Category Archives: Today

getting not-robbed

 

Last week, I experienced something pretty awful.

On Monday morning, I was in a line of people waiting for a ride into San Francisco, when three young black kids in hoodies turned up with guns and robbed as many people as they could before running away and getting into a car.

I was not robbed myself, but I was there in the line for casual carpool.

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That sign is the sign for casual carpool. That guy is about to get into that car. In about 45 seconds, I am also about to get into that car.

I happened to be at the front of the line and talking to the women next to me, so I was turned towards the rest of the line facing her. I saw these guys moving through the line in a strange way – why would you pass through a group of people like that when you could just go around?

The line started breaking up and I heard someone say “is this for real?”

As soon as I saw the gun, I backed up a few steps and said to the woman I had been talking to “look out, look out.” She still had her back to them and hadn’t seen anything yet.

She turned around and we backed up some more. I saw the kid closest to me facing a guy from the line, who then slowly took a backpack off his shoulder and give it to the kid.  And then I turned around and ran around the corner.

Having my back to them was terrifying. Would they chase after me? Would they try to shoot me? How far should I go? Could I call the police and run at the same time?

After an eternity or a few minutes, I ran down a driveway and ducked between the back of an SUV and some garbage cans, where I called 911. After a busy signal, I tried again. I listened to some messages in different languages and waited until I finally spoke to a person. I told her that there was a robbery happening and she transferred me to the Oakland emergency line. Then I told someone else that a robbery was happening, where it was, that I had not personally been robbed, and I gave her my name and number.

And then I creeped back down the driveway and saw other people heading towards the carpool spot. Since they didn’t seem to come running back around or anything, I decided to go back to see what was happening, because surely it would be over by now. Plus, I really couldn’t figure out where else I might go.

The kids were definitely gone, and the scene was a bit chaotic. There were people in small groups, one woman was crying hysterically. There was no line. There were cars pulled up, waiting for passengers, but no one was getting in them.  So I got into the first car and told the driver what had happened. There was another passenger who had also been there; she had just run straight across the street when she realized what was going on. The third passenger had just arrived on the scene.

Police were not there by the time we left.

People keep saying that I was so smart to get away. But it wasn’t planned. I just stepped back. And no one stopped me from moving away or told me to do otherwise. I mean, you can only rob one person at a time, right? And I happened to not be one of the first ones. So I managed to just move away.

The kids didn’t yell or make any noise. I’m not sure I heard them say anything. They didn’t point the guns, they just sort of held them, the way you would hold a water bottle in your hand. So it was really, really scary to see a gun and understand that it was a threat, but they weren’t acting particularly threatening. I don’t think they even touched anyone, and no one was hurt. But eight people were robbed of their purses and back packs and laptop bags.

A few days later, the police came to my house after work and showed me pictures to ask me if I could identify any of the robbers. I couldn’t.

They currently have two people in custody, one a 17-year old, who is probably the one who was closest to me.

I’ve been going back to casual carpool since then, but I make sure to keep my phone in my pocket and I’m trying to be more aware. I’m mostly fine; not freaking out all the time. This morning, though, I heard a man’s voice behind me on the sidewalk and my heart started racing. He was just saying hello to someone else he saw.

Once I realized what was happening that morning, I had the thought that at least it wasn’t my birthday today (it was the next day). Because man, it would suck to get robbed on your birthday.

But I didn’t get robbed at all.

 

 

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belated birthday

There is a lot of belated going on around here, but the one I choose to report on now is my belated birthday, from last week when I went and turned thirty-six.

Prior to this birthday, there were many things transpiring. In the month of August, The David and I bought a house and we also got married. Which means that we had also recently spent a lot of time looking at houses, making offers, getting approved by banks, followed by packing up and moving and then living out of boxes, and clearing out an apartment that I’d lived in for 9 years. Plus the getting married!  I’m not going to list all of the things that went into planning a wedding in our four month long engagement, because I choose not to go back into that scary head place. Later. I will talk more about it later.

Suffice it to say, we planned to take a week off of work after the wedding, but knew that it was going to full of out-of-town visitors and unpacking boxes and putting up towel racks. It was nice, of course, to have the time off, but it was not a honeymoon of romance and relaxation and recovery.

But through it all, I had this far off knowing:  my company gives us a PTO day for our birthdays, so on Tuesday, September 24, I would have this random day off, all to myself.

That day happened and it was perfect.

The David knew of my wishes to spend the day lollygagging in bed with books and cats, so he (in a move that has totally sold me on this whole husband concept) prepped for my day by stocking up on snacks and my favorite Trader Joe’s lunch, chilling a bottle of vodka in the freezer, laundering all of the bedding, getting fresh flowers, and buying a stopper and a bath bomb for the bathtub.

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So I woke up and The David brought me my green smoothie in bed for breakfast. This happens every day and is non-birthday specific. I know, I got a good one.

But then, I proceeded to not get out of bed. I cozied up with a novel and one of my fur babies.

