Sunday, August 14, 2016

It has been a very long time since I've posted ... and so much has happened ... .

I DO blame Facebook mainly for sapping most of the energy that once went into blogging.  That program tends to drain off the immediacy that once went into the processing of " as it unfolded," (I remember writing those words once to explain some other temporary issue), by having created a world of "friends" who now inhabit my world -- but not really -- and who tap into my reality in sometimes disconcerting ways.  There's something faux about it in that the word friend has been redefined into something that defies reality -- but that has loomed in the background of my life in ways that seem actual but are not.  Except that in a real emergency situation those friends who were virtual became quite real at a time when my life appeared threatened.

It was the early morning of July 1st (my late mother's birthday) when I woke at one-thirty to an intruder standing within six feet of my bed.  I live in a second floor apartment.  He'd climbed up using the drain pipe -- climbed over the railing, broke the lock on my sliding balcony doors and entered surreptitiously in the night.

He was a slightly-built white man wearing a hoodie and (I suspect) lightweight pajamas.  I knew that he was a white man because he spoke while trying to get me to stop screaming.  I would have recognized a black male voice.  He was probably 5'7-5'9.

I rose from my bed with my cellphone in hand (I'd placed it next to my bed) but had no time to summon the police before it was wrested from  my hand in a struggle that took us from the bedroom into the hallway with his arms pinning mine down and his hand over my mouth to silence my screams.

Had either of us been armed, my gun would have been taken from me in those same few seconds that my cellphone was knocked out of my hand and slung across the room.  I might well have not survived.

Gift on my return to work
He straddled my body as we struggled on the floor of the hallway and he beat me about the head and face with his fists leaving bruises and a split lip that would last for days.  As we struggled on the floor with me screaming as loudly as I could to no response (I didn't know that the two apartments downstairs were empty and there was no one to hear), but a sudden memory of defense strategies gave me the chance to reach into his loose-fitting (pajama pants?) garb and squeeze his genitals as hard as I could which caused him to back off allowing me to escape to the nearby bathroom where I immediately sat upon the floor with my feet propped against the door and my back against the cabinet housing the sink.  I remembered that my electric iron was stored under the sink -- let my feet loose for the few seconds it took to plug it into a wall outlet beside the sink and turned the dial to linen -- the hottest temperature -- and sat while it quickly gained heat enough to brand the culprit for the police to find him once caugh!

I have no idea where that power springs from under  such circumstances, but I do know that as I sat down on that floor I was suddenly as calm as a cucumber, and knew that I was going to survive this, that I was surely not a victim.  Though I'd never had to know this before now, I had the distinct realization that I could take care of myself, and that this intruder was not going to be allowed to change my life, nor to make me fear.  I suspected that his beating me was for the purpose of silencing me.  That he had no intention of killing me, or seriously harming me, that I was interfering with his intent to steal items that he could sell and that -- had I stopped screaming, or, if I'd pretended sleep and allowed him to do his work I might well have escaped personal harm.

I was told that this is a "victim's" way of blaming oneself, and not a healthy attitude, but I suspect that I'm right.

As I sat in that bathroom listening for signs of activity (at least 30 minutes), he was busy going through my apartment picking up items (my computer, my IPhone, a lovely hand painted bamboo fan and teak box beautifully adorned with abalone shells sent by as gifts by the South Korean National Park Service for an aricle I'd written for their journal; and the presidential coin presented to me by President Barack Obama at the national tree-lighting ceremony last December.  That, along with other challenge coins collected over time and together in a small wine-colored velvet drawstring bag that lay on the table in my living room along with other personal treasures.

Of the items, it was that presidential coin that I treasured most and felt most the loss of.

The physical bruises were not serious enough to require a physician's attention, though the fire and police departments were well represented in my living room within a few minutes after my neighbors placed the call.

They were outraged!  My community was outraged!  I think that I just felt lucky to have survived the encounter.

I was distraught, but held together until late the next morning when -- after a sleepless night -- I fell totally apart ... .