Friday, August 6, 2010

Gimme yo' shit

As those of you who read my blog regularly already know, especially after long droughts in my writing here, it usually takes something that makes my blood boil to get me to write again. It's been a few months (May and June being the first and second months I've missed completely since I started this blog, actually) since I've last written. In that time I've moved to Pittsburgh, got re-hired at the Hilton, abruptly quit the Hilton (no two weeks notice, just a two-page-long hand-written letter of grievance on my manager's desk the night I left), got the same job only better at the Omni, moved to Lawrenceville, and am now attempting to get a new job at one of the three Apple Stores we have in Pittsburgh (for the second time). It's been a busy month, and fittingly so, I haven't had much of a chance to blog about it. Especially because my new place just off of Butler Street only recently got internet. And also, frankly, because I haven't been angry enough about anything to sit me down here with venom in my fingers. Life's been pretty good lately.

So what got me going? What's got my knickers all in a twist? My panties all in a bunch? My hats... on my head?

I got mugged, of course!

Lacking internet at my new house, I decided to do what any forward-thinking young buck would do and I rode my bicycle down Butler, finding a few park benches only a couple of blocks from my house: what luck! And seeing a number of bars and apartments all around me, I sat down and opened up my laptop to find a veritable smorgasbord of unsecured internet options. I did this one evening after arriving home from work, and all was well; I took care of some emailing and talked to some friends, checked on the status of my impending internet (when would they finally turn on the ol' internet hose, and how long would it take after that for the juices to start flowing down the pipe?), and packed up and went home. Slick.

But two days later, when again, I had to check how life on the webternets was progressing (silly me), things did not so smoothly go. It was about 9pm and I was in the middle of doing exceptionally important Facebook reconnaissance when two youths passed by ne. I didn't pay them much mind, in their long t-shirts and baggy jeans and crisp baseball caps that had (apparently, right?) just been bought that balmy evening at a fine local habberdashery. They crossed 42nd Street, and there conversed for a spat as I leisurely eyed my surroundings, enjoying the cool night's breeze, thinking of how wonderfully convenient the economic geography of my new home was. Then, one of the young gentlemen crossed back over in front of the park benches, and in one quick moment, grabbed the screen of my laptop!

Instinctually, I grabbed the body of the computer as I leapt off the bench. Obviously surprised, the gangsta-ass-mothafucka growled: "Gimme yo' shit." But in and of itself, such a request was not the most convincing argument to bring to the table. He did not, in so many words, have a very captivating debate presence. Upon failing to flash "a piece," and considering that he was no larger or scarier than me, I responded in turn: "No."

Even more confused now, he twisted at the screen, trying to yank it away with force. I said, in an admittedly rather pathetic voice, "Dude, my whole life is in here. What the fuck?" And with a half-hearted last yank, he finally let go and sort of... moseyed away. Across the street at Hambones, two drunken men shouted after the rapscallion and his comrade as they made their way up 42nd Street and disappeared. A hippie crossed Butler and asked if I was okay, and I had to confess that I was more confused than anything. At 9pm, with people across the street, with others on the benches but ten feet away, in the middle of one of Pittsburgh's busier nightlife streets, some fuckin' kid tried to pull a grab-n-run?

I wished, if anything, that I'd thought faster. I would have wanted to have a little philosophical discussion with him. "Gimme yo' shit," he had said. But why? In that little directive he admitted to all involved parties that it was, in fact, my shit. Why, without an outstandingly convincing nine-millimetre argument, would I surrender my shit? Even if I had been more willing to part ways with my entire digital life; what gave him the right to take it? Just because he wanted it? I wanted it enough to spend $1300 on it and more. Because he was scary? I, frankly, am scarier than he was. Because of his immaculate fashion sense? True, my clean white MacBook would have quite matched his spotless Air Force Ones. But that's not really cuttin' the mustard for me.

Given not enough time to have such a discussion, however, I wish I had punched him in the mouth.

Cuz fuck that guy. That was my shit, goddamnit. And when he twisted that motherfucker, the asshole broke my screen. I had to take it up to the Apple Store, who tried to charge me $750 for the repair until I explained to them that I actually got mugged, I didn't just drop it while trying to eat a giant bowl of spaghetti on a ferris wheel. I wish that I'd punched him in the mouth, but all I did was talk about it on the internet and report it to the police who didn't seem to give much of a fuck at all, despite the fact that this kind of shit has been happening all over the East End. Despite the fact that there are apparently CCTV cameras over the tiny park where I was sitting, trained directly on the park benches where the whole thing went down. I haven't even gotten a call back from the detective who was assigned to my case. Whoever he is. If he is.

Yet again, my hate of police bubbles through this whole thing like bile, making me almost as mad as a guy trying to steal my laptop. Ineffectual? Uncaring? Just plain lazy? I don't know, but the streets of Pittsburgh have erupted into this kind of crime this summer, and I have yet to see an effort to quash it, and for that I am scared and appalled. I, for one, am shopping for a billy club online; something that I can carry openly, hanging from my belt, a bright neon "Fuck You, Don't Fuck With Me, Thanks." Someone's got to do the job. It sounds like such a ridiculous cliche, but we need to take back the streets. We shouldn't have to be afraid to use our computers at sidewalk cafes after the sun goes down; we shouldn't have to be afraid to walk around listening to our iPods. What's mine is mine and what's yours is yours. It's a matter of respect--and when that falls short, it should be a matter of broken fingers.


  1. I find u locks more effective than night sticks, plus there's the added bonus of not having the stigma that comes with carrying a "weapon"

  2. I've carried keychain mace for the last three years or so... big, clunky thing. I get a bit of a berth. :)

    Solution: strap dual katanas to your back and wear a gasmask in public.

  3. I've debated the U-Lock thing for awhile, but I've already got a big long cable to lock up my bike. Maybe I should just learn how to use it like a motherfuckin' bullwhip. Now that would do some damage. And be impressive.