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.