As you may, or may not, know, I have a Tumblr blog titled I Heart Alle. The Alle in question is, of course, Miss Alle Connell. Between writing the excellent Hello Alle Dot Com – a blog I feel perfectly balances a sensible approach to life with a love and acceptance of girlieness, which is beginning to rub off on me – she was also able to give me some extremely valuable advice last year, when things were not so wonderful for me. And so I somewhat off-handedly, but ardently titled my Tumblr blog in homage to her.
Yesterday she posted a piece on her blog titled How To Get Robbed In The City Of Chicago, which reminded me that 1) I was mugged about a month ago, and 2) I had forgotten to write about it. So I thought, rather than trying to find my own way to explain this episode of my life in my own way – which I already failed to do once – I would write after the style of Alle, in a sort of call and response storytelling tradition of times gone by.
And it is with all this in mind that I offer you my response: How To Get Robbed In The Borough Of Croydon.
- Despite being accepted onto a handful of respected full-time bachelor of arts degree courses, pick the one that only runs classes at night so you will never be home before 9pm, and possibly not before 10.30pm (because the people there offered you a place within three hours of interviewing you).*
- In your second year, choose an elective class that runs from 7.30pm to 9pm on Wednesdays in central London when none of your usual classmates are there.**
- On your way home always opt to get off the train one stop early and catch the bus so as to avoid walking past the creepy park in your own neighbourhood.
- Also always opt to wait for the bus that stops right outside your house rather than getting on the earlier one that stops three minutes from your house, in order to avoid walking past the creepy shops in your own neighbourhood.
- Realise that by the time you actually get home everyone will be asleep and so you won’t be able to play Words With Friends.
- Get your phone out at the bus stop, as there are a couple of respectable-looking people standing not too far away.
- Begin to formulate a brilliant word in order to gain many points and catch up with your Mum on Words With Friends.
- Gasp as your phone is snatched straight out of your tired, cold hands.
- Swivel on the spot, squint (because you haven’t got your glasses on) at the hazy figure who just stole your phone.
- Yell “Are you fucking kidding me?” several times as he runs off, pursued by his somewhat (or ‘faking it’) confused friends.
- Pursue them yourself, shouting “You fucking cunt! You fucking asshole – are you fucking kidding me?” knowing you will never catch up with your Doc Martens on your tired and unfit feet.
- Start a fast-paced, out-loud dialogue with yourself as you round a corner and see no trace of the thief or his friends.
- Realise your phone is jam-packed with smut, and walk swiftly to the next bus stop where, in the distance, you see your bus pulling up. Begin to run for it.
- Avoid punching two teenage boys outside a pub who laugh at “the fat girl running”.
- Get on the bus, sit down, reach into your pocket for your phone, and freak out again because it’s not there. (Repeat this several times.)
- Reach your house, open the front door dramatically, drop all your stuff, and run upstairs, briefly yelling to your Mum that your phone was stolen out of your hand.
- Contact O2 and get them to cancel and block your phone before making a list of all 21 of the logged in email and social networking accounts active on your phone, and start changing all your passwords – just to be on the safe side – whilst ranting and crying about your stolen phone on twitter.
- Report your stolen phone to the police.
- Look up three hours later, when all your accounts are finally changed and checked and double-checked.
- Get a call from the police and arrange for them to come and visit you at home the next day.
- Realise you haven’t eaten dinner and are in no mood to cook, but then find some bacon and decide that maybe you could stretch to a little frying while your tea brews.
- Notice that three friends are offering you phones via twitter and feel your heart brim with love and appreciation. Take one up on his offer.
- Smile about the fact that you have a phone to go and collect from said friend in the morning and then frown as you realise you’d better clear the house up a bit before the police come by.
- Laugh at yourself, and drift off uneasily.
- Try not to giggle the next day when the policeman describes what happened to you as “snatch-theft”.
- Over the next few weeks begin to slowly persuade your Mum that she should really buy the iPhone 5 she wants (so you can adopt her six-month-old iPhone 4S).***
All in all, it may be “up and coming” but at 10.30pm, Croydon is still the shithole it always was. Which is why, when I go out and alcohol is involved I save money for a taxi home from the station. And why I will never have my phone in my hand outside East Croydon station ever again. Because the world is full of cunts who – guess what! – aren’t “fucking kidding me”.
*No, I don’t regret this decision.
**Or this one.
***It’s only a matter of time.