After 14 years of blissful living in Jozi, I’ve become a statistic. I guess it was way overdue.
Yesterday evening, driving back from my Muay Thai class (oh the irony…) I got pseudo smashed/grabbed (the window was open so nothing went smash, exactly) by two well-dressed guys, one sporting a pair of iPod earphones and a hipsterish kinda orange check collared shirt, at a robot where I was waiting to turn right. Cliché.
Kelly Clarkson’s What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (har, har) was blasting out of my open window, and I’m guessing that they didn’t like my taste in post-workout music much and wanted to make their point.
I didn’t see them coming, they were just suddenly there. And for a few seconds I had no idea what was happening and I don’t know if they turned my car key to switch off the engine or if I just let it die in fright. They were shouting and I was saying, “what?! I don’t want to buy your avos!” and they wanted a phone and I didn’t have one (I keep all my stuff in the boot, small mercies) and they were groping my crotch, my breasts (clearly they’ve done this before, they know exactly where women hide their stuff), reaching across me to check the other seat and then punched me in the face twice just for good measure. I didn’t see that coming, or I would have blocked (har, har).
I think I must have said, “no, don’t, no phone”, and I mewled “help, help” a few times, but the cars surrounding me (there were five. Wonderful clarity of the mind.) just sped off.
Then my hipster smashers sauntered away, clearly disgusted at my lack of earthly accoutrements. And somehow I started the engine and skipped a red light and went home.
I couldn’t sleep last night.
I had a headache and my face hurt and my nose was bunged up from crying.
I was too angry.
At myself. For being so utterly helpless. For driving with an open window. For not realizing what was happening. For letting the engine die. For not reaching over and punching the snot out of the guy who was hanging in my window. For not speeding off, for not being braver, for just being so oblivious and such a wuss. For being a sucky Girl Scout. For listening to Kelly Clarkson when some badass blues rock would have been better suited to the situation.
I’m angry at how they just walked away, not a care in the world.
I’m angry at the other drivers for not giving a fuck. But hell, this is Jozi, maybe they thought I was just buying something from my dealer.
I couldn’t sleep because I kept on thinking, “what if”. What if they had knives? Or guns? What if it was carefully planned and not just opportunism gone rife when spotting a dumb bitch with her window open?
I’m also angry that I can’t even feel miserable about this without feeling a twinge of guilt and “get over yourself”: compared to what happens to other people every single day in South Africa, practically nothing happened to me. Hell, my eye doesn’t even want to go blue, it’s just a bit squinty.
I’m scared now. I can’t help it.
I used to feel a tinge of pride at driving with my window open. It allows you a bit of banter with the newspaper vendors, Big Issue-sellers and neighbourhood beggars. I like smelling early mornings and cooling down without the aircon.
I’ll never drive with my window open again.
And I’m binning that stupid Grammy Nominees CD.
* On the bright side: I’ve started blogging again. Misery loves company, eh.