Friday, May 01, 2009

"he hates these cans!"

At 11:58 last night--I know the time exactly because I looked at the clock when I heard the sound--there was a small, tinkling crash in our bedroom. It sounded like a light bulb had exploded, or that a Christmas tree ornament had shattered, both sounds which were somewhat improbable, as light bulbs are not in the habit of exploding spontaneously, and even we've had our Christmas tree down since...uh, March. "Did something break?" I asked, looking around. Joe got up to investigate, telling me to stay in bed with the baby, because I didn't have any shoes on and he didn't want me to step on any glass.

He looked around the room, picked up something off the floor. Then he went downstairs for what seemed like a long time. I figured he was looking for the broom. When he finally came back into the bedroom, broom-less, he came up to me and pressed something small and cold and metallic into the upper part of my arm, so I could feel it. "I found this on the floor."

"What is that," I asked. "A penny?" I couldn't see, it was dark.

"It's a bullet," he answered.

There are these moments, few and far between, thankfully, where the cognitive dissonance between what someone is telling you and what you are seeing are so different that you just can't understand quite what's happening. There I was, in bed, holding the baby, who was nursing contentedly and making little snuffly sleep sounds. And there was Joe, holding up the bullet that had just been fired through our bedroom window.

"I've called 911," Joe said. Cal was fine, sleeping in his room. His little toddler bed is up next to the window, just in the room next to ours, but thankfully, due to his truly acrobatic sleeping habits, he had since relocated to the bigger, queen-sized mattress that we also keep in his room for guests, which is set farther back by the door.

"Where did the bullet come in?" I asked. I was still confused. Were we really talking about a bullet being shot through our window? Like, from a gun?

"I don't know, but I'm not exactly going to go up to the window and start looking around now," answered Joe. "Stay up here with the baby. Don't get up. I'm going downstairs to wait for the police."

I will tell you, I lived in New York for 30 years, and never once had I been near gunfire, nor had I called 911 once. (Well, there was that one time in med school, but that was an accident.) I've been in Atlanta for less than one year, and already we've called 911 twice, and had a bullet come through our bedroom window. What gives, Atlanta?

Anyway, the police came, looked around, and Joe brought them up to the bedroom, where they found a small bullet hole through both the outer screen and one of the bedroom windows. The angle of the bullet holes lined up such that it seems that the bullet was traveling on a downward trajectory when it entered the room, and was moving at such a low velocity afterwards that it bounced off our squishy upholstered rocking chair and ended up on the floor, next to the changing table. So likely some idiot was shooting his gun in the air, probably even at some distance from our house, given that neither of us remember hearing an actual gunshot. Clearly some people don't believe in the axiom that what goes up, must come down. Maybe they think that bullets travel up so high that they burn up in the stratosphere on re-entry, like some damn meteoroid. Or maybe they're not thinking very much at all.

Mack and Cal thankfully slept through the whole thing (the police were very nice about being quiet, even when they were upstairs), and Joe and I eventually went back to bed after cleaning up the glass and changing our sheets, which had some shattered glass strewn about. But I still can't shake that feeling of cognitive dissonance. A bullet landed in our bedroom. Where our baby was sleeping. Next to the room where our other baby was sleeping. And the person who shot it likely has no idea, nor is he in the least bit sorry.

Anyway, we're all a little tired this morning.


  1. I just came across your blog yesterday and I'm going through the archives. I went to Emory for college and lived near East Atlanta for a year. I was constantly afraid of getting bullets through the window. I moved there because the rent was unbelievably cheap, not understanding how dangerous it was at night. So, not nearly as terrifying as having the bullet actually come through the window, but I can sympathize.