVA lacrosse player who was just convicted of murdering his girlfriend. One of the striking details was that, when the victim's roommate returned home and found the victim dead, she immediately told the police to go after the boyfriend.

EpWs

@Inkcrafter Well I'm predisposed to PANIC when I don't hear from someone for a while/they aren't at a meeting spot 5 minutes after our agreed-upon meeting time/etc. (thanks, Mom and the worst-case-scenario gene, also Dad, who every time I leave says "Park under a light!"), but I'm aware that I panic irrationally so I offset it with humor? Basically I will be useless if any of my people go missing.

Inkling

@datalass
DO YOU KNOW WHO WOULD KILL YOU?? This is so interesting to think about. I want to poll the audience. What if it was like a fringe acquaintance, like a friend's boy/girlfriend who was jealous of your relationship with your friend? Or someone who always stares at you at parties and actually wants to cut you up and eat you?

I'm going between a current extremely neurotic best friend and an ex-boyfriend who was SUPER emotional about the breakup for like three times as long as we dated. Ex-bf is maybe over the killing-me part of the breakup by now.. and I have more upper body strength than the best friend. So I'm probably safe.

Ellie

@Inkcrafter Wow that's so upsetting! Were you enthralled by him in general or specifically because of this story (or was it transitive from the latter to the former)? I feel like I would be too.

anitabath

@Inkcrafter have you ever watched Dateline for 48 hours?? You can stream full episodes online - Keith Morrison until you're too scared to go anywhere alone! Or form any kinds of emotional relationships with anybody.

But then also, you can REALLY enjoy this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUZzG1v38u8&feature=youtu.be

Lemonnier

@Inkcrafter On a related note, sort of? A few years ago in New Orleans, this guy murdered his girlfriend, cut her up into pieces, then cooked some of the pieces and put others in the refrigerator, and killed himself. And when relatives/friends of the guy were interviewed, I was amazed at how many of them had the attitude, "Well, she *was* kind of a crazy bitch and kind of mean to him."

And I was like, BEING A CRAZY BITCH IS NOT GROUNDS FOR MURDER.

franceschances

@Inkcrafter Unfortunately you can say something and they keep dating the person anyway :( Though thankfully, I only have this knowledge from learning about domestic violence, not from personal experience.

Alice Prin

@Inkcrafter yes. I have had to literally sit my best friend down and say "If something happens to me, it was _____. If his story checks out, it was probably _____." I don't date shady dudes any more. In case any of you are concerned. Yeah but seriously, GO AFTER BLANK AND BLANK.

Inkling

@Ellie
I was enthralled in the context of the murder case, because:
-How does his brain work?
-What had happened to him to make him drive to his friend's place over a dropped call?
-How many times he's done that when it was a false alarm?
-How paranoid is he NOW?
He's made a really big impression on me in terms of not being immediately texted back!

@anitabath
I think I watch Dateline AND 48 Hours... is there a crossover?? PS: I AM REALLY ENJOYING THIS.

@Lemonnier
That is the worst. I want to watch those interviews! Are they ALL potential killers? How creeped out would you be if you were dating one of those people?

@Franceschances
In terms of my crazy friend, I can understand their feelings. Which is lame, and if ever I am found chopped up somewhere, I had been berating myself prior to death.

Myrtle

@Inkcrafter This is the best question and needs to be a post of its own, PRONTO.
And yeah, I know who would kill me.

Myrtle

@franceschances Martha Stout touches on this in her book "The Sociopath Next Door" (required reading, 'Pinners, seriously!!) saying that we have "a mild attraction to danger." Unfortunately, the sociopath has Spidey-senses and can instantly spot a person they can victimize.

Inkling

@Myrtle
"A mild attraction to danger" strikes me as a "inherently self-destructive", but I can see some people having an attraction to, say, the guy who gets drunk and yells alone in his apartment. A reaction to that could be like "Man, he's in a bad place! He must have no one. I should help him (because I have been there/have no one/would get gratitude/etc)."
Also there's that thing that happens with outrageously stuck-up people: "That guy is neurotic and doesn't like a lot of things, but he loves me, which means I'm best!"
And "I feel very unique and alone, except this kinda sociopathic person I am bonding with, who is also very unique and alone!", for teenagers.
So I think it's not (just) the "danger" that appeals. I think there are a lot of factors pertaining to someone's life that make them attracted to unstable people.

thebestjasmine

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I do this too, and now it's a running joke with my mom and sister that if I haven't heard from them for a while I think that the killers got them.

Marsh Marigold

Your boyfriend was right to be squicked out by your dog sniffing around the door...My sister is a coroner and she's got some very nasty stories about what happens to pet owners who have died and not been found for a few days... Basically think of the grossest thing possible, and that's what happens.

KeLynn

@Marsh Marigold That's so surprising to me...I mean, maybe if you had a snake or a cat that didn't like you or something, I could see how it would fuck with you. But dogs? I'd think they wouldn't want to eat/rip apart someone they love. I'm sure my dog would be able to tell the difference between "alive KeLynn" and "dead KeLynn" but it still seems like a dog wouldn't mess with my dead body if it used to be the alive KeLynn that it loved.

yrouttasight

@Marsh Marigold Ever seen the X-Files episode "Clyde Brickman's Final Repose"? Poor Queequeg.

DoilyMadison

@KeLynn A relative's dogs didn't even pee for the whole two days it took to find his body. They just waited patiently for him to get up because dogs are magical.

Now I have to go look at Petfinder and cry all day long.

EpWs

@DoilyMadison That is terrible and now I am sad. (I am also contractually obligated by the rules of the internet to bring up the dog in Japan that went to the train station and waited for its owner to come back FOR YEARS, and also the Jurassic Bark episode of Futurama.)

DoilyMadison

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher And Dog Monday in Rilla of Ingleside! Goodbye, mascara.

datalass

@DoilyMadison And he's all stiff when Jem finally comes home. Weeping now.

lisma

@DoilyMadison OMG, Dog Monday. That dumb dog broke my heart.
Glad to see a Rilla of Ingleside fan!

