By Lauren Farber
“Don’t be by yourself going home at night,” my landlord’s email said. Propped up in an ER gurney, I winced. Partly, remembering the last date I’d been on, but mostly due to the unmercifully florescent lights, which were torture to my very recently jostled brain.
I closed my eyes, grumbling to my worried friend that walking while female is a crime I can’t avoid committing. I can’t put Thor on retainer to escort me home at night, amazing as that would be. Despite the ever-so kind assurances of the awesome police officers who hurried to help me, I’m pretty sure there are a few lessons to be learned from my failed mugging:
1. Always follow your instinct to take a cab. Always. It’s not bougie, stupid, overly cautious, or an unnecessary expense. It’s a really excellent way to avoid interacting with strangers who may half-heartedly seek to mug you.
2. No matter how poorly a petite individual that walks up right in front of you articulates their intent to forcefully obtain your possessions, fear and cooperation should be your first responses.
3. It is typically ill-advised to ask your mugger if he or – let’s be fair here – she, is kidding. Appealing to an aspiring criminal’s sense of the absurd will most likely agitate them.
4. It is batshit insane to fight off an assailant. I am incredibly lucky to not be dead or more significantly hurt. My actions were bold, but in no way cool. I have no idea why my first instinct was fight over flight, and hopefully there won’t be a “next time” for this. It’s great, but much less important that none of my things were stolen.
5. Parents: sign your daughters up for boxing classes in high school. In a crisis, a glasses-wearing, sober female will go all Raging Bull and remember to protect the head while shuffling violently and screaming her face off.
6. That thing people tell you to do where you hold your keys in your fist like brass knuckles? Works. But don’t be an idiot and get into physical altercations with people.
7. When you hear someone screaming, grab a friend and investigate. That’s all it takes to restore someone’s faith in humanity. Thanks, neighbor.
8. Let other people help you. Or rather, accept that you’ve probably got a concussion when your head gets slammed on concrete and proceed accordingly. People get very mad at you for not calling them after a mild traumatic brain injury, so really, call someone to hang out with you no matter what time it is. No one will think you’re booty calling them. It’s actually medically advisable to have someone watch you sleep when you have a concussion. Trust in and rely on others.
9. Go to the hospital. Take a friend, pack a snack, bring a puppy in the car, and make it a party. These things are serious and worth getting care for. I have a mild concussion I couldn’t handle reading the labels for Tylenol in CVS. That football players are encouraged to keep on trucking under the same circumstances is horrific in ways I couldn’t have comprehended before this happened.
10. Don’t blame yourself for someone else trying to mug you, eat ice cream for dinner, cry as much as you need to, and accept all hugs. Don’t dismiss the idea of pre-emptive counseling to avoid some Howard Hughes-level paranoia. And when your skull starts pounding, stop blogging, put away your laptop, and take a nap.