It was about 6:30 this morning and still dark out when I began to hear the pounding on the door.
Now, I live on the second floor, the entryway is shared by two other apartments, and seeing as how I don't know a single soul in this town, the knock certainly wasn't for me.
The only other time someone pounded on the door like that was in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. On that occasion, after the pounding had gone on a while, I did pop my head out, went down the stairs, and asked the women what she wanted.
She, of course, was looking for someone I did not know (have I mentioned I know not a soul in this town, with the exception of my landlady and the maintenance guys, who have keys anyway, and if they wanted to get up to see me, they could?)
Anyhoo, this morning's knocker was certainly tenacious, but after a while, the pounding stopped.
But only a few minutes later, I heard voices down below and then footsteps coming up the stairs, followed by a knock on my door.
I approached the door tentatively and said, "Hello?"
My landlady's voice came from the other side.
"Yes, Mr. Myers, the police are here and they have a few questions for you."
Heart pounding, I went to the door, opened it, and there on the landing was my landlady, looking like she'd just been woken up, and yes, a uniformed police officer. My landlady went on.
"They need you to go down to the station for a few minutes."
She let me stand there a moment, looking stunned or faint or however the hell I looked, before she said, "They need you to move your car. There's a road race today and they need to clear that side of the street."
It took a few moments for my befuddled mind to process this information.
It had indeed been a police officer pounding on my door, looking for me, and not being able to contact me, they phoned the landlady, whose phone number is posted on the door.
And they knew it was my car from the parking permit on the back, or maybe the license plate (funny to think of computers humming somewhere looking up my address . . .)
So when I finally did process all of this, I looked at the officer and said, "Man, I am so sorry. I mean . . . I heard the knocking, but I don't know anybody in this town . . . and figured it couldn't be for me . . ."
He continued to stare at me like I was a suspicious character. And, considering all the facts, I suppose I was.
Anyway, still shouting my apologies, my landlady and the officer turned and left. I threw on some jeans and moved my car to the other side of the street.
But most sincere thanks (and continued apologies) to the St. Petersburg police and the officer in question. You went out of your way, and I certainly appreciate it.
And yet another reason to like St. Pete: Where I come from, they woulda just towed the car.
So, now that I have a few hours distance, and can look back and even smile about it, I have a message for my landlady (who is a hot shit, by the way):
Payback's a bitch.