Chesty LaRue

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher http://www.culch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Jurassic_Bark.jpg
I suck at html apparently? but Jurassic Bark, the saddest ever :(

rucifie

@Marsh Marigold Just look what happened to Marie Provost:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWunemmwJHM

Nutmeg

@Marsh Marigold My life goal used to be "die and have my cats eat me". It still kind of is?

Marsh Marigold

@yrouttasight I'm very pro dog but the moment the "you" has left your body, most dogs (not Dog Monday, obvs) see the leftover flesh as one big frankfurter. It actually speaks very highly of animals that they can intuit between a deep sleep and dead.

annepersand

@KeLynn I like to think that my cat would not even hesitate and would go straight for the face. I would expect nothing less.

cuminafterall

@Marsh Marigold Ahh but there was an episode of Dr. G, Medical Examiner (it's about a real-lfe coroner's office in Florida) where everyone THOUGHT the dog was eating the dead person, but it was actually licking him and nipping him lightly and trying to wake him up!!

Bird Internet

@Marsh Marigold And the dog that waited at the car crash site, collecting a little pile of personal items and broken car bits? http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/28/assignment_america/main5347232.shtml (It has a happy ending, but I don't recommend googling "lost dog car accident" because you don't remember a more specific name from the story)

christonacracker

@Marsh Marigold NOOOOOOO we don't discuss Dog Monday unless we're alone and under a blankie so no one can see us cry about a fictional sad dog...*blubber*

BadWolf

@annepersand I am half convinced this is why my cat pounces on my head at four in the morning. "Maybe she's really dead this time! Snacktime! Wheee!....Oh, balls, she's awake. Well, fuck."

Marsh Marigold

@annepersand according to my sister, it's not the face that animals first go for... I said her stories were very gross.

EpWs

@BadWolf This is the most horrifying/hilarious explanation for this behavior I've ever heard. Forwarding this entire thread on to my cat-owning friends. ...suckas.

datalass

@BadWolf I've had this thought as well. Though, to her credit, she quickly moves to, "Ah, well, at least her thumbs still work!" (I suspect that if my cat has a name for me, it's 'Thumbs' as in the appendages that make it possible for me to open cat food for her.)

BadWolf

@datalass Oh, that is adorable! If my cat has a name for me, it is probably "The Man." As in, "The Man always tryin' to keep me down." (If you can imagine a juggalo who thinks he is the Dowager Countess from "Downton Abbey"? That is my wantonly destructive, yet bizarrely loveable cat.)

VolcanoMouse

@DoilyMadison Nooo, Dog Monday! Howling for Walter! The saddest goddamn thing in fiction.

chickaboom

@VolcanoMouse I read that book in the series 8 times and I cried every. single. time. Sadder than anything.

candybeans

@Marsh Marigold I am now *terrified* to find out what Dog Monday is, because, sadness, but there's an article in a recent new yorker about face transplantation, and a lady whose nose and lips were eaten off by her dog when she had passed out from being really, really drunk. She woke up in the morning and tried to stick a cigarette in her mouth, but couldn't, and, ?!??!!??!?!??!

liznieve

I had a next door neighbor who killed herself. She was pretty fucked up, on lots of drugs all of the time, seeing her and her boyfriend coming down from our roof stark naked holding a bottle of Beam at 8am on a Tuesday as I'm going to work, etc etc. She hung herself, and I heard it and thought it was her and her boyfriend doing something kinky, didn't want to get involved, etc... anyway, it's still a tough thing, and I have found dealing with even the death of someone more peripheral in your life, can have a huge effect on you. Anyway. The residue of the police crime scene seal is still on her door frame and OMG WHERE IS THE GOO GONE!?!?

KeLynn

@liznieve Yikes. I didn't know hanged people made any sounds. I figured the rope would cut off the windpipe or whatever so you couldn't scream. I don't want to ask for details but....*shudder*

liznieve

@KeLynn No, it wasn't her screaming, it was the sound of her... umm... body hitting the front door? She hung herself by slamming the rope in her front door. Not the most pleasant way to go, but clearly she was determined...

Alice Prin

@liznieve JESUS and also CHRIST.

KeLynn

@liznieve FUCK

one cow.

A few years ago at work, I was supposed to schedule a meeting between a bunch of people. One guy wasn't telling us his schedule, so I tried to figure out from his calendar & his admin what his deal was. Another guy on the project called me & told me the guy was taking some personal time off, so I shouldn't add him to the meeting invite. I wrote to the admin, saying "I guess he's taking personal time off. Ugh, I sure could use some personal time off!" About 20 minutes later we received an email to the whole company letting us know that that man (in his late 20s) had passed away the day before. He was alone in his apartment. He'd been really sick with a blood disorder & had refused medical treatment & hadn't told anyone. I emailed his admin immediately & apologized for what now seemed like such an insensitive comment. It still makes me so sad.

Erin Madden@facebook

Last year at this time I was living in south Texas doing research for my dissertation and a guy from my complex was killed in a knife fight two floors above me. Everyone was like "OH MY GOD F THE RESEARCH GET OUT OF THERE, YOUNG FEMALE LIVING ALONE!!!!" but I guess I have an excellent ability to repress feelings of fear and a deep love of swimming pools because I stayed?

frigwiggin

@Erin Madden@facebook A knife fight? Really?

Erin Madden@facebook

@figwiggin YES! I reasoned that it was all very west side story, but a more accurate picture would be a drunken fight between two early 20s guys over weed and women.

Erin Madden@facebook

@Erin Madden@facebook Oh, and around the same time my roommate in the apartment I moved out of to go to Texas called me and told me one of our upstairs neighbors hung himself in his apartment. Quite sad, especially because one of his young daughters found him.

Where I live now no one is dead.

wharrgarbl

@Erin Madden@facebook I don't know that dudes knife-fighting with each other is particularly threat-indicating to random neighbors who have nothing to do with anything? The area I live in went through a spate of violence a while back, and everyone was like "Nice part of town you live in, please never invite us back to your place, we'll all be murdered," in spite of a) none of it being the sort of crime that's predictable by area and b) the sort of crime they've all had, only with worse outcomes, in their own neighborhoods.

catsuperhero

@Erin Madden@facebook "Where I live now no one is dead." That's a fucking fantastic sentence.

aphrabean

Howling wastelands of Logan Square?! Come on, now.

mackymoo

@aphrabean I know, as one of those yuppies who moved there in 2010, I'm always listen with interest about Logan Square before New Wave.

