In Which I Defeat Evil
My friend K called at 4 PM
K: I have an extra ticket to U2 tonight. Wanna go?
M: Does Edward have a creepy and obsessive love for Bella?
M: Yes, of course I want to go!
This is how I found myself on MARTA at 7 PM on a Tuesday.
I chose a window seat and settled in for the thirty minute commute, my eyes focused on the screen of my iPhone to a) avoid eye contact with strangers and b) check the all important Facebook status updates. My fellow travelers engaged in similar pursuits, many of them young and dressed in skinny jeans, lightweight scarfs, and Chucks– definite concert goers. My gaze shifted to a tall blond guy in a nice black jacket laughing with his scruffier friend. My imagination ran wild as I entertained a brief fantasy in which he would end up sitting next to me at the concert and we would recognize each other from the train and find out we have everything in common and get married. But then I got distracted by a guy with an impressive rat-tail and snapped a picture to e-mail to my friend.
Then the train started to slow as we approached our stop. Around me, passengers gathered belongings and stood to prepare for departure. I joined them, iPhone and MARTA card clutched in my hand. I planned to call my friend K when I emerged from the train.
Then, as the train screeched to a halt, a firm hand grabbed at mine, and I suddenly felt as if part of my soul was torn asunder.
No, the tall blond did not reach for my hand in a portent of our impending romance.
Instead, a short punkish middle schooler grabbed my iPhone and spun for the exit on the opposite side of the train.
A trance fell over me. The spirit of an Amazonian warrior gathered in my gut and spread through my body with white hot intensity of a thousand suns. I heard the echoing battle cry sounding my head.
You can take my MARTA card. You can take my money. You can even take my shoes.
But you will not take my motherfuckin’ cell phone.
With the previously untapped reflexes of a well trained ninja, I snatched the back of his loose jacket in my fists and yelled, “You took my phone! Give it back!”
And then louder and with more force, “HE TOOK MY PHONE! GIVE IT BACK! GIVE IT BACK! HE HAS MY PHONE! GIVE ME BACK MY PHONE RIGHT NOW!!”
There might have been expletives. I don’t know. I kind of blacked out.
Perhaps shocked by the unprecedented amount of strength found in a 5’5” blond girl wearing pink shoes and a purple sweater, the little jerkface stumbled back. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to give me a chance.
I continued to yell and held on to his jacket with the grip of a woman holding a lifeline. And I was- without my cell phone, I’m basically an island.
Around me, the peace-loving, good-works-doing U2 fans sprang to my defense. My tall blond intervened, blocking the exit and revealing a European accent as he growled, “Geev back her vone, man.”
A balding man wearing the shirt of the band he was going to see (alias “That Guy”) stepped forward, menace quivering in his face, “Not cool, dude. Give her the phone.”
A few other figures emerged from the crowd, surrounding my would-be mugger and blocking him from his jeering hoodlum friends.
The fool tried to throw us off, posturing and rolling his eyes, “I don’t have nothin’. I didn’t do nothin’.”
“But I see it!” I screeched, quivering with indignation and pointing to the tell-tale phone, “I see it in your hand right now!” I went on to state the obvious yet again. “He took my phone! I saw him take it! GIVE IT BACK!”
He tried to push through the crowd blocking the train door, and my European John Wayne reached into his little thieving hand and took back my phone. He handed it to me with the stern direction, “Geet out ov here.”
Don’t have to tell me twice, Viggo.
The fricassee stumbled off the train and I bolted up the stairs where a kind Hispanic couple pushed me in front of them and told me to walk with them to the concert. The guy introduced himself as Oscar and told me I would be safe.
My heart hammered and I clutched my phone to my chest. Behind me, the wannabe thugs confronted my vengeance mob, “Boy, you don’t know what you’re startin’.”
Please, the European alone was at least 2 feet taller than Sticky Fingers.
The balding U2 fan barks, “That’s no way to treat a lady! Stay back!”
The rest of the exchange was lost as I reached the top of the stairs with my new protectors and we raced for the concert.
The blond European caught up with us and asked, “Are vu alvright?”
“Yes, yes. Thank you so much! That was so wonderful of you!”
“It vas nuzzing. I zought zeez kind of zings only happen in my country. I zought Americans do not do zeez zings.”
I laughed, still shaking and clutching my phone like a precious jewel, “Well, it does!”
“Vu are okay, zen? Zey will vak you?”
You may be disappointed to learn that I did not end up riding off into the sunset with my savior, but it turns out he smelled a little bit up close and I just don’t think I could tolerate someone who pronounces everything with Z’s for the rest of my life.
I met my friends inside the concert hall, and I bounded toward them with the eagerness of a kindergarder with a puppy to share for show and tell and trilled, “You guys, I kind of got mugged, and it was awesome!”
In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have grabbed the guy. What if he had a knife? What if his friends weren’t a band of incompetent middle school thugs? But I did react, and I feel kind of empowered about things. I also feel some restoration in humanity. True, some kid tried to take my phone, but at least 6 strangers stepped forward to help.
I’d say the odds are with the heroes on this one.
And a side note to my UVA friends…. maybe I wouldn’t be the first to die if we all got stranded on an island. Maybe I would turn out to be wily and aggressive when confronted with adversity. Maybe I’m kind of secretly awesome.