Monday, March 10, 2008

oh, that's happened to me before, no biggie

I became a statistic on Friday afternoon.

A smash and grab. It was only a matter of time – and it is with sadness I write this, because smashing and grabbing and raping and pillaging and robbing and mugging and hijacking is such a norm in our society – but yeah, it finally happened to me.

I work in town. It was on Friday afternoon, the most likely time for shit to go down as criminals need money for the weekend, etc.

It was actually a push-window-down and grab. Waiting at a robot on Rissik Street. My window is down two inches. The laptop is in the boot; the bag is under the seat. I'm aware that there are hundreds of people walking around me and I'm in back to back traffic.

Two guys sticking closely together walk up to me. I see them before they get to the window, and I know what's about to happen.

One thing for sure as no matter how many times you go through a scenario like this in your head, you cannot control how you're actually going to react in a real situation. I could've done up window properly, in those 2 seconds of time, but I didn't think of that. I don't know what I thought.

They came up, pushed it down. Then there were arms everywhere pushing me, smacking me, smacking my face, and fumbling for things. I was aware of everyone around me – in that they could see exactly what was going on, they knew, and they didn't - or simply don't – get involved. Why would they? These guys could blow their heads off.

But that troubled me. People were watching from their cars, and did shit. The arms were everywhere fumbling screaming at me to give them my phone and whatever else was on me. I screamed back, I screamed at the top of my lungs and I fought. They hit me, I hit them back. They yelled, I yelled. I told them to get away from me, stop touching me, fuck off, and they persisted. Then the one said, If you don't give us your stuff, I'll stab you until you die. Over and over again.

Again, there was a part of me that hesitated and thought, “But does he really have a knife on him?” Surely I would've seen it by now? I handed over my phone, and as I did that, the one grabbed the carkeys from the ignition. My car went dead, obviously, and I didn't think of this, but I suppose they either wanted my car, or they wanted to get into the boot. I believe they did it to piss me off even more and prove a point that they were the ones wearing the pants here. I was still screaming and pushing at them to get the fuck out of my space, my face, and stop fucking touching me.

Miraculously, they dropped my keys, after I gave them my phone, cigarettes and some loose change. They didn't find my bag, which I found odd. They took the stuff and ran. I restarted my car and drove like Richard Hammond to the Empire Road BP.

By now, I didn't know what to think or do. So, I burst into tears and continued to wail for a day. 24 hours of crying like a baby, mainly because I was SO PISSED OFF that they a) would kill me for a cellphone and b) they got into my space. They bombarded into my life and fucking traumatised me. I don't give a fuck about the phone, I give a fuck that they can do this and it's the fucking norm. And I cried because it could've been so much worse. They could've hurt me. They could've killed me. They could've raped me, they could've taken more things. The truth of the matter is I got off lightly. It was a best case scenario. But I almost feel guilty of that now.

I was and am, very angry. I couldn't remember any numbers. I was panicking properly, and in shock. I ran through the BP asking for a call box, no one could help and the one I found eventually wasn't working. But I couldn't remember my mother's cell phone number. Which is permanently ensconced to memory.

I drove on, still wailing, mascara fucking everywhere, and got to Rosebank Engen. I finally remembered her number. I left a message on my mum's phone at the call box, to ask her to cancel my sim card.

Then as I ran to my car, making a right spectacle of myself, a man called to me and asked if I was alright. He handed me his phone, helped me with numbers, helped me call MTN myself, calmed me down and basically fucking reached out. What a lifesaver. And Tremaine, if you're out there somewhere – hi, it's me. The shaking, crying Northern suburbs girl who clearly reacted like every other Northern suburbs girl out there. Thanks for helping me and taking the time to actually care and offer your phone to me when you could've turned a blind eye. People still care somehow. Which means I haven't lost complete faith in basic humanity.

