On getting robbed//The Vegas recap. part 2

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First night in Vegas, after the very tardy females (described in Part1) finally made their way down to us, we took the party to Tryst (gag), it was only the first spot on our nightlife itinerary. Once there I started jumping around to awesome jams in my usual overly bounding fashion which caused my tiny clutch to pop open, over And over, scattering its contents all over the floor. When i was finally sick of it, I proceeded to take it off of myself and placed it 3 inched away from my leg on a small white couch next to which my group was congregating. A couple of girls sat on the couch across my little couch and I paid them no attention. Between them and my couch there was a glass coffee table, on the other side of the couch was a tall glass railing, it was essentially a cul-de-sac situation.IMG_9197 I never moved from where I was, but I did get enthralled in some gratuitous posing and voguing with my friends in a group picture kind of scenario, the photo shoot lasted no more than 2 minutes, when it was over I reached down to grab my purse but all I found was the couch, empty.

My heart sank, it was gone. What struck me most in that moment was that I knew it to have been deliberately taken, stolen, right from under my nose, all within a single minute. It seemed hard to believe that just a minute ago it was there and all was right with my little world, but now it was gone, likely beyond recovery, and with it were gone my precious phone, my id, cc’s, all sources of money, my favorite eye liner and any chance of salvaging the trip…..The bag was a bit of a favorite too, a vintage thing I picked up in Paris many years ago, by a designer whose name rhymes with Janelle. Thankfully my car key was not in the bag, if it were, not only would I have no way of driving myself home, but it would cost a whopping 600$ to replace it and I would have been stuck in a Vegas hotel with no ID waiting for a backup key to be overnighted, it would have been an injury on top of injury kind of situation! The two girls from across the table were gone also. It all went down so quickly that I knew it was quite possible my eyes were still on the thieves, but I would have never been able to discern them from the crowd, so many people around us were buzzing and moving, music was loud, lights low, and I didn’t know what the two girls who sat across from us looked like at all.

The futility of the situation, the utter helplessness and lack of recourse were most disturbing. I just wanted to rewind to 3 minutes ago and NOT put my things down. The fact that I got preyed on in a careful and calculated way was another strange consideration, as I don’t believe I had ever experienced being targeted like that before. Victimhood left an instant oppressive kind of bitterness in my mouth.  The problem too with such a small clutch is that it can easily be hidden from sight inside clothing or even a slightly larger bag. There was no hope. My friend though didn’t panic, knowing that it had just happened she immediately mounted an organized pursuit. I could expect no less from her as she is certifiably a genius and as good an egg as one can hope to be. In her infinite wisdom she instantly popped on the Find My Iphone tracker app and started tracking my phone with her phone. To our amazement it worked, they did not turn off my phone, probably because we were close behind them and they were too focused on exiting the club rather than going through the bag. There it was, the tiny dot, a beacon indicating my phone’s movements on a map; as it traveled across her phone screen we raced after it. The chase took us out of the club and through the casino, then around it. I’ll be honest I had no hope, I felt that even if for a while we were close to whomever was in possession of it, there was no possible way that we could know exactly who it was, as the tracker is not that precise, so gaining on the thieves was essentially useless. But she did believe, she was certain that somehow we would catch them. She ran through that casino in her high heels as if her feet weren’t killing her, threatening to beat the bitches up, and that was enough to distract me from my hopelessness, to make me at least remember that of all the things I suddenly did not have, I still had an amazing, true, self sacrificing friend. At one point we found ourselves amongst scattered people in the heart of the casino floor, the phone had stopped moving, two girls seated at some slot machines stared at me from a handful of feet away, I stared back trying to scan them for any sign of my bag or anything else otherwise suspicious. I was not able though to be thorough as I had to be mindful of the apparent rudeness. One of them, having realized that they were staring at us and we were staring back, told me that she liked my dress. I muttered that we were tracking a stolen bag and that the phone tracker took us to that area and this was why we stared at them also. I don’t know why or where we moved to after this but we ended up running again and tracking again and never laid eyes on anyone else specifically.

