Note: My comments seem to be semi broken, you can comment but only if you hit preview first… I think…
On Friday I went by the site of the mugging before I hit the SODS SOAP extravaganza (more on that in a minute). I wanted to go there to make sure it didn’t get forever imprinted as a mythical place of danger in my mind and I wasn’t scared to be at the scene though I did make Eric come with me just in case I freaked out. And of course, the Xanax never hurts. It was really much closer to the corner than I remembered (I know I had just passed the doorway of the building there because I remember wondering about the way they constructed the entryway). That close to the corner really puts it in a truly public place. There must have been people getting gas right across the street. Eric asked if there were as many cars that day and I said no, there had been even more. He was shocked by the publicness of the place, and so was I. I still am. You know to stay out of dark alleys and you know not to walk in desolate places when no one is around, but on a bright sunny corner at rush hour on a major traffic artery in the City? No one really thinks that’s where you’ll get mugged and have a knife to your throat. Or that when you do, that only 4 people will care enough to call or talk to the cops.
It serves to teach me that violence is truly random - in its location as well as its intensity. That no matter what you do, you can’t escape it by doing all the "right" things, reacting the "right" way, or being in the "right" places. There is only one way I can think of to avoid this, and it is by knowing as many people as possible. I am lucky because I have an unusually large network of friends and acquaintances. The more people I know, the fewer there will be who want to hurt me (assuming I’m not a violent asshole myself, of course). So we can make more friends, and we can be positive influences when we’re able, and maybe that way we can cut the number of reasonable people who get hurt. I’m afraid the violent assholes will be on their own. Hopefully not running in packs like rabid dogs.
No matter how much I hate the whole hippy, love everyone stuff, I stand by my previous beliefs that the way to fix this (and a lot of other problems) is stop being us against them, and start thinking of them as us. How else will you get them to understand your point of view? And why should they bother? How can you demand someone accept you and your needs and your beliefs if you don’t accept theirs? I’ll grant that this isn’t always easy, and sometimes it isn’t even possible, some people are just nuts.
Friday night, August 18th I met up with the Suspension of Disbelief Society (SODS) and all their friends at the Van Ness 1000 Movieplex. They had rented out a theater for the opening night of Snakes on a Plane. It included:
Printed boarding passes
2 full bars
1 beer station
Several hundred toy snakes in various sizes ranging from 3 inches to 6 feet
High volume whooping
It sure was fun. And even though I could barely hear the dialogue, I’d do it again in a second. And so would you, if you could.
I dreamt there was a traveling preacher in town having revival meetings. He’d set up in a big church. When you went up the front steps and opened the heavy church doors into what you’d expect to be the nave, there was instead a long winding pathway up a hill. The path was lined with steers and cows, that had been given as offerings to the preacher at his services. They were lying on their sides, backs to the path on either side, with their heads pointed uphill. Each was hogtied. Most were alive, you could see them breathing, and some would arch their heads back, reaching toward me as I walked hoping for a stroke on the neck, a pat on the shoulder, a scritch on the head. My companion, who was leading me, said to watch out, some might bite. I pet the neck of one and it arched back so we were nose to nose, me and the tied up cow. It was straining in fear to get out of its spot but unable to, it made a final desperate lunge toward my face to try and bite me and I leapt back out of the way. The last thing I remember was being face to face staring into the flared nostrils of the desperate and frightened animal.
I got my stitches out on Monday, later, at about 3pm I got incredibly irritable, anxious, buzzy. I picked up my prescription for Xanax after work and shoved one into my mouth. That stuff is sweet, sweet manna from heaven. Tuesday, same thing, 3pm and BZZT. Wednesday, what a surprise, same thing. I know it’s probably because of time proximity to the attack, but it doesn’t come with any conscious awareness. It is inside, a biological, animal reaction. Like peeing myself while it happened. I didn’t feel anything cut me, but I bet my body felt it. I do a little thank you song and dance to my body from my brain for keeping that little tidbit to itself during the event. Today I’ll just take some preemptive Xanax at 2:30 and cut the insanity off at the pass.
I wore the same sweater and socks today that I wore that day, and I put the new iPod in my bag. Sure I didn’t bring headphones or even charge it up or put any music on it, but I took it out of the house. I spent half of yesterday looking up biological response to stress in humans and other mammals because I want to observe whatever weird things I do, even if I can’t control them. The cut is healing fast and well, if I have a scar it won’t be one that anyone notices unless they’re looking for it. Soon I want someone to walk with me to the crime scene so I can look it over. A spot I have walked past countless times in the past. I can see it in my head now, and when I do it is a sunny walk home, an average day, a place as safe as any other sidewalk in the City. We’ll see if it seems so in person.
Every time you think you’re one up on the universe, you’re on top and living large, every time you think you know what you’re all about, the universe gotta throw one at you that you can’t get your head around so well.
Let me start by saying I am okay.
