Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Somebody's Watching You

When we moved into the group home in Arkansas, I would NEVER sleep in the common area of the house. I knew if I did, and I woke up and somebody was standing over me, it would totally freak me out to the point that I would never ever be able to get over it. I would awaken in a panic if I accidentally fell asleep on the couch in the living area, even if no clients were in the house at the time. I was just that adamant that nobody was going to be watching me sleep. I thought that was a characteristic about me that would never change.

I was wrong. I don't know what happened really. Maybe I realized that probably nothing is going to happen (after I get over the initial shock of course). Maybe I realized that these guys have to intention to hurt someone (except when the voices in their heads tell them to). Or maybe, and most likely, I'm just tired.

The company for whom we work has several homes like ours around town. This summer, there were several couples who left for other jobs, had babies, and/or took vacations. Due to lack of staff we were asked if we would be willing to do some overnights in the homes with no couples. This essentially meant going to the home and sleeping on the couch from 11 pm until 7 am when the day staff arrived. Our initial thought was something like, "Heck yeah, we can get paid to sleep?? Why say no?"

But you know how some things just aren't worth the money? Overnights just may be on that list.

In our house, people sleep. (Well, technically one stays up playing video games but he is in his room for the most part and doesn't come downstairs.) Apparently our house is the exception. The first night Lowell stayed at another house, he didn't sleep. One guy raced around the house all night. Literally ran around the house. Didn't need anything. Just wanted to speedwalk. Another got up before the sun came up, walked outside and urinated on the house next door. Apparently this is an attention-seeking behavior that he has tried before on new staff. It's a real shocker and definitely gets attention, but Lowell handled it like a champ and didn't make a big deal about it, so the guy walked back in and said, "not appropriate to pee outside." Yeah, like he was telling Lowell something he didn't already know.

The next house (yes, we agreed to do it again) was not much better. This one was supposed to be better because he wasn't going to have to stay on the side with the guys. He was told he could stay on the couple's side of the house and monitor the cameras to make sure everything was okay. What he wasn't told was that one guy walked outside every chance he got and an alarm on the couple's side of the house said, "FRONT DOOR" every time the door was opened, because of course the guy is not supposed to be outside alone at all hours of the night. When Lowell thought he was finally ready to settle in for the night, he looked at the monitor and watched this same guy eat a whole package of hot dog buns. When he started looking for more food, Lowell felt obliged to go back over and try once more to get the guy to go to sleep.

So this week, we were again asked if we could do the overnight shift at the house next door. We know these girls and we were under the impression that they all three sleep. And it's next door. However, one of the girls has a real fascination with men and for reasons left unsaid, we felt it was best for him not to be sleeping on their couch. So it fell to me. And since I am past my issues with people watching me sleep, I thought it would be cool.

The night kind of reminded me of a hospital stay. You know, where someone comes in every couple of hours to check on you. My first wake-up was actually another staff. She said she was just coming around to make sure I'd locked all the doors. Seriously?? Why wake someone up to see if the doors are locked?? My next wake-up was when one of the ladies was standing in the living room saying (in a very spooky voice), "Nicole, is that you? Is that you Nicole? I don't know who you are." Nicole is the day staff at that house and she and I look nothing alike, nor are we even the same race. And then every hour on the hour, there she was again. "Nicole, is that you? Is that you Nicole? I don't know who you are." I might have rather heard a loud alarm saying, "Front Door" than "Nicole, is that you? Is that you Nicole? I don't know who you are." In between the freaky stares and questions, she would go back to her room and listen to the radio. Except she would only listen to around 20 seconds of each song and then change the station. That is until the song, "Somebody's Watching You" (yes, the one from the 80s, or the Geico commercial depending on how old you are). This particular song, she listened to in its entirety. I'm not lying or even stretching the truth on this. Freaky doesn't begin to describe it.

Maybe my irrational fear of sleeping in someone else's living room and being stared at while I sleep was not so irrational after all.

1 comment:

kim said...

this is so funny i am laughing here.