Actually I know several people whose parents lived there when they were growing up. My sister's boss's mom still lives in one of those mansion on Logan Blvd.

Claire Zulkey

@aphrabean Well, this was about 9 years ago and Steve lived in an especially out of the way part of it. I just feel about Logan Square the way Homer Simpson does about New York. I've never had a great time there (everything feels so far away from everything else!) I think maybe half my problem is that I've never had a great meal at Lula.

aphrabean

@mackymoo I definitely fall into the yuppie category myself (I moved to Chicago in 2010) but I've got friends who grew up in the neighborhood & still live there! Side note: do you ever read the neighborhood newsletter? They call specific people out for not cleaning up after their dogs! It's maybe my favorite thing about Logan Square.

aphrabean

@Claire Zulkey Have you tried Jam? Jam is pretty great. Logan is pretty much the only neighborhood I've lived in, (moved from the West Coast) so I have an admitted bias. The Boulevard is so lovely in the summer, though!

Claire Zulkey

@aphrabean I have a friend who just went there and said she loved it (yay) but said she had to wait an hour to get in (nay)

mackymoo

@Claire Zulkey @aphrabean There is so much new stuff though! I love La Boulangerie and Uncharted Bookstore and Wolfbait.

I've only been to Lula once though because it's out of my price range and I feel like only very beautiful people go there.

I also came here from the suburbs so I am like city life! Walk everywhere! I like it because it's a chill place to live and not as much of a destination for others like Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, etc. My boyfriend is Mexican and can be sensitive to overly white neighborhoods so he is comfortable in a place where the guy at the corner liquor store will speak in Spanish to him.

Olivia2.0

@mackymoo wolfbait is not new you guys!

mackymoo

@Olivia2.0 That's why I used two sentences? I was just trying to represent it in the things that make Logan Square worth it part.

thisisunclear

@Claire Zulkey Girl, get the to Nightwood instead! It's Lula+

Claire Zulkey

@thisisunclear Oh I am down with Nightwood! And I dig Pilsen.

thisisunclear

@Claire Zulkey yay! I had to break up with Lula after a few too many disappointing dinners, so I like to save a few extra pennies for its fancier younger sibling. Plus, amazing Nightwood cocktails, which I now need after imagining my weird neighbors dying all over the place. Poor Steve!

SheWhoReadsInSkirts

@Claire Zulkey WAIT do you mean you have had meals at Lula's that were not great or that you've never been. Because if the latter, rectify. If the former, I don't even know how that is possible. They were my brunch place of UNF when I lived in Logan Square.

Now that I'm in Bridgeport, I don't even know where to brunch, but y'know. ART GALLERIES.

frigwiggin

Aw, don't feel bad! It's not like you can hurt the dead guy's feelings. Intentional disrespect for the dead is one thing, being a dick is another. Although, come to think of it, what people mean by "disrespect for the dead" varies quite a bit, from not talking about what kind of person they really were (aka a loving friend but also a jerkbitch sometimes) to not using corpses for munitions testing. I'm reading Mary Roach's Stiff right now so the dead are on my mind! Thanks for the story--being at the periphery of death is a very weird feeling.

(P.S. "Steve was disturbed to notice that our dog was sniffing around that building more than usual, and made an effort to hustle away as soon a possible." As soon as possible, probably? I apologize and feel like a jerk every time I point typos out, but I promise I'm not trying to be a jerk! Proofreading is just a major part of my day job and one of my only marketable skills.)

gimlet

@figwiggin Such a fascinating book, right? Have you gotten to the part about the Scandinavians freeze-drying you and shattering you into fertilizer? I kind of want that to happen when I die.

area@twitter

@figwiggin I love that book. Love it.

KeLynn

@gimlet YES that is what I want too!

I loved that book. I listed to it on audiobook during a road trip and every 5 minutes my boyfriend and I would look at each other, shocked at all the new death facts we were learning.

annveal

@figwiggin I listened to that book at work and burst out laughing on several occasions (Its funny, right?). My co-workers would ask me what I was listening to and I didn't know if it was more suspicious to answer "nothing" or "a book about corpses".

Claire Zulkey

@figwiggin hey thank you for looking out! I'll pass it on to Edith.

frigwiggin

@gimlet I am really enjoying it! Although the rather cavalier mention of animal testing makes me really, really sad--way more sad than scientific research on dead bodies. I'm glad the rest of it's funny so I don't get myself too worked up about dogs and cats that were treated badly fifty years ago.

NeverOddOrEven

@gimlet YES! Love that! But she said it's really iffy about being approved in the US, and because of the book I decided to donate my body to science anyway.
I even have a wallet card!

Ellie

Guys I "know" Mary Roach! I've introduced her when she gave talks at my bookstore a couple times and then attended another reading of hers. She remembered me bc I have the same name as someone she is related to.
Like her, I love the idea of being a skeleton hanging in the corner of a science classroom, but also per her book, nobody makes skeletons anymore. So instead I'm an organ donor.

frigwiggin

@Ellie Me too, me too! ...um, that I'm an organ donor, not that I know Mary Roach. Jealous! I should get a donated-to-science wallet card.

Alice Prin

@figwiggin This speaks very much to the kind of family I'm from.. but I read Stiff and then went to my parents' house for dinner. My mom was like "Isn't it funny how if you're in a plane crash, your shoes fall off and the impact rips the pockets right off your pants?" While we were eating. There was a beat.. and then all five of us were overcome by laughing fits. Like, can't-breathe-hysterical laughing, all imagining the misfortune of losing your shoes and your POCKETS at the same time.

Bitterblue

@figwiggin I'm an organ donor too! I'm like, well, obviously I'm not using it now, so do something useful with my body, please!

