I'm something of a weird news aficionado, because who doesn't love a good story about a Florida man trying to trade his alligator for beer. One of my favorite recurring stories is that of the drunk man (and it's always a man, never a lady) breaking into a stranger's house and passing out in the unsuspecting victim's porch or bed or toilet, only to be found the next morning by the homeowner who immediately calls the cops and has the perpetrator arrested.
But apparently I'm not as quick to catch on, because when I opened my bedroom door around 7:15 one Friday morning after spending the night at my boyfriend's apartment and found a drunk stranger sleeping in my bed, I didn't freak out and call the police. I actually assumed he was my roommate's friend who had just gotten too drunk and needed a place to crash, since all the things I had left on the bed the night before were still there, from the bottles of nail polish to my laptop, just pushed to one side to make room.
More annoyed by the inconvenience of it than anything else, I walked to my bed, and shook his shoulders gently, almost hesitant to wake him. "Hey, buddy. I'm really sorry, but I need to get ready for work." He grunted and rolled over, snuggling deeper into my pillow.
I needed a different strategy. Rolling my eyes, I walked to my roommate's door and knocked. "Tim, I need to get dressed for work. Can you tell your friend to get out of my room?"
Before I could yell at my roommate again, the door swung open. In just his boxers, my roommate looked at me and said, "I don't have a friend staying in your bed."
Silence for a moment, then we rushed to my room as panic set in. I grabbed the shoulders of the now verified stranger in my bed, and shook him.
"Hey. Hey! Who are you?" I pulled the covers off him, and saw his jeans bunched around his knees. He apparently tried to undress the night before but hadn't quite succeeded. I thought about slapping him in the face, but somehow that seemed too cruel, so I started clapping my hands in his ear and yelled louder, "Get out of my bed, please."
The dude opened his eyes, looked at me, and I stopped clapping. He sat up slowly, calmly threw the sheets aside, and rolled his eyes. "Wow. Calm down." He shimmied his jeans up and walked into my kitchen. "Why are you being weird? You ordered me last night." He sat down at my kitchen table.
I then realized the Barbour coat slung over the chair and the suede boots on the floor I noticed earlier belonged to him, not to my roommate. A little taken aback by this stranger's brazenness, I still just expected him to put on his shoes and grab his coat and peace out, but he didn't. Instead, he stared at me.
Getting more anxious, I swung the front door open, and pointed toward the hallway, now shrieking, "What the fuck are you doing in my apartment? Get out, now."
But he still didn't move for his shoes. He asked me again, "What are you doing? You…you ordered me here last night. I was here, in this apartment, last night. Why would you invite me here and then kick me out?"
I couldn't fully comprehend what he was saying, since none of it made sense. His use of the word "order" weirded me out. Maybe he was a gigolo who got the address wrong, because who else do you order? Was he expecting me to give him money? Do gigolos have pimps? And on top of all that, how did he end up in my bed?
"Dude, you were not here last night. I wasn't even here last night. I've never seen you before. You need to get out, now."
His words slurred together, still a little drunk. "But I was in this apartment last night. I know you. You sent me this address. You ordered…You ordered me. You sent...You ordered…" He looked at my roommate, still standing there in his boxers, for some acknowledgement of this series of events.
My roommate shrugged his shoulders. "I'm sorry, man, but I've never seen you before. You weren't at this apartment last night."
But the drunk stranger kept insisting that he had been here, that I ordered him. He was pleading with me to understand his version of events, and I started to feel bad. He was confused, and I wanted to give him an out, to help him realize how wrong he was, so I asked, "If you know me, what's my name?"
"Your…Your name is Madeline." And I was inexplicably surprised he got it wrong. He looked at me, and said again, with conviction, "You ordered me." He stood up and walked toward me, still trying to convince me that I was wrong.
As he got closer, I remembered that this was a complete stranger who broke into my apartment and slept in my bed and was still a little drunk, so I really shouldn't feel bad for him. In fact, it was probably OK to start freaking out. I started shrieking, "Get out, or I'm calling the cops." I picked up his coat and his boots, and shoved them toward him. When he still didn't make moves to put them on, I threw them out into the hallway, "You need to leave now! Put your shoes on and leave, or I'm calling the police."
He came closer, and I dialed 911. When the dispatcher asked, "What's your emergency?" The words came spewing out. "I came home this morning, and there was this drunk stranger in my bed, and I've never seen him before, and my roommate doesn't know who he is, and now he's refusing to leave, and I don't know what to do, and…"
The stranger stumbled across the threshold into the hallway, and I slammed the door, locking it. "Where should I send the car, ma'am," the dispatcher asked.
"He's gone…" And the dispatcher hung up.
As I berated my roommate for leaving the door unlocked before going to sleep, I heard the drunk dude in the hall, struggling to put his boots on, banging the door a couple of times in the process. I made a comment to Tim about how unbelievable all of this was, and the dude outside snickered, "Yeah, sure. I'm the crazy one."
I peeked out the peephole, but by then he was gone. Shaking, I took stock of my belongings. Nothing was missing. There was no vomit or piss anywhere. The only sign this stranger had been there was the rumpled sheets. But I felt uneasy leaving the apartment to go to work, and even more uncomfortable coming home.
I don't know who this kid is, and I never will. And although nothing truly bad happened, I still feel like I've been violated somehow. I'll never get an apology for the inconvenience. There was no respect for my personal space or for me as a person. He had no ability to admit his own mistake and move on gracefully. There's probably lesson about white male privilege and entitlement somewhere in here, but I was more worried he brought bedbugs into my apartment, so the next day, I bleached the shit out of my sheets and sent an e-mail to my landlord about getting a door that automatically locks.
And if you do ever find a stranger passed out in your bed, you should skip the niceties and just call the police.