My friend alerted every casino employee, called the police, a couple of frazzled floor guards ran around with us. The attending officer was obliging but entirely useless, he kept repeating that I needed to fill out a police report, which was distracting if not downright obstructing to our search. I kept refusing to do so and telling him that it was a useless proposition and an exercise in futility, we were stuck in a kind of struggle between staunch procedure and dogged contumacy. Shortly thereafter and rather surprisingly the phone had appeared to stop moving. Its location was pinged on the map as somewhere right outside the front door of the casino, where an abundant landscape of planters, trees, bushes and shrubbery was overwhelmingly lush, expansive and completely impenetrable to eyes. We suspected that as the thieves ran out the front door they hurled it into the shrubbery or one of many dozens of trashcans around the perimeter. It definitely wasn’t moving anymore. We looked and looked and looked, for hours, we climbed through everything we could, scoped out the trashcans, peered into manicured hedges, my friend even tried to sneak into the valet area, she was convinced that it was stashed away inside a parked car. All to no avail. Hours later I finally just couldn’t do it anymore. Although my friend was searching with no less enthusiasm than before, I told her that I was done, I was freezing, she was freezing, we had wasted the night. I had wasted her night and I felt terrible about it, as she is a full time student with a full time job for whom getting out of town for a few days is a seldom, well deserved and much needed respite. It was hard to give up, because we knew that my phone at least was somewhere within feet of us, and with it maybe even my bag, but it was time to give up. I went back to our hotel, asked for a courtesy reservation cancellation and started packing to leave first thing in the morning. For me the trip was over. I cancelled all my cards too. I turned on the phone tracking app on my computer and watched the same blinking beacon indicating my phone’s presence somewhere in that same area outside the Wynn, as stationary as it had been for the past few hours. It was possible too that it was in one of the rooms above the front awning, as the locator does not indicate latitude. Still, I imagined it laying somewhere in a bush or in a trashcan and for a moment wanted to go back and resume the search. But I was exhausted, upset and soon thereafter fast asleep. A phone call to my room startled me back into consciousness. I looked at the clock, it was only 40 minutes after I had last looked at it, 5:30 am. I don’t usually pick up hotel room calls, but I did this time. It was a floor worker from the Wynn, she was informing me that they had found my bag! WHAT?!?! How did she even know where to reach me?! It was completely unbelievable. She said my phone was in it. WHAT??!?!?! I ran out of the room, jumped in a cab and rushed over there. Minutes later she was handing me my bag, my phone was inside! so was my ID and my now useless debit cards. The eyeliner was dubiously gone. Where did she find it? Stuffed in the wastebasket of one of the many stalls in the ladies bathroom next to that exit where we searched. It must have been there all night. A bathroom attendant found it. I had checked that bathroom earlier and even looked into a few wastebaskets, but it seemed so unlikely and there were so many that I wasn’t at all thorough.

Unbelievable. This poor bathroom attendant lady found it and turned it in, just when my faith in humanity had completely dissipated she single handedly renewed it. Elated, incredible, amazing- are just some of the words to describe my feelings. It seemed unbelievable that they didn’t steal my Iphone 6 or even the clutch itself.

I didn’t have to go home after all. I just had to borrow money and reconfirm my reservation! Later that night I thought about how or why someone would hastily dump such a profitable score and theorized that the two girls staring at us were likely the culprits. If not them, then it was someone else who saw our energetic, pointed search through the casino and got scared. Although we never locked onto the thieves specifically, they must have panicked at the notion that we might shortly do so, and that they might get stopped or searched before making their way outside, so they bolted for the bathroom and dumped their bounty, as not to be found with it on their persons.

The fact that my things were returned to me is a kind of miracle really. An Iphone 6, a Chanel clutch…….nothing short of a miracle. The hotel worker located me because the bag still had my hotel key in it, she called the hotel and got them to put her through to my room, as she had my ID. An utter Vegas miracle. If it wasn’t for my friend I doubt it would have been possible, as it was her unrelentingly energetic pursuit that likely spooked the thieves and led them to abandon their scheme along with my property.

IMG_9217Ladies, never ever ever put your things down in Vegas, or carry a big ass bag with some bright, preferably neon! coloring so it can’t be easily snatched and concealed. The rest of the trip went swimmingly. We had a truly indulgent dinner at Delmonico’s, then watched the Britney show from seats so close I swear I could smell her. Although Britney herself is a bit anemic these days, her dancers are an utterly mesmerizing lot. The show itself definitely represents something vital from all our childhoods, it is nostalgia of the best kind, so we were beyond thrilled, singing along enthusiastically when not completely overtaken by uncontrollable shrieking and giggling. Etc. Etc. Etc.IMG_9233

We’re off to Vegas again in April, this outing will be exceedingly cool as the lot of us is converging from all over, 1/3 of the party is arriving from Miami, the other 1/3 from CA and I, of course roll in from Arizona, it’s a triad of gurlzzz, a trifecta, a triumvirate, triptych. Then I think there will finally be some legit travel in the official summer and into far away lands, right now Thailand and Spain are on the itinerary in the upcoming few months. There is also NYC as I will be ushering my baby brother off to college! I am definitely psyched. After all that I am finally relocating back to California TO LIVE, which is most exciting of all, because I miss my mommy and daddy something awful. Anyways…blah blah blah. This is me & my dad, just because. 😀

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Part 5: On lonely girls and broken hearts

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Plz find Parts 1234 by clicking on the numbers. 🙂