And I feel like, it's the same in death as it is in life -- as long as you have the consent of the owner of the body, then it's not disrespectful. So you can turn me into fertilizer or a munitions testing dummy or a high school biology prop but only if you have my permission beforehand. And if you don't, that's horrible, but if you do, it's totally cool. It's all about consent, yo. (If I were a vegetarian I could get super-smug right now but I'm not, so instead I'll just feel sheepish. No pun intended.)

yeah-elle

This is sad and creepy. And it reminds me of Joyce Carol Vincent, that woman in London who was dead in her apartment for THREE YEARS before she was found. She was apparently a young, vibrant, and socially active woman, and still...aghhh that story haunts me.

EpWs

@yeah-elle OHMYGOD. That is insane.

SheWhoReadsInSkirts

@yeah-elle This is, quite honestly, one of the reasons I facebook frequently. In the hope that if I get kidnapped or dead, people will figure it out because I'm not updating them on my life. Truuue facts.

Megasus

@yeah-elle There was an old woman (I think in Japan) whose son kept her body in the house for like 20 years so he could continue to get her pension. AND THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11039196 (this isn't even the one I am referring to)

Tulletilsynet

Keep these stories coming, kids.

cuminafterall

@Tulletilsynet Yes! My favorite part of crime procedurals is the beginning when someone going about their normal business discovers a dead body and then the theme song kicks in.

melis

"'Hey man, did you catch the game last night? Can you believe that call?' 'Yeah, that ref should get his eyes checked.' Wait a second. Parking garage? Vague and crappy dialogue? We're about to find a dead body."

Porn Peddler

@cuminafterall ugh my worst fear when I worked in the jizzcade was opening up all the doors to the booths and thinking "tonight is the night I find someone who autoerotically asphyxiated himself"

wharrgarbl

@melis Sometimes it's ironic crappy dialogue.

emilylou

"HURRY, honey! We're 15 minutes late, the babysitter's gonna be so mad! I don't want to pay her extra."
"I know, I know. But wasn't having a night out together so nice? I just loved that play."
"Yeah, yeah, it was great to get a break from the - hey, hon, look at the house. Why would the sitter leave the front door open?"
"I TOLD you she was irresponsible. Remember last time? She let the kids stay up watching scary movies until 9:00!"

wharrgarbl

"I can't believe we had to come all the way back here this late just because you accidentally left your wife's birthday present here. I swear, you'd forget your head if it weren't screwed on."
"Yeah, yeah. Hey--why is Bob's light still on?"
"Huh. I think he said he something about working late to get his part of that big project done on time."
"Seriously? I think that guy's just gunning for overtime. Joke's on him, though--if he tries for extra pay on account of being behind, the boss is going to murder him."

partystripes

@Tulletilsynet One of my goals in life is to play the dead body found before the opening credits of a procedural.

Myrtle

@partystripes Here's your primer, future dead person! http://blogs.laweekly.com/arts/2011/12/justin_schenck_csi_crime_scene.php

olivebee

I lived in Evanston for 4 years before moving to Chicago, and my only dead body experiences were in Evanston. One night, I was driving home from babysitting, and there were like 6 police cars parked at the intersection of Asbury & Greenleaf with their lights flashing. It was dark, so it took me a minute to notice all the police officers were using flashlights to search through the overgrown weeds and shrubbery in the yard in front of this massive old Victorian. I'm also pretty sure I saw a dog with them, so they were obviously searching for something that was either dead or missing.

The other story is a more widely known one. I worked in the City of Evanston's Parks & Rec Dept. for a while, and one of my tasks was to take some photography of all 80-something parks in Evanston. So I was at this park taking photos...and then a few days later, someone walking their dog found a bunch of body parts strewn about the same park. A troubled young man had taken a couple pipe bombs to the park and blown himself up. The park was right next to a middle school so there was a lot of chaos involved in the aftermath.

liznieve

@olivebee O_o when was the pipe bomb thing?!?! Must have been after my tenure in Evanston... aaahhhhHHHH.

olivebee

@olivebee Another Evanston story! My freshman year of college there, there was a news story about this elderly woman who had died, and when the coroner et al. went into the house to remove her, they found all her dead sibling's bodies there, too. Each sibling was in a diff. bed in the house, and they had all died between 50 and 4 years before the woman died.

olivebee

@liznieve It was in Sept. of 2010 at Fitzsimon's Park down near-ish Main St.

Porn Peddler

@olivebee Someone committed suicide by self-immolation in a cemetery in my city. Apparently a 911 operator received a call stating that there was A PERSON ON FIRE IN THE CEMETERY (what do you even do?!)

datalass

@olivebee Oh, that's so haunting, like "A Rose for Miss Emily" or something.

liznieve

@olivebee Oh, OK. 5 years past my Evanston expiration date.

(ETA: SORRY, JUST REALIZED BAD PUN)

Mae
Mae

@olivebee What!? Do you have any links to news stories about it?

NeverOddOrEven

@Third Wave Housewife Transfer the call!

Where I worked the fire and medical stuff was handled by a specific group (in the room). We only kept police calls.

Porn Peddler

@NeverOddOrEven I guess I more mean what would any responder do about that? I cannot imagine there is much you can do aside from stopping the on-fire person from causing other fires?...

NeverOddOrEven

@Third Wave Housewife I was being cheeky. In all seriousness they'd send everyone - police, fire, and medics. Police (again, in these parts) go on any call where responders might be in danger.
If they get there in time (or maybe even if not) I assume they'd put the guy out and get him into the hospital. He'd be there on a 72 hr hold more than likely anyway if it was a less.... efficient method of suicide.

I can't recall the title, but I read a good book once by a guy who set himself on fire as a teen and lived. It was all about the recovery process.

Xanthophyllippa

@datalass OH GOD THAT STORY SCARED THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF ME NOW I'LL HAVE NIGHTMARES. I mean, admittedly last night I dreamed a colleague was gutting a fish and flinging the blood all over the walls until my boss's daughter roundhouse kicked him the head and sent him flying down a stairwell, but now my nightmares will be WORSE.

le mango

@NeverOddOrEven Oh yeah! It's by Brent Runyon, it's called The Burn Journals.

bangs
bangs

For at least a year there was someone in my building who had some serious problem which caused them to cough very loudly, all the time. My building is concrete, I have no neighbours on any side, and I can't hear anyone do anything, except for this person and their coughing. It was so loud it would wake me up. Then one day it stopped... I can't help but think this person died.

ssmary@twitter

When one of our housemates didn't show up after spring break senior year of college, we left a post-it note on his door saying "Please let us know you're not dead" He was the kind of person to just hang out in his room quietly, and we didn't really see that much of him most of the time.

