My mother’s worst nightmares are coming true…. this morning I got mugged shortly after walking out of my flat in London. I reassured her by saying, “better he took my purse than me.” (Referencing the movie “Taken”, which she made me watch before moving to Europe). I’d say it’s a valid point.
I had a strap around my body, so he couldn’t actually take my purse as easy as he’d have probably hoped. I screamed louder than I ever have in my life and tried to get away. He punched me in the stomach. I couldn’t breath and fell down to the ground. He ran away with my purse. Thief 1, Erica 0.
I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve actually had a blank mind for any period of time in my life. Immediately after all this happened was one of these times. I was strangely enough just sitting there calmly on the ground and when I regained the ability to think I couldn’t even really remember anything about what just happened. I honestly don’t even remember what color shirt the guy had on. I just got out my phone (which was luckily in my coat pocket w/my flat keys) & called my bank (which I conveniently had in speed dial because part of me is my mother).
Yes, there’s the pain in the ass of getting a new passport in a week before heading back to SF (I had it with me to open up a bank account here). Also, I’d have much rather have gotten mugged after actually having a financial institution in the country I call home. But really, things aren’t so bad. I feel more angry than I do scared, and when I trace over the bruises I obtained I think more about the notebook I had in my bag than I do about the money.
Since I was little I’ve always been very fond of writing down my secrets into notebooks in the form of poems, doodles & taped photos I cut out of random magazines. This particular notebook had documented a lot of things… my decision to leave California, a short but intense relationship, a game design for a musical app I’m obsessed with making one day for children, a list of places I wanted to go in London/Europe, thoughts I had as I packed away my life into cardboard boxes, a letter I wrote to someone & never gave them because I don’t own stamps and my first few days after getting over to the UK. It documented only a few months, but they have been some of the most important and life altering.
It is strange to think that the person who did this horrible thing to me could have this very personal and introspective look into my heart.
Someone in my family said to my mom, “boy, Erica sure is unlucky,” after hearing about this, but really I couldn’t feel more lucky. I’ve gotten to live in so many amazing cities, I’ve gotten to travel so many places, I’ve had amazing jobs, I’ve met amazing people and I’ve always chosen the adventure. I am proud that I can make scary decisions and still believe in my choices when stuff isn’t going the way one might call perfect. Life isn’t perfect. It’s messy and confusing, but that’s what makes it worth living. The situations that shake us up are often the things that make us contemplate what really matters. Scariness is a breeding ground for creativity.
Though part of me feels violated, it’s also sort of lovely to have had to let go of all of those very personal thoughts and know that they are somewhere in the world. When it comes down to it, I’m not left w/anything less than I had before. In fact, I’m left with a lot more. I had an outpouring of lovely notes and calls from so many people today. I reconnected with some people I hadn’t spoken to in years who saw my Facebook post and wanted to check in. I felt supported and knew that the world was really full of more love than evil. Some people never feel like that, let alone after a really scary situation. I feel so sad for someone who feels no guilt about scaring the living crap out of another human being. It’s incredibly depressing that this is their experience of life.
In conclusion, Erica 100, Thief -3.
Also, for entertainment’s sake, an inventory of everything I remember in my purse beyond my wallet/ID/notebook: a headlamp, a rubber bouncy ball, my Kindle Paperwhite loaded with a mixture of business (enjoy Lean In), spiritual and books about the history of video games, about ten tubes of various forms of chapstick, a Bristol visitor’s guide, a pack of bobby pins, ear plugs, pepper spray (would have been more useful in my hand), a list of geocache coordinates in Shoreditch, a heart shaped rock, packs of Moshi Monster stickers/cards, a pink heart headphone splitter, a copy of Mario Kart for the 3DS I had just bought to replace my last missing copy & two Lego spacemen. I don’t know if I really should have admitted any of that.