Tuesday, December 23, 2008

drama in the 'hood.

I was a victim of armed robbery tonight.

The more-than-good news: I'm fine.

The news-news: I went to the Northside Newsstands Festivus party tonight. I considered walking the four blocks from my house to the party, but decided that the sidewalks were too treacherous. I almost parked on a side street, but decided that it would be safer to park on College Avenue, a well traveled street. As I was walking toward the Jazz Kitchen two men walked toward me. Being ever so polite, I moved over and walked on the grass so they could pass. No dice. One man batted at my purse and the other showed me his gun. I very nicely handed over my bag. The part that really frosted me was that they both called me a bitch....really? You're taking all of my favorite things and calling me names. Whatever, asshats.

The I-know-I-am-loved-news: It took me a few minutes to walk/slide/freak-out my way to the Jazz Kitchen but I knew once I got there I'd be taken care of. I whispered the situation in to the ear of Frank, the doorman. You know how I hate to cause a scene...I'd debated whether to call 911 or the non-emergency number as I was walking, but Frank very rightly called 911. I stood in the lobby as I was waiting for the patrol car and made small talk with people passing by. The weather was awful and the police were super busy. The policewoman finally arrived and we realized that it was too loud to talk in the entryway. So I got to sit in the back of a squad car, in front of the Jazz Kitchen. By the time I got done giving my statement a crowd of friends had gathered on the deck waiting in the rain for me. It was like walking in to a big group hug. I just wish someone had gotten a photo of me getting out of the police car.

Dave Allee (owner of the Jazz Kitchen) let me use is office, phone and computer to call in credit cards and de-activate my phone (it was bad enough the jerks had my beloved iPhone, I'll be damned if I'll let them use it). Newsstand Joe sat with me while I made the calls, Tammy, Cara and Novella were there for hugs and support. Hostel John had my spare set of keys. Broad-shouldered Hugh drove me to get the keys, made sure no one was in my house and drove me back to my car. And Tammy and the twins were kind enough to let me sleep at their house.

[I wrote the above the night it happened]

Now that I've had time to sort it out, I realized that I'm just good old-fashioned pissed off. I'm mad for the neighborhood -- it was on College Avenue, between two of my favorite places - the Red Key and the Newsstand. I'm mad because I love to walk at night. I'm mad that they were black and that people ask and that I've had to say it a hundred times. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to be a young urban black man. I'm mad that people are giving me a hard time for walking alone at night (it was around 9:00). I'm mad that I've totally overeaten the last two days and feel like crap.

I'm mad that my camera is gone --I feel really naked without it. I'm mad that the notebook that I've kept notes for every show I've seen in for 2008 is gone. I'm mad that my press pass is gone. I'm mad that my Jesus key chain that was also a flashlight is gone (you never know when you'll need Jesus to light your way) and my Hatch Show Prints key chain is gone. I'm mad that all of my make-up is gone (not that I wear a lot, but it was all in there). Not to mention cash and credit and gift cards and other crap. I'm mad that I have to get another driver's license. I'm mad that my cash is gone. I'm mad that I'm achy and sore (between adrenaline and the one block walk of running/sliding to get help I really goofed up my neck and back). I'm mad that Christmas notes I'd written to friends are gone. I'm mad that I had to change my locks. I'm mad that I don't feel comfortable in my own house. And most of all, I'm mad that I'm mad.

But all in all, it's okay - I'm thankful that my dad could hand me cash and a credit card so I could replace the phone and have some walking around money. I'm thankful that I have such caring friends and family. I'm thankful that I have a warm and cozy and mostly safe neighborhood to live in. I'm thankful for living in a neighborhood that people know my name. I'm thankful to have a good job that I love.

But I'm still pissed. And a little afraid.

There were some funny moments. Me stepping out of the squad car in my sparkly skirt was one. Before the police arrived and the news spread Dave Allee came out and teasingly asked if I had any ID. I flipped him off, I don't know who was more shocked -- him or me. When I came back in from making the report Dave asked if I needed anything. I said: whiskey and a nice boy to make-out with by the dumpster later. All night, people who didn't know what happened were telling me how beautiful I looked - apparently I wear wide-eyed flushed-faced fear well.

For the record: the whiskey appeared, but alas, no boy.


terah said...

That would be scary! I'm glad you're okay!

Rachel said...

Oh Nora, just reading this I got all tensed up. This is awful, but I'm so glad they did not harm you. How very very scary!! With all the things you lost...well..I know that's enough to make you mad. Someone stole my billfold once and it only had $3 in it but the other things I lost was what was bad, a special poem, special pictures, and then the hassle of getting a new license and cancelling and getting new credit cards. What a pain.

How wonderful that your friends rallied around you. I hope you were able to have a good Christmas in spite of this.

Monica said...

OH my that is so scary!!! I am glad that you are ok, its just that its a pain in the butt more than anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UGH I am glad I live in New York where it is safe!!!(har har)

WYA! said...

Oh Nora, we feel so bad for you having to go through that. It's such a violation and to happen to someone who does so much for the neighborhood is just so wrong. The thing is, you seem like the kind of person who would have gladly helped the muggers/given them money, if they had just asked for help.

Kim said...

Oh honey, I am so sorry! That is the worst form of violation, to be assaulted in your neighborhood on your own turf. If you can't feel safe there, then what have you got? I feel sick for you. I hope you can replace the replaceables, and fondly remember the things you can't. Again, I am very sorry.

Stacy said...

So sorry to hear about the awful time you had. Hope things look up soon!

Chef Carl said...

I'm so glad you're O.K.

Jerry said...

I'm so sorry that you got robbed. But at least they didn't beat you up or worse.

I'm just glad you're alright. Big hug!!!

Granny Annie said...

Oh Nora, I'm so deeply sorry for this happening to you. Being held at gunpoint is a horrific experience. You ability to write about it is a good thing. I still want to suggest that you take at least one short session with a therapist. Others will soon forget that this happened to you, but you will carry it lifelong. Damn, damn, damn those thieves. It truly hurts my heart that they have chosen to violate such a warm, loving and giving person. Did I say damn? Damn!

Teresa said...

I am just reading this and so happy you are okay. I would totally think it would be safe to walk down College too.

And, this year lets hope the guy shows up carrying a whiskey for you!

IrishPoet said...

wow, that's awful getting mugged in your own 'hood...I've lived in the here for almost 20 years and never known anybody who was robbed at gunpoint! Glad you weren't hurt but it still sucks and is sure to make one think about being a bit more aware of who's coming down the sidewalk towards you...I know I'll be more careful...

Take good care of yourself and Merry Christmas, Nora!