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I ate a bag of cheddar popcorn, still in bed, and finished my book.

I managed to get up out of bed and went for a massage, which was glorious. Followed by a pedicure, which was grossly overdue.

Then I came home, got back into bed and started a new novel, loving on a new cat.

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Then I got up, and watched an episode of America’s Next Top Model, which now has boy models in it, but is otherwise still fantastically awful.

And then I made myself a cocktail! In a copper mug! (Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice.)
I sat outside supping on my drink and reading my book and listing to my sweet sweet booger cats yowling at me from the door.

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The David came home with takeout from Homeroom, the macaroni and cheese restaurant down the street. We sat outside and started a fire in our new fire pit, drank Moscow Mules, and ate our macaroni and cheese.

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I took a bath (not pictured) and went to bed.

And it was the best.

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On June 26th

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Five years ago today, I met The David. At a wine bar that no longer exists. I couldn’t stop giggling about the Britishness happening. I don’t remember too much about that night, but I do know that he asked if we could meet again on Sunday and that I said “yes.”

Since then, there’ve been a lot of other yeses. Not least of which is the promise to stand up with our friends and family in 66 days and say yes forever a thousand times.

I take it for granted that we are allowed to get married. It was such a momentousness for us to come to the decision ourselves, I can’t fathom anyone or anything else making a contribution to that decision. So today, on this big anniversary, I am grateful for the strides made in granting the right to marry to everyone. It’s been a wonderful day to appreciate what I have and how much it means to me.

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birthday thirty-five

I was moping about turning 35, that it was half way to 40.

“No, Maggie,” said Brice. “It’s half way to 70.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Whatever. It’s a milestone on the way to something.

Maybe I would feel just as glum about it if I had done all those life things you’re supposed to have done by now. 35 could still be all boo-hoo even if I did have a for reals career, a kid or two, a mortgage and a partner legally obligated to contend with my oldness.

But I suspect those developmental delays have a bit to do with the feeling of having messed up a bit some how along the way. I turned 35 and I didn’t get it right!

So, I’ve been thinking about my “life list” and trying to identify those things that I really, really want to do before I’m done. The things that could make it feel right.

Weirdly, the things I really, really want are not that exciting at all.

I want to save enough money for retirement.

I want to be a faster runner.

I want to remember to send birthday cards.

I want to be a good aunt.

I want to grow my own basil.

I don’t have a collection of dreams that I’m afraid to shoot for. My life is far from perfect, but I’m not pining for something. There’s a vague pining for the mundane, but big things I feel like I should have done by now. Which is possibly not even pining but actually fear that my friends and cohorts are all leaving me behind.

All those things, the babies-marriage-house-career, they could still happen. I can still figure out if those are all things that I really, really want. I’m not giving up, just because of this 35 business. It’s not a deadline.

It’s a milestone. Halfway to 70.

Which is a very, very, very long time from now.

A lot of things are going to happen before then.

 

 

 

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birthday boy

it’s my cute boy’s birthday today* and i love him to pieces.

i am so very lucky that the universe saw fit to bring forth this lovely, wonderful guy who likes to dance in the kitchen, is constantly dreaming up new inventions, and lets me put my feet on him when we watch tv on the couch.

*technically, it was yesterday, but i was having a diabolical hissy fit with iphoto and my camera and failed to get a picture up yesterday.

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Thirty four

Yesterday, I turned thirty-four. And it was a Saturday. The convergence of the two led to feelings of a planned gathering.

So I planned, and they gathered… at Ocean Beach for a beach bonfire birthday.  It was gloomy and it was blowy.  It was misting and sand was swirling.  But there was fire and everyone was appropriately bundled and despite being damp and very dirty, it was grand.

Some people left early and some people showed up quite late, so there was a nicely rotating mix of folk.  There were hot dogs and s’mores and carafes of spiced wine.

And at the end, after all of our wood was burned away and I was hemming and hawing as to whether we should go get more or just be done with, a guy showed up with a tree’s worth of more wood and asked if we were about to done with our pit.  He was on his own, just wanting to build a fire, so he joined our group and created a monstrous blaze which was really almost magical in the dark.

If I hadn’t managed to turn the tide from pleasantly tipsy to distressingly, spinningly drunk right there at the very end, it actually would have been just about perfect.  So I kind of ruined my Sunday a little bit, but the birthday itself was just really nice.

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all the people

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hot dog

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me

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the david

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sunset on the pacific

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bi and stephanie

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kite flying

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ali and sloane

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emiliana

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alex

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night time fire

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twenty months

photograph by virginia kuo

Twenty months ago today, I met my David, and I can’t believe that it’s still a relationship that I can measure in months.  It feels like he’s been my person for my whole life.

It also feels like I won the lottery, so it doesn’t much matter if that happened 20 months ago, or 20 years ago, or yesterday.  I seriously got the best one.

But just so you don’t get jealous, he does gurgle a lot.

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Filed under The David, Today