This one time I got mugged, because I’ve been mugged several times growing up and living in New York City, it happened in June 2003. It was the week before I was taken into sequester by CBS. I’d be going into the Big Brother house shortly there after.
I’d left work for the day and it was already dark out, and I’d picked up some pizza at the end of my usual twenty-block walk home. I’d been living on the Upper East Side for two months at the time. And I’d been living alone, for the first time in eight years, after back-to-back live-in relationships. It was about to be a single summer in New York City and living alone again sucked, more than it didn’t suck.
But it meant being able to sit on my sofa scarfing down oily pepperoni and cheese and looking like shit all I wanted, behind closed doors. And that was my plan that night. But I never got to eat my fucking pizza, because I got mugged.
So I’d already crossed the street in the direction of my apartment building before I actually saw my muggers for the first time walking behind me. They were two little punk Hispanic guys, and they were walking way too slow to be going anywhere good. But not wanting to be a paranoid pussy, I’d walked on and up the steps of my building and gotten my keys out. The two guys then caught up, walking up the steps right behind me. I knew they didn’t live in my building.
And so we all three stood on the platform at the top of the front steps, the platform separating me from a rock and a sidewalk. I’d thought about running back down the stairs and away from them, but I didn’t want my anxieties to be taken as racism. So I’d turned to both of them with my keys still in my hand and simply asked, “Hey, who are you guys here to see?”
They’d replied they were there to see a friend, Michael, and pressed a button on the intercom. So I’d stuck my key into the door letting myself in, and let them in behind me. And there I was walking up the stairs ahead of two very shady guys. My gut was burning but I just didn’t know what to do. They hadn’t technically “done” anything to me and so it’s not like I could start hollering like a maniac, and face social ostracism on the Upper East Side if I was wrong about everything.
So I’d continued walking up the stairs past the second floor and third on the way to the fourth, with the two guys behind me the whole time. There were only two apartments on each floor and there was me and some dude, not named Michael, occupying the sixth floor. And I knew, as we approached the fifth floor, that I was in trouble if these guys didn’t turn down the hall.
When we got to the landing and they didn’t turn, I knew there was no way I was taking them up to the top floor where my apartment was. God knows I’d remained too cool about the warning signs up until that point. So I’d whipped around and faced them. In that moment they were so shocked that one of the guys pushed the other one into me and I felt my purse yanked off my shoulder.
I don’t remember at what point exactly I started screaming like a hysterical mental patient but I do remember hooking my elbow last minute to catch the leather strap and then having tug-of-warred for my purse. And then I threw the pizza box at them and there was pizza everywhere.
I got clotheslined into a wall for this, and nearly blacked out. The two guys threw themselves down the stairs taking my purse with them. I ran down after them still crying blood-curdling, “Stop motherfuckers!” None of my neighbors opened a door to help me. I’d hated that building anyway.
When I reached the first floor, right at the end of the long hallway to the streets, the guys were halfway to the door. I remember being impressed at how fast I’d flown down five flights of stairs. But when the two fuckheads reached the door, they got stuck because there was a trick to the handle they didn’t know about. I’d hurled myself down that hall and all of a sudden I was again face-to-face with my muggers. Chaos.
They’d never pulled out any weapons. So I punched the one holding my purse, in the neck. Chaos again.
Before I knew it my head was slammed into yet another wall and the guys ran out into the sidewalk. At that point I had no control over my adrenaline gushing body and I again ran after them spinning head and all. We ran down 66th Street, across First Avenue zig-zagging through oncoming traffic like we were filming t.v. drama. I was still screeching at the top of My Korean lungs.
And just when I thought I was going to collapse, guys came running out of O’Flanagan’s bar and tackled the two motherfuckers who’d mugged me. I literally melted into the sidewalk, and I cried until there was no air left in my body. The police took my muggers away and in a matter of two weeks I was called to court, where I testified and pointed fingers and held up the pair of two and a half inch heeled sling-backs I’d been wearing during the entire seven minute incident “on the night in question”. My lawyer had told me to do this, for emphasis. I thanked him that day after we’d won and the little fuckers had been put away. I was able to thank the detectives that helped me as well, and I even met up with them again after I won Big Brother months later and had some good laughs.
But I’ve always regretted not being able to properly thank each and every knight in shining armor who put their beers down to run outside and save my night.
So, thank you. All these years later, I’m happy I can blog this thank you.