A few days passed since my exodus and yet I hadn’t heard from him at all. It was the biggest break we had to date in terms of communication. Eventually I called him but he didn’t pick up and didn’t call me back. I called again, nothing. I left a couple of concerned voice mails. Nothing. It was all around confounding. I didn’t know what to think. I’d never been an alarmist but I started to worry for him, as he was now marooned up in that house quite alone, not counting the wine. I texted him a few times too requesting a confirmation of life, still there was no reply. Finally, right when I was ready to drive over to check on him, he shot me back a short text, casually letting me know that he was fine, but busy. This was followed by another period of radio silence. I remember feeling very confused and anxious and finally penning a heartfelt message which questioned the state of our relationship, while reminding him of my friendship and love. He did respond then, denying the validity of my concerns and reassuring me that nothing in fact had changed between us. That exchange I, for some reason, remember in its entirety. He insisted that our friendship, despite evidence to the contrary, had undergone no change at all and that I was still “singularly unique and special” to him. This was, as i had shortly learned, a flat out lie, as he was in fact done with me for good, but putting me out of my misery would have required too great a generosity on his part, it was no 4$ latte or DVD after all. To be clear, the crux of my injury wasn’t that he had a sudden change of heart, demoralizing as this was, the real hurt emanated from his not caring or respecting me enough to simply take my call and tell me something-anything real. If he had, I would undoubtedly still have been hurt, but I would also walk away with as high an opinion of him as ever and a mind to healing.

No measure of wariness towards J could have prepared me for this turn of events. I was, in all honesty, soul-crushed and for a long time thereafter truly, deeply sad. If his disappearance from my world seems innocuous as far as transgressions go, let me assure you it was not; it was acutely, painfully felt. Sure, dropping the proverbial curtain and exiting stage left is every person’s prerogative, but sneaking out under cover of night is not. To this day abandonment ranks on my list of painful experiences as one of the worst and most contemptible. I hate to be dramatic, but I think he could have just as well punched me in the stomach. It felt in every way like a violence and a theft. Had he indicated his intentions to disengage, extended any, and I do mean any, courtesy explanation aimed towards closure, or even just a stock Good Bye, I would have been able to process it differently. It was his silence, evasion and complete lack of basic human regard for me that shocked my system, and although it mostly bruised my heart, it was also a blow to my pride and my self-esteem. (Admittedly, the latter was struck the least)

It boggles my mind even now that this seemingly earnest, tender hearted boy (..or man I guess) with his love of dogs and his rare gift for words could be so inexplicably thoughtless (cruel). Though obviously, I misunderstood completely the degree of his attachment and care for me, what surprised me most was how sorely I misjudged his character. He was in regards to me indecent, an utter failure. At the time I would have bet my arm that underneath the charm and the words, there was a conscientious person of substance and heart. I would have lost that bet (and the arm) as words proved to be ALL he was.

Before now I never talked about any of this, because, in part, I was ashamed of having let myself fall into it as I did. After all I was and always will be the only one responsible for my own feelings, the fact that I got hurt was, as they say, on me. Victim girl or Foolish girl were not monikers I cared to take up and “vulnerable” is perhaps a word I detest most and in general, god forbid it be spoken in reference to me. Pride and unresolved confusion further conflated into a kind of secretiveness. On some level too, I think I hoped that the story still had a chance of finding a better conclusion, so I kept it tucked away in a cognitive limbo. That’s the trouble with hope, enduring as it is, it doesn’t fall within the purview of good judgment or reason.

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A few years later, with hope finally abandoned, I wrote J an email outlining how I felt. It was a way of self-generating the closure he couldn’t give me. I wanted it to be finite, so I asked that he not respond, even if by some chance he felt inclined to do so. I don’t remember what exactly was in it, I imagine it was some version of all this, and I don’t know that he read it, but if he did, he heeded my request obliging me with his continued silence.

The overall experience marked me indelibly, but it did not change or callus me. In all fairness the universe did make ample karmic recompense to me shortly thereafter, turning Lonely girl into a decidedly Lucky girl (so lucky). I am still genuinely concerned for J’s happiness and still only wish him the best. I think I’ll never stop rooting for him, and that is something I don’t dislike about myself. The most significant thing I carried out from it all, besides a purple heart bruise, was a lesson in accountability. From that point forward I was always painstakingly careful not to lead anyone on whom I did not intend to keep.

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Part 2: On lonely girls and broken hearts

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These last few days I struggled trying to formulate in my head this “Part 2” of my “Lonely Girls and Broken Hearts” blog post, because it is the part where I gotta get to the actual story and stop waxing poetic about what a beautiful, special person I am. 😛 I find myself facing a few obstacles, one is that while I still have a firm grasp on the meat of the story, my feelings, my impressions, I no longer have all the bones i.e. the facts. I worry that I’ll be constructing a kind of tottering Frankenstein with no leg to stand on, slumping on a crutch engineered haphazardly out of fiction.

