How are you? We met about a week ago, on a Monday evening. You know where.
You were the one that was hit by a car and then heckled by the next car that came by.
On paper, that sounds serious.
However, one thing you did not know about me is that I am from a family of actors and am well-trained in the art of performance. My critique? Your performance, and the performance of the people in the car, was mediocre, sub-par at best. When people get hit by cars, they don’t make a cartoony “shock face” like you did when you kicked your back heel at that car’s tire. The limp? Fake. The heckling felt inauthentic also and gave me a clue that this was a group effort. My review? I ignored you and the car and keep walking briskly. I would also suggest some workshopping of the routine. Maybe you would have a breakthrough there and get to heart of the piece.
Then, you began to trail me, talking loudly about how you had been hit. What you said was unimportant. What I noticed was the adrenalizing upshift in your voice. You were gearing up to do something. I have been mugged before, after all.
When you caught up with me, put hands on me, and knocked me to the ground, your “injury” miraculously cured, you said two things of note “You were the reason I got hit” and “Now you are going to give me what I want”.
No. Wrong. On both counts.
Another thing you did not know about me is that I used to scream in noise bands. As I screamed a string of curse-word-laden sentences briefly, loudly and with vehemence, my “NO” drawing attention you did not want, it cowed you enough for me to turn around and keep walking briskly away. Your folks in the car then heckled me, saying “aww… you’ll be okay!”
When it felt safe to turn around, you and they were gone.
When I was quite a ways away, I realized you had taken my phone.
I hope you enjoyed using the “emergency call” function for the few hours before the phone was turned into an unusable brick.
But back to your “tackle”… did you play ball? People who can take down six foot five, three hundred pound people while snatching their phones have a skill set. When we briefly made eye contact after the take-down, I caught a bit of triumph on your face, like one might have after executing a good play on the field.
Since this happened, I have been asked multiple times if I am moving out of Baltimore City. No, I am not. I don’t make light of this, what you did, and far worse crimes are being committed here and elsewhere. But crime happens everywhere. I am from a neighborhood where people who, faced with a particular set of circumstances, went your way. I went my way then, I go my way now, and I am resolved in the path I have chosen. I have lived my whole life in this city and you can’t, via your criminal actions, scare me into leaving.
But please know…you don’t have to live your life this way. I know October 1st was the beginning of a new level of difficulty for many people. But housin’ people on the street for their “cheapest in the store” smartphones? Sure, the phone was maybe the beginning of a larger plan by you and yours. All the “snares” set up to get me to stop, react, fight back… I ignored them all. And I will never know what would have happened if I did any of those things.
But I do know this: I wasn’t the reason you got hit and I didn’t give you what you wanted. Maybe think twice next time you think about putting hands on someone?