Life in New Orleans

Last night, I was robbed at gunpoint.

Its a traumatic experience. For me, its a little more traumatic because I hate to have control taken from me. There is no more effective way to dominate someone than to point a gun at them.

“Give me what you got,” he said as he flashed the gun. And so, I pulled out my wallet and looked hard at the $30 I had just taken from the ATM. I was so slow in handing him the money (not the wallet, mind you), that Alexis began to get worried that I was going to do something crazy. (Later, in talking about the situation, she called me a “loose cannon”. Which is why I love her so much.)

After he took the money, he and his friend walked slowly down the street. A bum who happened to be passing by dropped his bag of trash and its contents scattered. He was oblivious to the whole thing. The stellar pair turned left at the next cross street so I went down the block the other way and turned right.

As I turned the corner, sure enough, there they were. They saw me and ran. The first guy turned left and his buddy shouted “Turn right, right!” and they both disappeared around the corner.

That’s the last I saw of them. And now I’m mad. I hate stuff like that. Crazy goons ruining the first night out Alexis and I have had in a long time. Alexis getting scared so that she won’t venture out after dark anymore. I hate that. I hate how they take control with a few simple words and the flash of a gun.

So right now, I’ve got this big psychological battle going on in my head. I’m trying to avoid dwelling too much on how I could have psyched them out by ignoring them the whole time. How we should have run when we saw them make the too obvious move to close us in. I’m trying to avoid all that.

Instead, I’m remembering why I choose to live in this city in the first place. Part of it is neighbors that we have — the people who were watching our kids that night, who share a border with our backyard, who are godparents to our oldest daughter, whose grandchildren are lifted over the fence to play with our kids. Those are some great people and this experience helps me understand how much I value that particular relationship.

We know practically everyone on our city block. Our kids play with theirs and we’ve grown much closer over the past few years than a lot of people have the opportunity to do nowadays. From what I’ve seen and heard, its common to not even talk to your neighbors, but here we have a block full of neighbors that we talk to on a regular basis.

When I tell someone from outside the city what happened, they ask “When are you going to move?” Or “That’s why I moved!” But, why should I let a couple of two-bit punks — dishonest men scared to face me on a crowded street — why should I let them ruin the relationships I have where I live? Why give up the people here for $30?

Whom should I fear?

2 thoughts on “Life in New Orleans”

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