Turns out that over spring break he'd hung himself in the unused basement nobody ever went to. We took the note down before his parents visited.

olivebee

@ssmary@twitter OMG that would be so sad and horrifying and terrible! I wouldn't know what to do if I lived there. I would be so shaken.

Megasus

@ssmary@twitter In YOUR basement? Did you stay? I would not stay.

plonk

@ssmary@twitter that is a really terrible experience, i'm sorry.

it's weird though--anytime we decide, "hey, i haven't heard from so and so in a while, that's kinda odd, let's check in" - the possibility we're trying to rule out IS the possibility that something horrible has happened to them. right? if we didn't think that something horrible happening to them was possible, we wouldn't bother checking in. so flippantly saying "hope you're not dead" is really kind of a way of diminishing the fear that they really might be.

i'm not explaining this very well. one time in college one of my friends/housemates got into a really nasty, emotionally brutal fight with an on/off again ex. the next day she went off somewhere and wasn't responding to any calls or texts. at first the rest of us friends/housemates were coming up with various explanations of where she might be, but toward the end of the day we all admitted to each other that we were "getting worried." i sent her an email saying "missed you at brunch today, do you want to [blah blah plans] tomorrow, anyway just write back and let me know you're alive whenever you see this." and it was only when she wrote back (she'd just forgotten her phone at home) that i really verbalized to myself that i had actually been afraid she'd killed herself. and it was just strange, and really scary, how fully i'd acknowledged that possibility while not really acknowledging it at all.

fabel

@plonk you've explained very well, I think-- the entire time I was scrolling down these comments, I was thinking something along those same lines ("flippantly saying 'hope you're not dead' is really kind of a way of diminishing the fear that they really might be") So the inadvertent mocking isn't really anything to feel guilty about, in a real way? Although of course you do anyway

atipofthehat

In the fall of 2001, in downtown Manhattan, I smelled that smell for a long, long time.

Bambi

@atipofthehat Me too. And I'll never forget the smell. :(

Porn Peddler

As, in case you think Not Listening to Jolie is a good idea, there's this fun story about death by hoarding.

BadWolf

@Third Wave Housewife Word! That is my favorite New York story of all time, and I realize how disturbing that is, and do not even care. There is never enough horrified fascination. I may have dragged my beau around Cypress Hills Cemetery for an entire day looking for their grave.

atipofthehat

Umm. Has anyone heard from Edith today?

datalass

Shortly after my grandparents moved into their retirement apartment complex, a neighbor committed suicide by jumping from his 8th floor unit onto a 1-story roof right outside my grandparents' unit. I was, of course, worried about how they would respond, particularly my grandmother. I needn't have worried. I guess when you're an 82-year-old with a mind like Miss Marple, these things don't much faze you.

yeah-elle

@datalass Miss Marple! I think my favorite description of her mind I've read is "sharp like a bacon slicer."

datalass

@yeah-elle I love that one! Also, she has a Victorian mind, "like a sink."

feartie

@datalass Lonely old people killing themselves is just one of those things that makes me want to sob and hug the people I love.

datalass

@feartie I'm not sure that this will make the story less sad, but this man did have a rather devoted daughter. Apparently, he'd just gotten the news that he was terminally ill, though.

feartie

@datalass I think that a terminal diagnosis was supposed to be the reason behind the jumper in the building I was staying at (above). I think having a daughter in a way helps - someone to grieve for him?

atipofthehat

@feartie

Suicide is rarely very nice for the survivors.

feartie

@atipofthehat I know, and it doesn't really make it better that someone else suffers - it's just the idea of dying with no one who will care that you are gone...I don't know.

atipofthehat

@feartie

All I know is, here we are, and NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE

Megasus

Oh man, I totally would have immediately checked!! That dude was totally dead!
Also in my old building in Ottawa, my sister (who lived in the same bldg but a different floor), had the old lady across the hall from her die. And then a body washed up one spring like in a lot next door. A kayak was there too. And someone got shot right outside my window there too! Oh and that girl who went missing from Carleton a few years ago (the one who had that dude on the internet posing as a girl and egging her on to kill herself) washed up a few blocks away from another place I lived.
So far there have been no dead bodies in Toronto.

The Lady of Shalott

@Megan Patterson@facebook Ahhhh you lived near where Nadia went missing? I was in my second year of university at that point and I helped volunteer in some of the search parties all over campus and through parts of Vincent Massey Park because I lived not far away. It was really sad.

Megasus

@Megan Patterson@facebook Yeah, I went to Carleton at the time, and used to walk my dog over near where her body was found ALL THE TIME.

The Lady of Shalott

@Megan Patterson@facebook I feel like though I may not know you in real life, I have probably passed you in the halls at Carleton at some point! Probably more than once!

Ellie

@Megan Patterson@facebook I would have immediately checked too. I'm incredibly nosy so I absolutely would have WALKED IN if the door was ajar and the music had been going on that long.

Megasus

@The Lady of Shalott It's entirely possible because I was in 2nd year too!

The Lady of Shalott

@Megan Patterson@facebook Ahhhhhhh are you for reals? Were you in Arts?

Megasus

@The Lady of Shalott Ummm I was still technically in...whatever Mass Comm was (Humanities? I remember getting a brown shirt on orientation day, because it was ugly and I was mad about it, lol), but I took English and History courses too.

iceberg

I've never found a dead body but a man became a dead body out the front of our house once.
My husband went out to investigate the loud pops that turned out to have been gunshots (never letting him do that again) and saw this man lying on the sidewalk bleeding out... and ended up sitting by the man's side until he died. He was already dead by the time the police got there, never mind the ambulance.

Mad as a Hatter!