I knew J twice. The first time was over a decade ago, I think I was 18 or 19, he was 21 or 22? I met him in a community college classroom. Inexplicably there were numerous occasions when I took random classes at SMC while enrolled as a full time student at UCLA, I am not sure why I did this, but it definitely contributed to the extravagant 6 years I spent as a UCLA student working on a paltry undergraduate degree in comparative lit. J was there, like me, on an academic hiatus of some kind, but from Cal. He wasn’t someone who immediately caught my attention, admittedly because he just wasn’t at all my type. At the time I had a pretty specific penchant for men of considerably greater age, stature and accomplishment, so peers hardly ever registered on my discriminating radar. In fact I never dated a peer, never ever. I remember that when I finally noticed J it wasn’t so much he that caught my attention as it was the way in which he commanded the attention of all the other females in that classroom. His obvious sway over them was what really piqued my interest. Closer inspection revealed that, although to me he didn’t appear particularly attractive, he was by conventional standards quite comely. Medium height, well built, very athletic, with wild, curly hair, light eyes and a bright smile. Further examination was necessary and thoroughly conducted, it proved that he was wickedly bright, intelligent, ironic, self-aware, free thinking and completely, disarmingly, dangerously charming. Additionally, to my surprise, he was easily one the most literary people I had met to date. Despite all this I wasn’t quite sold on him yet.

I remember as I was getting to know him along with some of my other classmates, it became evident to me that he had spent time out of class with one of the girls who was in our shit-shooting group. The way she looked at him one day let me know that something had happened with them. He proceeded to make a comment to her about her alluringly transparent blouse, calling her an enchantress, she laughed and sort of blushed, but I knew then that she was in trouble. His compliment was executed publicly and jovially, playing to the audience rather than to her. I read that playfulness for what it was, a way to trivialize whatever had transpired between them. One thing about me worth noting is that I always spoke rather fluent Male-ese, the male agenda was as obvious to me as a circus parade, which is actually quite ironic given how the rest of this story unfolded. Later that day, the girl in question confided in me that they did hang out and that something sweet or intimate transpired between them, like he held her hand, and maybe there was a kiss? I don’t remember now. I also don’t remember how him and I actually ended up spending time together. I think he may have given me a ride home one night. When I later teased him about whatever had happened with that girl from class, he shrugged it off and steered the conversation elsewhere. It didn’t much matter to me, and really wasn’t any of my business. But I guess in retrospect I could assign it the metaphorical meaning of a tiny red flag.

As little time went on I became more and more taken with him. I was impressed with the way he thought, the things he said, the words he used. We were able to talk and talk and talk on the subjects of so many things, and although our opinions varied, I felt we always understood one another completely. I found a true counterpoint in him, as well as an intellect vastly superior to mine. Let no mistake be made though, it was a truly platonic friendship. I never for a second wanted more, in fact had he attempted more I would have been sorely disappointed and the whole thing would have gone left. Luckily, we were of a similar mind on the subject, he never indicated to me that I was of any interest to him as a woman, which flattered me rather than otherwise, as I got plenty of that kind of attention elsewhere. His friendship flattered me all around, he wooed me with it like a professional tamer of tigers and lonely girls, and before I knew it I was quite under his spell, purring like a kitten. I finally had a friend who understood me. It was as if I had dreamt him up and the universe obliged me by spitting him out in human form, but only for a pinch.

Our time together ended as seamlessly as it began, he went back to Northern California, back to school, back to some girl he loved and pined for and I continued with my lonely girl life. In the years to follow I frequently thought of him with great and rare fondness. I knew that he had backpacked through Europe for a few months at some point, I think this was something on his agenda shortly after going back to Berkeley. Our shared love of romantic poets meant that we were likely to have somewhat matching itineraries, especially in England, so when I went to Europe at a later time, I thought of him quite a bit. When finally I rode horses in Hyde park and visited Lord Byron’s grave, I wrote to him, J not Byron.

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It seemed like of everyone I knew J would best understand the revelry of those particular experiences. It also felt like the thing to do, whilst I was so inside literary history, to reach across time a little into a history of my own. The email went unanswered and, as I later learned, unread.

According to Exupery, we are responsible for those we have tamed, I subscribe to this religiously now, but certainly neither one of us knew it at the time.

I didn’t see him again for quite a while. We were reunited some three or four years later under strange and serendipitous circumstances. It was a true chance event that seemed to be imbued with special meaning if not for any other reason than its timeliness and randomness. It was a reboot of J & M, version 2.0, but don’t be fooled, the newer version is not always the better. Our reunion yielded a peculiar revival of our long lost friendship, transforming it and, in a somewhat dramatic fashion, ending it completely….

To be continued in  Part 3……

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