had to happen sooner or later. was mugged tonight on the subway and had my phone literally snatched right from my hands. that was awful, being pushed to the floor for trying to protect what was mine was awful, and being laughed at by strangers for shouting and running down the long subway platform was probably the worst of all.
that said, what was wonderful was the former firefighter leaving the station who, when i told him what had happened, immediately asked if i could hold his bag. he didn’t give me an opportunity to answer before he dropped it beside me, leapt up the stairs and then ran three blocks chasing the bus that the thieving asshole escaped in. he knew this because a huddle of latina women shouted at said thieving asshole as he bounded toward the bus and pointed the firefighter in the right direction. what was also wonderful was that, as i was walking—and sobbing—in an awful part of town with a stranger’s bag and absolutely no idea where to go or where the guy went, two other elderly men approached me. when i told them what had happened, they immediately called the police. a few minutes later, the firefighter returned—sans phone and breath—and waited with me along with the others. new york cops are assholes, he said, and i’m not going to have them be condescending to you. the elderly men nodded as if from experience, and said that they were going to stay because they knew the neighborhood and suspected that i’d be better off if they stuck around.
the cops came, and they weren’t assholes. i filed the police report, and while waiting one of them let me borrow their phone to tell my friends that surprise, i’d been mugged and wouldn’t be making it out tonight. meanwhile, the firefighter kept me calm by asking me what i thought about crimea. after the paperwork had been filled out, the cops bought me a cup of coffee and drove me right back to my doorstep.
so yeah, one expensive piece of metal lost to one opportunistic asshole. i’m not exactly a forbidding figure. and i’m sure that yeah, maybe, that’s one reason why others were so quick to help. i’m fortunate to be in a position where that loss won’t bring me to my knees financially, and i can’t really imagine the circumstances in which said opportunistic asshole must find himself so that plucking property from others’ hands might seem morally defensible. so in that respect, i’m quite lucky. but i’m actually lying in bed now somewhat at ease—even encouraged—with what i saw this evening. one generally shitty act followed by several expressions of genuine kindness and concern. that’s what i’m trying to take away from this awful, awful day.