So there you have it. I'm now part of the It's Happened To Me Club. It was only a matter of time. I don't want to drive into town now. I don't. I had faith in town, how I could walk around, be in a city, love it and build a community there. But I'm scared. I'm now one of those ultra-paranoid people, and I've never wanted to be one of those. I drove in convoy with friends the rest of the weekend.

However, I was terrified driving back into town this morning. Terrified and ready to kill if anyone came near me. The arrogance of these tsotsis fucking pisses me off beyond all hope. However. Fuck them! I will NOT stop going to my city, and I will NOT compromise on my independence or driving because crime dictates I must. I will never live in a boomed off area, and I will try and get over my fear. It'll take time, because now I'm jaded. I will also keep R100 in the car with me from now on – to give to these guys, because believe you me, I will have NOTHING in the car with me from now on. Boot or bust.

So I'll have something to give them, cold hard cash – that I fucking WORKED FOR AND EARNED AND I EARNED IT FUCKING HONESTLY AND WITH HARD WORK -and maybe then they won't smack my face or threaten to kill me.


MamaMeeA said...

Hey Peas. I'm sorry shit happened to you. I think it's good you're capable of getting angry about it. I had a similar experience a few years ago (, and didn't realise it at the time, but it was my rage that helped me pull through.

3rm said...

hang in there punk ass. it fades over time. besides, creatives like you can't stay negative for very long. you'll be back to your chipper self by weeks end.

sunrise said...

Mugged twice, hi-jacked once...quite a statistic I make. Although evey morning at 5am I go Surfing, and have to drive through Warick Junction (DBN's most hectic area), and its so peacfull, only when all the taxi's/hawkers/fuck-up's etc pull in, does it get all wierd and scary. I think a dense amount of humanity in one area, a good dose of desperation can lead people to do terrible things. I have hope though (I think)! S.

boldly benny said...

Hey Peas, I'm sorry it had to happen to you darling. I too got angry when it happened to me, luckily my screaming and cursing scared the guys off but it was horrible. A suggestion - use it, don't use it - consider getting your windows coated with the smash and grab film. I feel like I'm travelling with burglar bars on my car now.
Well done you, I think you handled a horrific situation with great strength and I hope you have a great week.

Nessers said...

So glad you are all right and good for you for driving back to town with the attitude you did - you are braver than you think... tight hugs young Peas

Louise said...

I'm a student at UCT. Over the last few weeks, two of my friends were mugged (not to mention everything that happened last year). One was standing in a friend's driveway when a car pulled up and two guys shoved a gun and a knife in her face. Two weeks ago, my laptop was stolen out of my bag, which was sitting at my feet, while I was eating. I didn't notice a thing. I'm lucky that nobody waved a gun at me and it pisses me off even more that I'm supposed to be grateful for that. I'm scared that one day something terrible is going to happen to me or someone I love and I've never been afraid before. I don't know if I want to live here anymore and it makes me angry that someone else can make me feel that way.

I'm fucking FURIOUS.

Good on you for giving them hell.

Peas on Toast said...

Mama - yeah I definitely feel a large amount of rage, so I'll pop through and see what you went through as well, thanks so much!

3RM - You've been the best my friend, thanks so much. Yeah, I'm a resilient bitch, I'll get through it :)

Sunrise - Fuck, that's a lot of crime to process there. One thing I've learnt, there's still humanity in this world and there's still depseration, poverty and some serious cold-hearted shit that happens too. We can't box it into one category, which is what I want to do, but will try not to :)

Benny - so the screaming made them ran? Fuck, I think mine just egged them on! And yes, I'm gonna have to consider some tainted window stuff for my car. It's porno as hell, and I'll look like a fucken gangster, but you're right - it could save my life! Thanks dude xx

Peas on Toast said...

Nessers - thanks doll. Yeah driving into this place again takes some nerves, but I'll bloody well do it no matter what. Thanks babe. xx

Louise - fuck. I get so angry when I hear this - their arrogance and cold-heartedness is what makes me want to fucking kill them right back. You're definitely a survivor in my books. But again, I now just feel so...normal...and incredibly lucky. Because it could've been SO much worse.

