Sunday, March 21, 2010

Please, don't tell my Grandma!

As much as I hoped to never experience crime firsthand, I also moved here with the awareness that it was more likely that I would...eventually. Frankly, I am surprised that I've made it as long as I have: one year and 359 days, just five days shy of my 2nd anniversary here in Porto Alegre.

So I'm walking back from the park today along a common route. It's a few minutes past one in the afternoon. I'm listening to Face to Face and feeling unusually irritable for a gorgeous Sunday (which I attribute to the depressive after-effects of Saturday nights' indulgences).

I made eye contact with one of the two guys walking toward me on the sidewalk. The taller one. He had weird eyes. Not sure if they were pretty or ugly but they had my attention nevertheless, for a couple of seconds. Then, in a Blink moment, I knew they were going to rob me. I darted my eyes to the other one, who was my height, just as he raised his shirt to reveal a large knife tucked into his pants. He lifted it, to show me that it was big and he was serious. Got it.

A fraction of time later, both of them standing in what would officially be ruled by Johnny as "my dance space," the armed one instructed me not to scream. The taller one started looking in my fannypack. (Yes, I have one. Thiera had delighted in mailing it to me when I told her I needed it, specifically, to avoid this sort of event during my long walks. Apparently, it was unfashionable and useless. What's more, the ladrões didn't take it.) I helped him retrieve my iPod only too willingly: it was three years old and engraved with a loving sentiment about my ex-boyfriend. I've just been waiting for it to die to open the new one I got as a backup. Good riddance.

I muttered some sort of apology for having only R$7 and some change (less than US$5) in my pockets, and asked them, meekly, if I could keep my keys.

It was over in seconds and I walked a good 30 feet in the opposite direction, heart pounding in chest, before I turned around to see them crossing the street.

Gratitude. Nothing better than that to improve a sour mood.

Loquinha Gauchinha