Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Natural Disasters and Personal Disasters

I'm sure we have all heard about the very large earth quakes and tsunami that have hit Japan last week. I started thinking about this and how this would effect so many lives.  It also got me thinking about things in my life that I would consider personal disasters.  What moment or moments in your life would you concider a personal disaster?  It could be something as major as a car accident all the way down to a small thought process.
I'll start with my "car accident."  Well, I've had a lot of litteral car accidents within a very short time period, but what I would call a definite personal disaster is the night I was robbed at gun point and tazered.  I had gone over to my friend, B's house to watch a show and do laundry.  When I came home, it was exactly midnight.  I had come home this late or later numerous times before and never had any problems.  I got home and parked my car next to my neighbor's truck. When I got out, I could hear two guys speaking spanish, which I do not speak.  I thought nothing of it.  Then, a guy walked out from behind my neighbor's truck holding a gun.  He started threatening me with very heavilly accented english to stop moving.  I had my purse on my arm and a large McDonald's cup in my hand. He yelled at me to drop the cup and give him the purse, which I did.  Then, someone came up from behind me and wrapped his arm around my throat and stuck a tazer in my side.  I jumped from the tazer, thinking "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!"  This person was more violent and started threatening that if I didn't give him the money, he was going to kill me, aslo in a very heavy accent.  I said, if I had any money, it would be in the purse.  Then, they told me to shutup.  They took my keys and started diggin through my coat pockets, which is where I had my cell phone. They took the cell phone.  Then, the first guy started to climp through my car looking for something.  The other guy blurted something out in spanish.  Maybe he got spooked.  They instructed me to get back into the car.  The first guy said that I had to tell him my pin number or he would kill me.  I lied.  Then, he said, if I was lying, he would come back and kill me.  They shut me in my car.  They drove off in their van.  I had no keys.  I had no phone.  I had nothing. 
I imediately ran into my building and started pounding on my neighbor's door.  She was a little freaked before she realized it was me.  She called the policee for me.  A police officer was there in minutes.  He took my statement and gave me a case number/card.  He said they had actually already pulled over a van in the area matching my sketchy discription.  It wasn't the right van.  While the cop was still there, we went and woke up another neighbor, whom I've known since the day I had moved in.  She was in shock.  
My neighbor had called the emergency maintnance line to get me a key to get into my apartment.  I started thinking about it and realized, I had an extra apartment key in my car.  My neighbor that I had lived by for a long time, gave me a cell phone she had minutes on to use to get ahold of... somebody.  
After I got into my apartment, I was in shock.  I started searching for phone numbers, I couldn't remember any for the life of me.  I found one friend's guest list from a lia Sophia show I had done for her.  I called her. I get her voicemail.  By now, it's after 1:00am. She's probably asleep.  I start searching for more numbers.  I found my boss's number and reached him.  I just tell him I would miss work the next day and why and hung up.  I finally find an extremely old phone bill that has my parents' phone number on it.  I call and my mom answers.  I inform her to what happened.  I get my sister's cell number from her.  I call my sister a couple times before she answers.  She decides she will drive the one and a half hour drive and pick me up.  I pack and pack up my kitty and wait.
This was my life changing personal disaster.  I have always been a confident single woman with hardly any fears.  I was so trusting in the world.  I had lived in my apartment for over four years.  I had experienced one burglary before during the day.  My door was kicked in and only my purse was stolen.  The rest of my apartment was trashed because the burglars were looking for jewelry or money, which I have none of.  I survived that with only a little bit of mental and emotional damage, but it wasn't enough to make me move out of the apartments.  My neighbor across the hall from me was totally wipe out of most of her possessions.  I just lost a purse with maybe ten dollars in it and all of my ID's and credit cards.  I had gotten over the burglary. 
I worked multiple jobs at the time, two of which required me to come home at all different hours of the night.  I had never feared coming home late at night before.  I had never feared a specific race before.  I was always very open minded about everything.  When two hispanic men, whom I could not see their faces because of they were wearing bandanas over them, attacked me, I made me fear hispanic men of their shape and size.  In fact, just recently, two hispance men walked into the store.  I welcomed them as I always welcome ever customer.  One was about the shape and size of one of my attackers.  He gave me an odd look.  I almost ran to the back of the store and hid in the break room!  After the thought crossed my mind, I reminded myself how ridculous that would be, and kept sitting where I was.  
I know these thoughts are ridiculous.  I'm sure someone else whose been through an attack of any kind would have the same kind of thoughts.  I have since moved to a whole new apartment complex.  Recently, we've been told to be careful due to burglaries that have happened during the daytime.  That is how the whole thing started in the old apartment complex.  I still have nights when I get home after dark, and I can't get out of my car.  I have to call my boyfriend to come out and walk my in.  I have nights when I have to force myself out of my car.  Every car in the neighborhood is suspicious, because I don't recognize them all yet.  I also know that I can't live my life in fear of a specific gender of a race.  The two or three men involved, I think there was a driver also, have still not been caught, as far as I know.  They have hit other apartment complexes in the area.  They could still attack someone my current apartment complex, which is only a few miles away from my old one. 
I just have to continue living.  Everyone has these life changing disasters.  The question is, how does one let it effect and affect his or her life?  I'm thankful for my sister that picked me up at 3:30 in the morning.  I spent a couple weeks on B's couch.  I'm really thankful that he and his roomate let me stay for that long.  After that, I tried to move and and move back home.  Since it was the middle of January, it was hard to go back even during the day time to pack clothes and to check on the kitty.  It made me so nervous.  After a while, the nervousness started to get better.  I also met my boyfriend, which has helped me out a lot.
This is my disaster.  I feel really sad for the people in Japan who have been dealing with the disasters since Friday, and that their disaster just continues with the over heating of the nuclear power plants.  I also feel sorry for the people and children of Haiti who are still suffering from the earthquakes that happened on January 13th last year.  Since this happened the same night as my robbery, it took me a while to realize how catastrophic the situation in Haiti was and is.
You can text JAPAN to 20222 to donate $10 to the Redcross.  Respond yes to the next text to confirm.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still so sorry that your robbery took place. I remember reading your facebook status and my jaw had dropped. I had to read it a few times and I think I was the first person to post. That is so scary, but I'm glad to hear that you are doing better. I would have probably ran into the break room or at least make sure they didn't see me when you saw those guys in the store.