@iceberg I think it's lovely that your husband stayed there with the man while he died. No one deserves to die alone.

franceschances

@Sherlock Agreed. Your husband sounds like a wonderful man. What a generous thing to do.

frigwiggin

@franceschances @Sherlock I'm glad you guys said this because thumbs-upping the original story seems insensitive somehow? But that's a great thing that a lot of people wouldn't do.

datalass

After I moved into my current place, I was reading the reviews on Apartment Ratings. One reviewer griped at length about thin walls, surly maintenance staff, parking problems, then appended like an afterthought "Oh yeah, the corpse in the woods was a nice touch."

I never got the backstory on that, not convinced that it's even true. As a result I don't feel especially guilty that it's become a recurring joke in my household: "Well, the caprpet is garbage but, you know, the corpse in the woods is a nice touch."

sugar cubism

A handful of years ago, I looked at an apartment and liked it. It had this wonderful front room with lots of natural light. I considered moving there with my boyfriend at the time, but eventually went with a place around the corner. +/- 3 months later, a Crime Scene Unit van was parked outside the place with the pretty windows. Turns out the girl who moved there when I didn't was murdered by her live-in boyfriend, who stayed in the apartment for THREE DAYS with her dead body, peeing in gatorade bottles (her body was in the bathroom).
I was obsessed with the story and felt like I'd somehow dodged a bullet. Even though that's crazy talk. BUT STILL.

lora.bee

Ahh, I don't have a dead-body-in-the-building story (though I did used to live above a bar near Hastings St in Vancouver, so it's possible something like that happened at some point!), but can I ask for some advice? There is a guy on my floor that gets drunk or something some nights, and starts shouting to himself really late at night, REALLY loudly. The landlord comes up sometimes, but I think he just tells him to be quiet and leaves. Is there anything else I should be doing other than calling the landlord? I don't know if this guy would hurt himself, and I definitely don't want to knock on his door because the whole thing freaks me out.

iceberg

@lora.bee DEFINITELY don't knock on the door, would be my advice, keep yourself safe. If you really think he has hurt himself you could call the police?

NeverOddOrEven

@lora.bee Yea, call the cops. They can suss that stuff out and get him help if he's EDP (Emotionally Disturbed Person).

lora.bee

@iceberg @NeverOddOrEven I have thought about calling the cops; I would just call the non-emergency line, right? I guess the next time the landlord comes up to deal with it I could tell him that I will call them if he won't.

NeverOddOrEven

@lora.bee Ohgoodlord how I love you for knowing of and being inclined to use the non-emergency line!
It's your call though, depends on the situation. Regardless of what line you use the call will be responded to the same way - depending on circumstance.
The thing with the non-emergency line is that you're not butting ahead of actual emergency calls. Our (911 centers and protocols vary WIDELY) phone system was set up to give priority to the 911 lines.

liznieve

@lora.bee I feel the emergency line would be appropriate... because honestly? You don't know that guy and what he's capable of. Best to leave it to the professionals.

lora.bee

@NeverOddOrEven @liznieve Well, he has never come out of his apartment so I feel pretty safe when I am locked in mine. But that doesn't mean something like that wouldn't happen SOMEDAY. I don't know what his story is, if he needs some kind of help or what. My landlord doesn't seem to care, so I think I need to talk to him first.

liznieve

@lora.bee That he doesn't come out of his apartment I think makes things worse.

MsChilePepper

@NeverOddOrEven We don't have a non-emergency line to call the police. If you want somebody dispatched, you have to call 911 and they deal with it from there. In situations where it hasn't been an emergency (like a car illegally parked IN MY YARD), I've always been careful to say immediately, "This is not an emergency" and then take it from there.

NeverOddOrEven

@MsChilePepper Aw, that sucks. I live one county over from where I worked, and here they have 311 for non-emergency and general city info stuff that's answered in a different call center. I love that and wish we had it where I worked. One of the worst parts about the job was being on some major 911 call with shots fired or a bad domestic then getting done, answering a non-emergency line, and having to pretend to care about the parking complaint (which people get PISSED about, by the way).

NeverOddOrEven

@MsChilePepper Ah shit. I didn't mean to use hat example to belittle yours. That's a legit reason to be pissed. I'm talking about people who get upset that we're not speeding a cop out because someone has been parked 49 hours in a 48 hour zone.

Xanthophyllippa

@NeverOddOrEven Or that woman who called 911 because McDonald's was out of nuggets. She should be forced to do a ride-along so she can see what a real emergency looks like.

MsChilePepper

@NeverOddOrEven Oh, no worries, I didn't misconstrue what you were saying. I totally get how people can get really amped up over stuff nearly everyone else thinks is minor.

Regarding my parking clusterfuck situation, I live next to a community college that has had parking issues for years (not enough spaces for students, and multiple HUGE parking lots that require a strenuous uphill trek to get to classes. The monthly parking passes are kinda spendy, too, so the cheapass students (or the ones who are too lazy to walk up from the parking lot) think they're clever and decide to park in our neighborhood. Unfortunately for them, the neighborhood is posted as parking being for residents only, and the city will ticket and sometimes tow cars. We also don't *want* non-residents parking here willy-nilly, because we try to pay attention to who is and is not supposed to be there, because we've had break-ins and other issues.

We've had multiple cars towed because they literally park on the grass of our side yard, which is a seriously assholish move, I think we can all agree. And if you catch them doing it, they give you static and talk back to you, acting like they're entitled to park there and we should just STFU and let them do it. Yeah, no. Homie don't play THAT.

Olivia2.0

" howling wastelands of Logan Square" YOU SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE I LOVE IT HERE. :(

Claire Zulkey

@Olivia2.0 sorry! This was 9 years ago and he lived in a shitty part of it and I am a bad person who just never could get into that hood.

tortietabbie

I don't have any dead body finding stories (although I'm sure if I did I'd be wrecked for life), but I have the reoccurring daymare where I get home from work to find our sweet senior citizen dog dead. :( I know he's old and he's going to go at some point but I don't want him to be all alone for it!

mustelid

In the words of Beauty Pill: "It was supposed to be moving sidewalks, jet packs, and hover crafts. Mostly it's the feeling of moving into a house where the last tenant was a suicide, and the landlord looks at you nervously."

nogreeneggs

These stories are horrifying! I am definitely the sort of panicky person that if I don't here from someone when I was supposed to instantly starts worrying that something is wrong.

