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.That’s the thing that got me so turned on about walking in New York: nobody sees nothing.You could go miles down Amsterdam Avenue, surrounded on every side by papis looking for mamis, tourists looking for safety, worshippers looking for succor at St.John’s, and addicts looking for the cover of Morningside Park—but never you.Getting lost in thought was easy when nobody was looking—or so I thought.Apparently, it’s also easy to overlook everyone else.Word around campus was that Helena, that light-skinned pretty Delta, didn’t know how to speak to anybody.Those in the know knew I needed glasses.After graduation, I got an internship at O, The Oprah Magazine that paid $5 and some change an hour.Our offices were on Fifty-third on the west side, and I lived on East 128th Street.Making minimum wage also meant choosing between a monthly metro card and regular sustenance.Seeing as how I’d never get ahead with a loud stomach—So, Helena, do you think you can fact-check October’s contributors’ page? GROWL!—I chose the latter.What’s a seventy-five-block trek twice a day between professionals?In Washington three years later, I’d tell people this story as proof of payment for all these alleged “dues” people talk about.“Every fucking day, each way.One time in the rain with high-heeled boots and a two-dollar umbrella.”By then I had a master’s degree and a metro card.Neither new development—supposed intelligence or cheap rides—stopped me from walking home after my shift at the Times ended around midnight.Yes, I had a shift, which in itself suggests back doors leading to alleys decorated with piss, cigarettes, and bonfires for bums.And also “breaks.” People who have shifts should probably get to take breaks.But it seems that people who have degrees and shifts do not.Gallivanting around town on foot and after the freaks come out was my idea of a good break.I was just getting a handle on the night shift when it happened.Tuesdays were my Fridays, and on Fridays I came in at four and then left around elevenish if nothing “broke.” On one particular balmy Friday night (but not my Friday, which would’ve been Tuesday), I decided it was way too nice outside to be cooped up on the Green Line to Greenbelt and instead decided to walk from our offices on Sixteenth and I streets near the White House to my house on Ninth and T—about twenty-minutes away if I powered through.My usual route went first through Dupont, which I had deemed safe due to the high concentration of gays, and then on to U Street, which because of gentrification was also risk-free.Everything was going according to plan until I got to T and Tenth.There’s always a stretch of one’s residential world that one considers either stupid or annoying.A chain-link fence messing up the order of wrought iron? Annoying.A wooden puppy hunched over in crapping position with “NO!” painted on its back? Stupid.In this case, on the well-lit Ninth Street, there was a stupid abandoned row house two doors down from my newly renovated basement, in front of which a bunch of annoying hooligans held a nightly game of concrete craps.Because walking through this foolishness meant no fewer than five hoots and three hollers, I’d decided months before that walking up the dimly lit and suburbanly silent T Street was the wiser choice.Just a block away from home, I spotted two teenage boys walking at me.I got brief glimpses of them from under my umbrella.Oh, yeah, it’d started raining.They seemed harmless, although curiously alert given the hour.It was a little past midnight, and the tall one was rapping loudly down the pavement part of the street, while his partner provided the beats from the sidewalk.Too tired to switch sides, I made a note of them and kept it moving.By the time we met in the middle of the block, our paths crossed without incident.They went their way and I continued on mine, already fingering the front door key in my coat pocket.You know that feeling you get when someone is staring at you from behind? Evidence that there exists some type of spiritual kinetic energy between all human beings that we’re just too primitive to tap into and use to stir coffee with our minds? About two seconds after avoiding whatever situation happens after dark between two men and a woman on a silent street, that feeling hit me like a fist to the face.Thankfully, they didn’t use anything that dramatic.“What the fuck?” They were on me in an instant, the tall one tugging on my purse before I had a chance to process the idea of being robbed.It was ridiculous [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]