Last week, someone slipped my wallet out of my bag while I was reading in a midtown Starbucks. They went from Fifth Avenue aaaaaaall the way up to Harlem before spending over $2000 of my dollars at Marshall’s, Old Navy, Modell’s, Target, and an Oklahoma City Herz Rent-A-Car. So … that sucked. But the New York madness didn’t end there. At 6:45 this morning I was leaning against a wall just outside of my gated apartment building, shuffling through my bag to make sure I didn’t forget my Metrocard upstairs. When I looked up, I realized that I had been cornered by a seemingly homeless man. He smelled homeless, looked kind of homeless, was gauzy and pale, and stared me down with dead brown eyes as he asked if I believe in abortion. I looked him up and down in an effort to detect any not-so-well-concealed weapons before replying “I don’t know.” He proceeded to tell me, in his trance-y monotone, that I shouldn’t believe in abortion, that this is the first city destroyed in the Bible, and that he is the king of all kings.
And that’s how I started my week day.
I walked to the subway and finally had occasion to realize that the lady who shoves Metros in my face every day is actually nicer when I frown at her. Because when I smile and/or say, “No, thank you,” she is unpleasant, if not contemptuous. So I think that the next time I’m having a less-than-desirable New York morning, I’ll tell her to go fuck herself. Maybe she’ll give me a cupcake or something. Anyway, what I’ve learned from all of this – from playing the sucker in a grand larceny, from fearing layoff and foreclosure (have I mentioned that the economy is getting me down?), from confronting threats to my personal safety so close to home, from having the satin walls of my pampered existence demolished and desecrated – is that these things really can happen to you.
So no, this isn’t Shenzhen or Tijuana, but it’s not Boston either. So zip up your bags, watch the debt, and carry some pepper spray (or, actually, if you put one of those old-fashioned, metal can openers on your keychain, you will easily and quickly be able to inflict grave bodily harm without incurring liability for assault and/or battery with a weapon. Oh, and maybe make that mutt a Doberman/Pit Bull/German Shepard/Rottweiler mix. Good day and Godspeed.