Wednesay evening on Franklin street as I walked home from work I was mugged for my iPod. At 5:20 pm (bright daylight, busy street, clear wide sidewalk), between Eddy and Turk (you might have parked near there to go to the movies, or the bookstore a couple blocks away, or stopped to get gas, and if you have you probably didn't think twice), a man approached me from behind and tapped my right shoulder. I assumed it must be a friend and as I turned to see who it was, he put his right arm around my neck and pressed his body against mine. I was terrified he might try to rape me, and started to scream in short bursts over and over.
He said, "Give me your iPod or I'll cut you." I hadn't seen any knife, so I thought he said this just to scare me, but I was already scared enough. He pushed me to my hands and knees, and I saw my headphones on the ground and thought my iPod must be on the ground too. He kept demanding the iPod anyway, and telling me to stop screaming. I didn't even try to stop screaming. I tried to scream directly at people in cars, in the four lanes of rush-hour traffic just a few feet away, but no one stopped.
Finally I realized my iPod was still in my pocket, and had to struggle to get it out since he had me pinned a bit. I threw it on the ground, and he grabbed it and jogged off. He didn't ask for my wallet or my bag, just the iPod. I got up and ran to the corner and saw him run down Turk to Van Ness and turn left.
I wasn't screaming anymore, but I had my arms out and was making freaky noises. I looked directly at a bicyclist hoping it would get him to stop, and a woman parked and ran down to us, and another guy came over from across the street. I called 911 and told them I'd been robbed. While I was on the phone, the bicyclist handed me his tshirt and told me to press it against my neck. I didn't know why until I touched my neck and saw blood on my fingers. When I told the 911 dispatcher that the mugger must have cut my neck, things got going a little faster.
The police came in about four or five minutes, and suddenly I desperately wanted to call a friend. I did that while the police took statements from witnesses. It was about this time I decided it was a good thing my jacket was still tied around my waist, because I realized I had peed myself a little bit. Awesome! The police said that this is an extremely common area for car break-ins, but not at all common for muggings. They said that my experience was unusually violent for an iPod theft. I told them the man had dark black skin, and I put him at about 5' 10", 150 lbs. He was behind me the whole time so I never saw his face.
The ambulance came about five minutes later and they made me get in and sit down. I had originally wanted to just walk home and then go to the hospital on my own. That was totally out of the question. Then I told them I just wanted to go to the ER by my house. They said they could do that, but highly recommended I go to the trauma unit at SF General just in case of any unknown internal bleeding. Apparently as a victim of a violent crime all medical bills from the event would be paid for. I decided I better just shut up and that this was not a normal everyday occurrence. They don't fuck around with knife wounds to the neck and you do not wait before being seen. I was given trauma patient name Oscar and rushed to the trauma unit.
The wound is shallow and not life threatening (the tetanus shot hurts a lot more than the cut), but it did require 13 stitches. I feel a little bit like Frankenstein. General consensus was that I was extremely lucky (the head ER doc said I was so lucky I should go buy a lottery ticket. I said no, actually, if I was lucky, I wouldn't have been knifed).
I was told at the hospital that there were 6 cars out looking for the guy. The police have called me three times so far to ask me for details and say they are trying to see if a witness can help them with a sketch. I have given them the serial number for my iPod, told them it is engraved on the back, and tried to answer their questions about what he was wearing. I got the impression at the scene that the police were seriously pissed off at the level of violence, and that this guy was not going to fare well if they caught up to him.
As a side note, I did not have white headphones, and with my hair being long and wearing a black sweater, and having the iPod in my pocket, it means he must have followed me for a block or more and seen me look at it before I'd put it away.
I do have some of the best pals a girl could have though, because it hadn't even been 24 hours before they took up a collection and hand delivered a new iPod to my door. FIve friends showed up at the hospital, and I'd only asked one of them to come.
I would ask that anyone who buys a used iPod try to get some kind of proof of ownership before they purchase it. It might seem like a great idea to buy a cheap iPod online, but try to remember, it might have come from someone like me.
Last night I dreamt that my boss’ business partner gave me a hand made reproduction of an ancient leather bound book as an Easter gift. It was bright red and contained a Gnostic text. With it was a diagram and quarter scale full color scans of the original book, which he’d copied. We were all to study this text. It was of great importance.
Every morning I walk over to 14th, up to Valencia, and go up to Market Street to dodge red-light-running bicyclists and lurching homeless drunks. Almost every day on Valencia between 14th and Market I see the Same Guy. At first I ignored this Guy as he hurried past, head down with his coffee. After a few days I started trying to smile and make eye contact. He never looked at me. Ever. Not once. I tried this on and off for a couple weeks. Nothin. He just did not look up. He carefully avoided my gaze. A couple of times during this period I even passed him on Franklin Street after work, both of us walking back home. He must live by my office and work by my house. It’s a little weird.
After my failed attempts at a smile and nod which I hoped might turn into some sort of regular greeting and friendliness, I gave up. At first I felt a bit weird and guilty and tried to occupy myself with my iPod when I saw him so he didn’t think I was avoiding him… But since he is obviously avoiding me, I now just stomp on past and ignore him right back.