On Christmas Eve, I interviewed my mother and sister about the traumatic experience of having pyscho neighbors while we were growing up.
Which went well, though there is a lot more to ask about.
But my mother reminded me of the times when she was mugged, which I had completely forgotten about given the bigger picture. We were terrorized daily, so what's a little urban mugging?
Once, Mom was walking home from the grocery store across the ball park on the night before Thanksgiving. Just as she noticed the streetlight overhead was out and that it was really, really dark, she heard someone run up behind her. "Maybe it's a jogger," she thought, wishful-thinking the obvious away.
Wishing didn't work and a man grabbed her purse and kept running. She held tight, was pulled down, and found herself dragged along as she fought to hold onto the bag.
"I am getting scraped up for $5," she thought. She let go and the man ran away with her bag. She still had her groceries. Replacing the ID and credit cards was a drag, but the mugger would have done better to grab her groceries.
My sister then told a story about someone grabbing her bag when she was waiting down near The Birchmere, a famous music club in Alexandria. All she'd had it the bag was her bus pass, but damned if she didn't need that bus pass. She chased the guy all the way down into a part of town called "The Hole," so named for unsavory reasons involving crime and poverty. And perhaps for an inability to spell the word "waffle" with two Fs.
"When I looked up and realized I was in the Hole, I turned around and ran back the way I came. Forget the bus pass. I walked home."
The second time Mom was mugged, she was walking to work and again, a kid/man (older teenager, I guess) ran up behind her and grabbed her bag. She held tight and pulled back. "Stop, thief!"
A minibus full of senior citizens was loading up a half-block away. They turned around and eyed the situation.
"What would they have done, Mom?" I asked. "They couldn't well chase him!"
"I don't know, but all those people watching seemed to work. The mugger let go of my bag and grabbed my beret instead. I liked it—it was brown and had a silk lining. He grabbed my beret and ran away!"
"And later, I saw him on the Metro. I'm sure it was him. I *glared.* AND HE WAS WEARING MY BERET."
And on that note, I am boarding a plane to Miami, to connect through to Lima, Peru. Hasta mañana.