I recently started seeing a therapist (for anxiety, shocker!) and the other week I got to her office for our second appointment a little early. At 8:00 on the dot I went to the admin people to politely ask if I was supposed to just go on back and they said no, just wait here. At 8:15 I again politely asked if Dr. was here and if I should continue waiting. At 8:30 I not as politely asked the admin staff if they had even seen Dr. this morning and if something might be wrong because my 1 hour appointment started a half hour ago. Turns out Dr. was not dead, she had just originally planned to take the morning off and completely forgotten about me because I was a new patient.

Now I have more anxiety.

Xanthophyllippa

@nogreeneggs Time for a new doctor.

Bird Internet

All of this talk of dead bodies and crime scenes is reminding me of the movie Sunshine Cleaning. It kind of shows the healing power of cleaning up the scene of a tragedy, but not at all as cheesy as I am making it sound right now?

MsChilePepper

@Bird Internet Yes! I really liked that movie.

I'm sort of fascinated by the whole biohazard cleanup thing in general, anyway. I've watched several documentaries about it, and I even have an acquaintance whose company does cleanup jobs of that sort.

oh, disaster

All of these stories are horrifying and yet I can't stop reading them. I seriously don't know how I'd react if I was put in some of these situations.

There was an old man who would call the obituary department where I work every few months because he said he was writing his own obit and wanted to go over grammar rules and stuff like that. He was very matter-of-fact about it and very sweet, but it was still really sad. We haven't heard from him in over a year, so...

Xanthophyllippa

Okay, I feel like we need a club now to all check up on each other to make sure we're not dead. I'm my name at Gmail -- who's in?

Xanthophyllippa

@Xanthophyllippa *crickets*

OH GOD YOU'RE ALL DEAD IN YOUR APARTMENTS and I was inadvertently mocking you.

spoondisaster

@Xanthophyllippa You know, I live alone and though I have good friends and talk to one or both of my parents at least once a week, but I still wonder how long it would take for someone to think "hm, I haven't heard from Spoon lately, I wonder if she's ok." Your email club is a good idea. There should be an app or something that makes you send a weekly update and if it's missed for two weeks in a row it sends an email to your family/friends saying "X might be dead, maybe go over and check to see?"

Xanthophyllippa

@spoondisaster Exactly! A few years ago, when I was only teaching MW, I realized that if I dropped dead any time after about 4:00 on Wednesday afternoon, the chances of anyone noticing before my second class on Monday would be slim. Even then no one might know until I failed to show up for class again on Wednesday, and I also have good friends and talk to my parents frequently.

I spend far too much time worrying about this because it actually happened to a friend's undergrad advisor: he died at home sometime after his last class of the week, and no one noticed until he didn't show up the following week. Ugh.

spoondisaster

@Xanthophyllippa It's terrifying! Even better would be having some sort of device imbedded in our bodies that took our vitals and transmitted them to the internet or something and if something bad happened vital signs-wise, it would alert the police. Someone needs to get on that so I can do away with my fear of dying alone.

Xanthophyllippa

@spoondisaster They are! In fact, one of my engineering students is writing a paper on that very thing this semester. The technology exists; it just isn't in use yet.

spoondisaster

@Xanthophyllippa This was my reaction. Yay, engineering students! You are making The Future.

Leon Tchotchke

Several years ago I went home for Christmas and my dad and I decided to go check in on my grandfather on Christmas morning (he lived alone and would refuse to come to any family dinners). He wasn't home, and when we called his cell phone it turned out he'd gone to check on his friend in the next town over to say hello. He had Alzheimer's and wasn't supposed to be driving, so we drove over to pick him up and make sure he got home safely.

When we got there, he was kind of lingering around outside acting concerned, because there was a bunch of mail piled up by the door and the lights inside were on and her dog was outside in a pen that had feces and urine all over and no food or water left. I got the dogs food and water while my dad and grandfather found a spare key and went inside.

It was really cold inside the house and we found the woman lying in bed on her back, like she'd just put her head down and dozed off and never woken up. We called the police and sat around her living room waiting for them to show up. It was really strange and offputting, because there was mail on the table, a pack of smokes on the counter, a glass of water out by the sink - it was like going over someone's house and you're kind of looking around at all the details of their day to day lives, except they're dead in the next room over and here's all their things exactly where they'd left them, like she could've come back out at any moment and picked up exactly where she'd left off.

datalass

@Leon Tchotchke This reminds me of my great aunt's death. Early on a Sunday morning, she'd awoken and gone through her usual routine. After she'd gotten dressed for church, she sat down at her vanity to wait for my grandparents to arrive (they would walk to church together) and died.

My grandfather found her, still seated at her vanity. It's strange: reading this right now, it sounds macabre and terrifying, but at the time it seemed very quiet and peaceful. Perhaps it's because she was nearly 90 years old. Perhaps it's because her life was very much the way she liked it right up until the moment that her heart gave out. Perhaps it's that my grandfather handled it all so calmly and with such love.

annejumps@twitter

My dead body story is pretty boring. I was driving to my acupuncturist's on a street alongside East Lake Golf Club during the PGA Tour, and lo and behold, on the other side of the street facing the course were police units, crime scene tape, and the body of an older man face down in the yard. On my way back he'd been covered with a tarp.

Inkling

It would be a shame if any 'Pinners died and the rest of the community never found out. Obituaries should really include all online aliases.
ETA Then your parents can pretend to play it really cool that you're Slutt4Butts on like six different sites.

Myrtle

@Inkcrafter I'm torn between thinking this is somehow a really good business idea- or a plotline for a novel/screenplay.

