The Shawshank Redemption: Nursing Home Edition

If you need a long-term panic attack, I highly suggest living beside a nursing home.

In my case, the situation is comparable to a cute young couple who find out 10 minutes into a horror movie that their surprisingly cheap new home is possessed with ancient demons.

Naively, I couldn’t believe it when I found an awesome deal on a two bedroom, two bath, newly renovated apartment. The house was adorable and homey, plus it was also in a great neighborhood located only a mile away from the beach.

Meanwhile, my landlord forgot to mention that my room also included a birds-eye view of the man who tries to escape from the clutches a of nursing home worker every day.


Welcome to the neighborhood, 12 to 17 panic attacks per month.

When I moved in, “excited” doesn’t even begin to explain how pumped I was about leaving my old house and getting away from my desperate 49-year-old roommate and his Cheweenie dog.

Yes, you heard that right. After I launched a Google investigation a few weeks following my move-in, I found out my supposed 36-year-old self-proclaimed young bachelor of a roommate, was really older than my dad.


Also, for those of you wondering what a Cheeweenie dog is, it is basically a hybrid of Wiener dog and Chihuahua, mixed with Gary Busey.

The welcome mat placed under our front door, read “Meerkat Crossing,” and invited visitors into our home with this dog’s face printed on it.

Oh, and he was also wearing a Santa Claus suit.


Realistically, we didn’t even need the mat to warn people that Norma and Norman Bates lived with us. John* and Meerkat had a very codependent relationship, so whenever Meerkat heard someone coming to the door, he let out a series of snarls and vicious Rottweiler barks, which I guess were meant to protect his “Mother,” aka my fully grown male roommate.

Meerkat was quite possibly the biggest asshole I’ve ever met, and that’s saying a lot, considering that I’ve been sexually harassed by one of my old bosses before.

This weiner dog had some kind of sick vendetta against me for no reason at all. When I’d get home from work, I’d find him in my room, rolling around on my brand new white rug, with a gleeful look of hatred in his eyes.

Like a mother with a spoiled brat of a child, John always encouraged Meerkat’s disgraceful behavior.

Awwww… Look how cute he is!” he’d say in his Big Bird voice as Meerkat rubbed his ass all over my rug. “He just loves that rug!” he’d laugh from my door, watching his child destroy my things with loving eyes.

There’s so many directions I can go with living here for a few months, but I’ll save that for a different day.

Halloween will probably be an appropriate time to tell everyone the story about when John dressed up for this upcoming holiday, and went out to the bars as a “Cereal Monogamist.”

And yes, I mean cereal, as in the cereal that you eat.

Needless to say, I was definitely thrilled to leave those two behind and start a life of relaxation in my new place.

As if.

About a month after my move, I started noticing this ear piercing electronic sound wave, which I thought was the UPS truck until a few weeks ago.

I was walking down to my car, when my neighbor pointed towards an old man, exiting the nursing home from a back door.

“There he goes again!” he heartedly chuckled like jolly old Saint Nick.

“Excuse me?” I replied, being totally clueless.

“The old man that tries to escape the nursing home every day. He’s right there! That noise is the alarm that he sets off when he exits the backdoor. See, that lady chasing him? She’s gonna wrestle him back in. Oh… oh… HA! She’s got him!” he announced like a Monday night football commentator.

“Dear God. I thought that was the UPS truck backing up every day,” I said, as my brain turned into a pile of mush and my existence slowly faded to black.

So young. So innocent.

I watched as an enraged nurse chased after him, grabbed his arm, and pulled him back into the building, as he made a facial expression that screamed, “Help me, you dumb bitch!”


The. Fuck.

Just. Happened?

“Yeah, he does it all day long. Any time you hear that sound, that’s him trying to escape,” he turned and walked towards one of his barefoot Children of the Corn.

Those kids are always screaming underneath my window in the alley like their damn heads are on fire.

I got into my car and thought about life and death immediately.

I am even going to live to the age where I want to bolt out of my nursing home and be free? Will my friends and family visit me? Will I die before my future husband?

What about that guy that sits out front every day with no legs? Will I have legs? What would life be like if I couldn’t walk?

Am I supposed to be starting a family right now, so that I will have someone to take care of me when I’m old? Will my future kids like me? What if I don’t have kids? When should I decide if I want kids? 

I spun myself into a web of despair and anxiety as I drove my Mini Cooper to my friend’s house to layout at the pool.

Is my body going to turn into a pile of mush and saggy skin? Or will I be one of those fit old ladies? What about Kris Jenner? Can I look like that? How much money per month should I start saving towards plastic surgery? 

I was lost in my vortex of a brain all day and couldn’t concentrate on anything other than this old man running away from being locked in a nursing home.

After I witnessed the Shawshank Redemption that was happening outside my back door, I believed that was the worst of it.

I was wrong.

It keeps happening day in and day out. A constant reminder that death and old age are only two steps away.

But damn, my rent is reasonable for Orange County.

I guess it’s worth a few panic attacks per month?