So last night around 11:30 pm I was in my living room dozing off to Blow-Up when right outside my door I start hearing a plaintive "Mooooommy! Mooooommy!" After about three or four times it switches to "Errrrrnie! Errrrrnie!" (Ernie is our building manager.) I'm now with it enough to realize it's probably one of my next door neighbors' boys. The ones I hate (the parents, that is, not so much the children).
So I go out like "sweetie, what's the matter?" (and by this time other neighbors are sticking their heads out too) and he comes rushing over bawling that he can't find his mommy or daddy. They are not inside the apartment. Kid (who is 5? maybe 6 by now?) has also woken up his younger brother as part of the panicking and younger brother comes stumbling out in a pull up (frankly he seems old for one of those at 4 or 5 but whatever, I don't have to wash the sheets).
It seems pretty obvious that mom just ran out to 7-11 or something and kid unexpectedly woke up, so I step inside their place and tell them, "I'm SURE they're coming right back, why don't you go find a book for us to read until they get here." Kid spends a few minutes bumbling around trying to find The Horse and his Boy so we can read it and now I am growing increasingly uncomfortable being inside someone else's residence alone with their basically naked children. Plus I'm in nothing but a pair of tiny little shorts and a tank top myself since I didn't stop to find clothes before figuring out why the kid was screaming in terror. But, I think, taking them to my place is probably a worse idea.
So I'm hovering by the door and both kids are kind of knocking around disorientedly when both parents show up again, having been down at their car doing something related to packing, or a bike rack, or I don't know. Both kids rush their mother and break into sobs. I'm trying to nonchalantly state "oh yeah, they woke up and were outside yelling for you—AND THEN THE SUPER—so I was just keeping them company until you got back." Dad is giving me an extremely hostile look. So now for some reason (perhaps related to these form fitting cotton shorts?) I am incredibly embarrassed and basically book it back to my place.
Within a few minutes mom is knocking on my door more or less frantically explaining how they are not neglectful parents blah blah blah. For the record, I really don't care; as a parent I'm well aware this kind of thing happens every once in a while and I wasn't judging in the slightest (about THAT). I was actually more concerned about them accusing me of saying or doing something inappropriate somehow. No doubt she was worried about ending up the subject of a Jezebel article in which her kids are taken away because an intrusive neighbor called CPS.
It's true these people bug the shit out of me because I think they're crap annoying parents for other well-documented reasons, but I've lived next door to them for well over a year, it just seems sad that everyone has to be that suspicious of one another when the whole point is to help keep a terrified kid from freaking out for 10 minutes.