SilverSabre said...

Have you noticed how these cowards target women. I know its the norm but dammit they need their balls ripped off.

I used to have a knuckle-duster in the car when i was in the free state. I'm thinking of keeping a knife in my car now. They can have my cellphone but I will leave them with a few reminders that they met me.

Sterkte peas. The bastards can take your stuff, but they can only take your courage if you let them.

Fuck them. You're too awesome to let this get you down.

KaB said...

You are lucky & have a right to be pissed off to high hell! God forbid the next person who tries that (hope it never happens again to you) because they will feel your wrath!

I became a statistic in 2003...two okes (drunk kids really) were in my room while my mate & I were sleeping...fuckers stole bags, CDs, clothes, wallets etc! I woke up to the one literally hands in my bag, staring at me...was the scariest thing reaction was to chase the fucker down...I was within inches when he scaled the balcony & fell a few metres down the river embankment...we heard bones crack that night! I've never been so angry in my life...esp because it's your stuff, your space & your's treated like nothing! Bunch of bollocks if you ask me! We need Death penalities & a better judicial system to conquer this mother fucker!

And thank god someone had the decency to help you out...I can't believe people's sick how unattached they can become!

Hang in there...the paranoia will become easier to handle & life will go on!

Peas on Toast said...

Silver - yeah I thought about honestly getting a gun over the weekend. The scary thing is, I'd probably use it and blow their frigging brains out at close range. Also, like the "I should've done my window up" scenario, I would probably forget I had the gun in the first place.

Kab - fuck. And when they take ALL your stuff, that you've aid for, worked hard for and hasn't just been dished out to you, you feel a serious kind of uncontrollable rage. I've had shit stolen too - lots of it, and I think "they got it so easily. I had to fucking work for it." It sucks, and you're right I will feel paranoid for a while - and that's the worst part, just feeling abnormally unsafe for a while. But I'll keep on pushing forward.

Thanks guys xxxxx

Anonymous said...

Peas, get some mace and keep a "fake" bag in your car too.. so if the fuckers try it again.. make them pay.. maybe a little BB gun to shoot them in the eye. I've had hit the accelerator and caused a traffic accident, then maybe someone would have helped.

Then again, i live in london and don't have to deal with SA issues... only the 15 year old chav kids who beat my friends to an unrecognisable pulp.

i suppose no matter where in the world you are, theres always going to be problems.

sunrise said...

That fake bag idea is great, then you wont have to keep a R100, just stuff it with your trash, ha ha, they will run the designated block away open it up, to find you rubbish!! Classic.

Peas on Toast said...

Anon - for sure. Chavs are just as fearless and brutal, not to mention fucking rude. :) I thought of mace, but I'm not sure if it would be any good if I forgot it was there, in my panic, you know what I mean? Also, would I have time to get it out?

Sunrise - I love the fake bag idea. And the R100 in the fake bag idea. You're definitely onto something!

The Divine Miss M said...

Ah hon that is horrible :( I'm so sorry to hear that happened to you!

It isn't about the money it is about getting into your space and taking away your power - that is what makes you feel the worst.

Violation. Meh.

*big hugs*

Please don't let them get the best of you and please try and continue your life like normal :(

DT said...

It is just unacceptable. It is the arrogance that gets to me – broad daylight, plenty of witnesses and you just going about doing your thing. Finishing a week of hard work to pay for your cell phone, your car and then all of a sudden you have no rights. All the mental preparation in the world doesn’t prepare us for such a feeling of defencelessness. I am sorry Peas I know your anger all too well!

Peas on Toast said...

Miss M - that's exactly it! Thanks for helping me to find words for it - it's the fact that they hold the key to my power, and they can at one moment take it all away from me. Spot on. Thanks babe xxx

DT - You're so right. We can go through these scenarios (and much worse one's too) in our heads 100 times and "prepare" what we would do, but it doesn't work when you're face to face with their death threats. Makes me so angry!

