Yesterday morning started out great. I got up earlier than my usual time, got some blog stuff done, shrugged off the fact that I didn't get any freelance work done, got ready for work, took some blog pics, packed a lunch, put my laptop in my bag to do some freelance work at lunch and headed down to the bus stop.
Then I got robbed.
(Well, I've been told that technically it's not robbery, since I wasn't assaulted or verbally threatened. But it sure felt just as traumatic as a proper "robbery.")
I was waiting for the bus, like I do every morning, on a fairly busy street at about five to eight a.m. My bag was heavy, thanks to my seven-year-old MacBook, so I put it on my feet, leaning up against my leg. Like I do many mornings. It was sitting just on my toes as I talked to my mom, like I do many mornings. And some asshole darted around the corner, snatched it and took off before I knew what had happened.
Other than my laptop, that bag also had my purse, wallet, Kindle, a few medications, cash, a pair of shoes, my lunch, and a lot of other miscellaneous things in it.
What followed next was like a scene from a movie. I immediately took off after the guy, screaming nonsense obscenities (sorry, Mom) and making mental notes of what I had seen of his face, what he was wearing, and what kind of car he jumped into. Long story short, between me and a Good Samaritan who stopped to help, we got a license plate number. (It turns out we were both off by one number, which makes it hard or impossible to collar the guy...I found this out when the cops actually spotted the car that matched my color/make description, but with a slightly different plate. He drove off before they could pull him over.)
Then all the annoying stuff happened. The adrenaline wore off and I had a panic attack in front of the cop who was taking down my report. Matt came home and got the landlord to change the locks (since my keys and ID with my address were in my purse) while I canceled or froze every credit card and bank account I have. I called my mom back and apologized for scaring her. (Apparently she had been screaming "Don't chase him! Don't chase him!" on the phone, but I hadn't heard.) I called my insurance to see if I'm covered (I am, after a $500 deductible) and went to the DMV to get a new license.
I still haven't heard back from the cops, so my hopes are pretty low. So now starts the arduous and painstaking process of replacing everything, except that which can't be replaced, like my pictures (including blog pics), half-completed freelance projects, music that wasn't backed up, notes on the notebooks I had in my purse, etc. Expect posts here to once again become sparse, since all my stored-up content is gone. As is my photo editing software.
I'm trying to stay positive, but negative thoughts keep creeping their way in. I can't stop obsessing over the "what if?" What if I had gotten up earlier and done enough work to not need my laptop at work that day? What if I hadn't finished my coffee at home and had some piping hot liquid to throw on him and maybe stop him? What if I'd just held the damn purse on my shoulder? What if I'd been standing further away from the corner of the building? What if another person had been waiting at the stop with me? What if?
Everyone keeps telling me to be thankful: Thank God he didn't hurt you. At least your phone wasn't in your purse. "Things" can be replaced. You got a plate number. But I can't stop thinking about is the stuff I lost that can't be replaced. The little coin with an inspirational quote on it that my mom gave me. The little purse-holder hook that Matt's grandma gave to me at the last Christmas I saw her before she died. All my work, my notes, all the little scraps of "don't forget this!" paper that I left in the bag. I'll probably never see any of that again, and it's driving me crazy.
And now the reality of it is setting in. I wasn't attacked, but I'm as fearful as if I had been. You play out all these scenarios in your head: What would I do if ____ happened to me? How would I defend or protect myself if I were attacked or my house were on fire? You fantasize about how brave you'd be, how hard you'd fight, all the while knowing that it will never happen to you. And then something like that does happen. And then you feel like any of it can happen. My anxiety is at levels that I haven't experienced since I was on medication in college. I had another panic attack within minutes of waking up this morning. I'm a mess.
And I just feel so helpless. I'm going through the motions--cancelling accounts, changing passwords, compiling lists for the insurance claim. But I feel like I'm adrift at sea and I'm completely clueless as to what I should actually be DOING. How I should be handling this.
I don't know if I'll keep riding the bus, or whether I'll keep using that stop. If I do, I'll certainly always have a can of mace in my hand in the fire-ready position. (You hear that asshole? Try me again, I'd freaking LOVE to mace your eyes.) Maybe I'll start driving myself and paying the exorbitant parking rates for downtown Columbus. I honestly am having trouble thinking that far ahead; for now, I'm carpooling with a coworker whose commute takes her past my neighborhood. And carrying mace everywhere I go.
I think more than anything, I'm mad that he took away my sense of security.