Inkling

@Myrtle
All of my thoughts are plotlines. Very kind of you to notice.

pixieg

@Myrtle I think it already is a business? I have it in my head that it is, but maybe it was just some joke I read...

miwome

@pixieg It's definitely a business in a dystopian science fiction novel somewhere. Dunno if it's also one in real life.

chickaboom

@miwome this is totally a thing, i heard about it on some radio program: http://legacylocker.com/

Myrtle

See? The Bridget Jones obsession (nicely co-opted by Tina Fey in first season 30 Rock) has its base in truth. Also, someone who should've been closer to me had her mortal remains discovered a few days after she'd departed. Alone, a few feet from her bed, no awful hospital with tubes. 'S how I'd want to go, too.

Myrtle

Biiology 'Pinners: What's the "sweet smell"- proteins turning to sugar?

Xanthophyllippa

@Myrtle Gases released by bacteria during putrefaction. More or less, it's fermentation at work.

Bitterblue

@Xanthophyllippa Oh god, is it terrible that the very first thing I thought was, "People Beer!"? I think it is. I am a terrible person. But not a cannibal, or whatever the alcoholic equivalent is. I swear!

automaticdoor

My terrible story: (WARNING, DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH ABOUT CAR ACCIDENTS AND BLOOD AND STUFF)

I was driving home from work a few years ago and a truck had flipped upside down from across the other side of the interstate all the way over across the wide grassy median to my side. The driver, according to the radio story I heard shortly after passing the scene (apparently I was one of the last cars they let through), wasn't wearing a seat belt and went through the windshield and was sliced in half at the waist as he went through. I saw his bottom half. They'd covered it haphazardly with a tarp, but it was very obvious that there was nothing attached...

WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS.

hellonheels

@automaticdoor Ugh. My grandfather and two of my uncles ran a wrecker company, and some of the stories they would tell us about accident scenes they came across, particularly when they beat the police there, would just turn your stomach.

In California - maybe just the Bay Area? - they let motorcyclists ride between the lanes, so when it gets really trafficky, they'll just be zooming by you in between the carpool lane and the next one over so you don't even know they're there until they're literally next to you. Over the past year I've driven by three different accident scenes involving motorcyclists that resulted in multiple police/fire/ambulance vehicles and I couldn't even look. I will even hold my hand in my peripheral vision so I don't accidentally catch a glimpse.

Xanthophyllippa

@automaticdoor Equally disgusting story: I used to live just past a busy intersection and one evening we heard serious sirens screaming towards us. Because we are morbid, my parents and I went down to the end of our (very long) driveway to see what was up - accidents weren't uncommon, but this was an awful lot of sirens - and found a semi that was halfway through a left-hand turn and a Pontiac Grand Am UNDER the trailer part. Some drunk guy blew the red light just as the truck started to turn and sheared off the top of his car as it hit the truck -- possibly also shearing off his head.

ImASadGiraffe

@Xanthophyllippa @automaticdoor I used to work for a car insurance company doing injury/death claims - every claim file has accident scene photos and/or pictures of the vehicles, including the insides. I had a claim for a girl that committed suicide by driving her dad's car into a brick wall...I can't "unsee" those photos. :-\

malcontent

The day Amy Winehouse died, a friend and I were at the Jewish Museum in London. On the top floor, they had an exhibit about Jews in entertainment where she featured prominently. I rolled my eyes and whined about this being the representative of my people.

A few hours later, we were lounging around another friend's flat and I checked Twitter ... where I discovered that Amy Winehouse had died around when we had been at the museum. A little piece of me still believes I killed her.

missupright

@malcontent My mother (atheist, sceptic) believes absolutely that she predicted the death of Amy Winehouse the day before. She also believes that she predicted the deaths of George Harrison and Princess Diana.

hellonheels

I was on the crew team in college. One morning I accidentally slept through my 4:45 AM alarm. That turned out to be the day the rest of the team rowed by a corpse hanging in a tree not far from our boathouse. Never was I so thankful to be chewed out for missing practice.

Xanthophyllippa

@hellonheels The crew team here once found a dead body when their bowman conked it with his oar.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

The city left the guy's car there for weeks? My friends' experience has taught me to move my car every three days or Chicago will tow it and bill you $500+!

EvilAuntiePeril

Damn, I'm sorry to have missed this thread. I have SO MANY THINGS to say about dead bodies. (there are good reasons for this, really).

But the best/worst story I have about finding a dead body is from the time my best friend, G lived as a teenager with her family in Africa.

One of the things a lot of the cool kids did was to go around barefoot all the time. The kids who'd lived their all their lives had soles so tough they could stub out cigarettes, walk on broken glass, etc. and would nonchalantly demonstrate this on all possible occasions to prove their cool. (Many more things to ponder about why relatively well-off white kids living in Africa would find it cool to go around barefoot, but that's another discussion for another time).

G took this practice up, cigarette-stubbing toes and all, and spent her holidays cultivating the requisite tough soles, taste for Winstons (blue box), and general air of cool indifference to anything that occurred beneath ankle height. Until one day, while loitering in one of those scrubby patches of grass by the side of the road, possibly just about to stub out a cigarette with her naked toes, she STEPPED ON A DEAD PERSON'S ARM.

After they finished testing the body to confirm she wasn't at risk of catching anything serious, she did wear shoes outside. But only for about 2 weeks.

Megasus

@EvilAuntiePeril NOOOO SHOES FOREVER

lunacydress

A few years ago, I was on Lake Shore Drive, coming back from somewhere, headed north. It was a summer weekend, late afternoon, so it was fairly busy- traffic was moving around 30mph, except for some assholes on crotch rockets who were zipping around in between lanes, weaving around cars. I said aloud, with my friends as witnesses, "yep, we're going to see one of them smashed against the wall" (the north end of LSD is a sharp curve and there's a yellow and black-striped barrier along the side).

Sure enough, 10 minutes later, as we got closer to the end, traffic started slowing down even more and as we crept up to the curve, there was one of the guys' bikes, smashed in a million pieces against the wall. We were about 2 lanes away, and no emergency vehicles had gotten there yet. His two or three friends were pulled over on the side, too; I've sort of blocked out what the state of the guy was. I don't remember if he was under the bike, or if he'd flown off. and was on the other side of the barrier.

It was very eerie.

Zeki Yol@facebook

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