The Divine Miss M said...

Pleasure hon, I just hope you feel better soon.

*big hugs*

Champagne Heathen said...

So would you join in the Million-South Africans March against Crime? (Whenever and wherever it exactly is???!)

Do you think it would make a difference? If even to release the anger/ sadness you might feel after this kak incident.

And, I'm sorry to hear about this! Hope you start doing better soon!

Peas on Toast said...

Champers - I probably would, if it means it would actually do something. Thanks dude.

Anonymous said...

damn, sorry. what will it take? how can a bunch of criminals and taxi drivers make everyone else'e life hell in this country? i live in CPT now but also lived for 5 years in jozi. loved it until i was highjacked and it made me fearful of even going to the toilet to take a shit. i left the next week. my life is worth more than jozi, sorry...

Peas on Toast said...

Anon and it made me fearful of even going to the toilet to take a shit.

Sorry, but that's pretty amusing. In fact, it's just made my day. But on a serious note - yip, it often takes an incident like this to make one reckon: fuck this, I'm moving to Oklahoma or wherever. I just drove home now and almost shat myself too.
I never pooh, but I came pretty darn close just now.

Anonymous said...

Hello Peas
I wonder if you could do me a favour. I'm a friend of your Mom's and I lost her number a while ago. I don't expect you to give her number out over this (she told me this was your blog by the way, very impressive, sorry about the smash and grab), but could you give her my number. It's 0044 07518804589. I used to live in Howick. Our dogs used to regularly try to kill each other through the fence.

Shaheen said...

Sorry to hear about that. On a bright note, what comes around goes around. For instance, the people most likely to get burgled are burglars. They're usually out at night, got stuff you can sell easily and hang around with other criminal types...

Anonymous said...

Can't believe that shit happened to you, so sorry to hear that. Fuck that shit man, u shoulda stabbed them ;)

Peas on Toast said...

Anon (1): Howzit! I will definitely pass the message on, and hope all is well! x

Shaheen - thanks man . So burglars are just playing this kiff little hot potato game of see-where-the-stolen-shit ends up! ;)

Anon2 - thanks, yeah it's shit and I'm gonna feel on a edge a little I guess. :(

Dimitri said...

You're right not to want to let these people stop you from living your normal life, like going into town, doing your thing, being free. But then you say you will carry a hundred of your hard-earned rands to "pay" them for their efforts the next time this happens. Where is the freedom? Decent citizens held captive by the few. Its a shame this goes on in such a great country, but if this is happening to everybody, all of the time, is it still the great country everybody claims it to be? Glad you're ok. SA must sort itself out. Fast.

Alya said...

I'm so sorry u had to go thru that. Dont worry, karma is a badass avenger, and she'll get them one day!

its funny how just yesterday, my dad was telling us about a mugging/rape that took place in broad daylight, and all the bystanders just stood there watching not doing anything! I know everyone fears for their life, but come on! Its almost barbaric to watch something like that and NOT do anything!

acidicice said...

I'm really sorry to hear about the drama. I'm really glad that you're OK. You're right about all your feelings on this. I'm paranoid too, my husband doesn't understand that he can't leave me sitting in the car with the keys in the ignition and the window down. He doesn't get why I'm so scared.

Good luck with the emotional recovery. I hope that this doesn't happen to you again.

Peas on Toast said...

Thanks guys xx

Anonymous said...

holy shit... glad you're ok. had someone break into my house once. while i was there. couldn't answer the door for 3 months without a panic attack (freaked out a bunch of girl scouts once by yelling "WHAAAAAT????" when i answered the door after that...)

suppose SA doesn't have 'concealed carry' gun laws. seems to me that arming the citizenry may be a good step (and i'm not a fan of guns, but it sounds like crime is ridiculous there...)