Public Service Announcement.

For the past 24 hours, I’ve debated writing this post. Ultimately I decided to go ahead for a few reasons: it’s important to document things as they happen before you forget details, and also as a warning to people.

I’ll admit that despite my history, I am a rather naïve person. I like to believe the best about others. I’ve always maintained that I will not live my life in fear because it puts up barriers, and I am a selfish person, and barriers keep me from learning.

At nine thirty p.m., Jenn and I walked through the Macy’s parking lot at Fashion Faire Mall in Fresno. We had just spent three hours looking for suits—Jenn is on her way to New York, where she has appointments with National Geographic and Rolling Stone, for photo stories. Despite some shopping frustrations (the usual “this doesn’t fit!”) the evening was tinged with giddiness. I was (and of course still am!) so, so proud of Jenn. She’s only 23 but filled with determination and talent.

Anyway. The parking lot.

We were about twenty yards away from my truck when I heard someone sprinting behind me. I turned around quickly and before I had time to react, the man yelled “GIMME THAT” (Yeah, thanks for the warning dude) and grabbed at my purse. I have been in physical altercations before numerous times growing up and my body reverted into its usual position—I made my muscles tight and clutched my purse. The guy had the momentum of speed, so I didn’t have much of a chance. I felt my head hit the ground hard, but even then, I was still grabbing my purse. He was too, and my body followed my head, landing on the ground hard and fast. I don’t remember letting go, and my body got dragged and pummeled, but he ran away with my stupid purse.

It couldn't have lasted longer than ten seconds. All I remember next is Jenn sitting next to me and my voice yelling, “call the police”. Of course she was already on that task, looking for her phone.

Two women about our age came up to us from across the parking lot, and said they had seen the guy running, and he got into a silver car with other people, and they had taken off around the corner. They hadn’t been able to see the plates. I knew then that I would never see my stuff again.

I immediately felt for my own keys and cell phone, both of which were thankfully tucked into my pants pockets.

I could feel my head starting to swell already, and by the time the police arrived, I had a lump on the right side, above my ear, a bit larger than a golf ball. I was crying and shaking and I felt like the back of my entire left side was banged up.

I repeated the story over and over to police. To the ambulance. To the mall security. Jenn was talked to seperately and I learned later that only one of the cameras in that parking lot works, and that the mall security is “severely understaffed”.

Jenn and I had been sitting ducks. Two young women in a parking lot with our purses. Stupid. We might as well have sent a memo that pleaded for someone to mug us.

(So let's talk funny! The guy ended up with about five dollars worth of loose change, some Mary Kate and Ashley makeup, along with the requisite drivers licence, and my dayplanner. Since I am a notorious bargain shopper, he also ended up with yogurt coupon cards and consignment store punch cards. Hope he likes used clothing as much as I do.)

I wasn’t able to sleep much Tuesday night. Adam stayed over and continually brought me ice packs, which helped to numb my head and back for awhile. A few times I woke up to a spinning room. I would close my eyes and plan what needed to be done.

Yesterday Adam drove me to the bank, the social security office, urgent care, and the DMV. Apparently this sort of thing is not uncommon (no surprise), and is also on the rise (fantastic). The last time this happened at Fashion Fair was 4 months ago. And good luck seeing a doctor without your insurance card, which has also been ripped off.

This year has left me feeling so hopeless and defeated. Just when I don’t think things can get much worse, they DO get worse, and in unpredictable, flabbergasting ways.

I am ready for this year to end. I absolutely hate that this leaves me physically messed up—I’m having trouble just walking around at work—and my mind in even worse shape. I keep asking myself what I could have done differently so this might not have happened. I keep asking what I did to deserve this, because while I do believe that attack might have been fairly random, the plan for the universe is not random at all.

Did I not bake enough pies for people last week?
Did I forget someone’s birthday?
Did I hurt someone’s feelings?
Was I too proud or emboldened?
What did I take for granted?

Crimony, are my jokes not funny enough?!

I am not a victim, I swear. It just frustrates me to no end to feel so weak. This is a lesson and I will get something positive out of it.

In the meantime, I implore you to be careful. If you are out in the dark, get a police or security escort, even if you are in a public, well-lit area. It’s not enough to be with someone else. Let your friends and family know that they need to be aware of what and who is around them at all times.

Someone is always bigger, faster, more built, and more determined than you could ever hope or want to be.


The (Not So) Wise Owl said...

I think that shock and survival instincts just kick in at that moment. Even though it was just a "stupid purse" I think that the worst thing that he took from you was your sense of security and identity.
It is sad that this is on the rise, and incredibly scary. I know that you are strong, you have proved that time and time again over the past year, and I know that you posting this and you having to go through this crap will benefit someone else in some way that we may never know.

I am just thankful that the guy who did this to you didn't harm you anymore then he did. People have been killed or severely beaten for little more than a few dollars.

Also I hope that he gets good use out of your Mary Kate & Ashley makeup. Those girls are gems.
You are also welcome to use my Mary Kate and Ashley hairbrush that the Ashley has worn off of. It helps us keep things in perspective, like which twin is REALLY the best.

sarah marie p said...

OMG Aurora! That is the craziest, scariest thing! I am soooo sorry! Ugh. Freakin asshole -- he better enjoy that Mark Kate & Ashley makeup! He sooooo doesn't deserve it! Grrrrr.

I'm so sorry that happened to you. That must have been incredibly frightening. Ugh. Thanks so much for sharing -- I think sometimes people, including myself, forget that the world can be a really scary place and that you can never be too careful.

I am SO glad you weren't hurt more than you are. I'm glad Adam was taking care of you and I hope you feel better real soon.


Lava you!

*jimaie.marie* said...

omg!! that is ISANE! :(
freakin mall security is always jacking around playing on those stupid Segways they ride.
I can't belive someone would do something like this, i mean obviously i DO believe it but this is a sad (but good) reminder that the world really is a dangerous place.
I'm glad nothing worse happened to you ((hugs)) i hope you're feeling better <3

Elizabeth said...

Holy shit, Sister. I had no idea.

I forbid you to blame yourself in any way. This was a random act of fuckery.

I love you with the heat of a thousand burning suns focusing their energy to toast one perfect marshmallow. For you.

The next delicious karma pie has your name on it.


Lucky Pet Petsitting said...

Aurora, I'm so sorry this happened to you. You definitely don't deserve this.

If lessons really are a part of the universe, it might because you are so strong that you get the tougher lessons. It does seem unfair all the same.

I admire your strength and who you are, so don't let them beat you down!!!


Robert Schultz said...

What a horrible thing to have happen to you. Annette works at that Macys and takes the car herself a lot of times, so this worries me.

About the security staff being severely understaffed, I think they are giving you excuses for their lack of security. Macy's security actually has quotas each month to meet by catching EMPLOYEES stealing and they spend a good amount of their time walking around and watching them as opposed to the actual patrons. This leads me to believe their priorities are actually elsewhere than making sure you are safe.

Anyway, hope you're okay.

Laura said...

I love you.

Sherry! said...

sorry this happened to you :(
FF mall security sucks. when I was a small child, my dad and I were leaving the mall when my dad spotted a man driving by with his window down, no pants on, and holding his junk. dad threw my into the backseat of his car and told me NOT to look out the car windows or unlock the doors. dad then grabbed a mall security guard and had him call the police while he chased the perv down himself. he reached through the guy's open window and grabbed his long hair. the perv floored it and dragged dad through the parking lot and over speed bumps. i still remember him coming back to the car all bruised and bloody, and going to court to get the guy arrested for planned rape, and assaulting an off-duty officer. Fashion Fair isn't in the best part of town :/