Down and Out (of Music) in Santiago...
March 7, 2007

Today sucked. It sucked major cajones, to be exact.

Hmmm… Where do I start? Should I just say what happened? Or tell the story leading up to it?

Well, I was robbed. At first I didn’t really know what to call it. After all, ‘robbed’ sounds a bit dramatic. So I went to www.dictionary.
com and saw that the definition of the word is ‘seizing possessions that belong to others’ and another definition is ‘to take something
from someone by unlawful force’. And, well, that’s what happened. Hence, I was robbed.

I was out and about around 3pm today (which is a busy time as it is still lunch hour). I was in the center of the city making my way
out to the Mercado Centrale. I guess I should point out that I was listening to my ipod. As I was waiting for the light to change so
that I could cross the street, out of nowhere I feel someone putting their hands on my ipod. Of course it took a second or two to
react because I had no idea what was going on. There were two guys, I know that now. And they had a running start. But I held on
tight. Probably too tight since there were a couple seconds when we were both grasping it. Because he was running, he had
momentum and I kind of moved along with him for a split second as we were both attached to it. But then he ended up seizing it and
I ended up face-down on the sidewalk. Luckily my arm broke the fall but my body still skidded a bit which caused skin to be
removed from my arm. But who cares about that. I watched the two guys run off. The masses were just looking at me with a sense
of sympathy and pity. Nobody could go after these guys as they had a good amount of speed even before they grabbed for the ipod.
So I was left with my earbuds in my ears while I got back up to my feet. I didn’t feel a tinge of embarrassment even with
everybody there. I was just in a state of ‘What the f&*% just happened?!?’

I got up. At this point at least ten people came around me and were speaking a-mile-a-minute Spanish. When there was a slight
break all I could say was “Hablo un poquito español.” They kept speaking in disgust amongst each other (I was included in the
conversation but couldn’t understand a thing).

Then a woman, Paola, (who spoke no English) told me I had to file a police report. She took thirty-minutes of her time to find the
police station for me and waited while she found a police officer that spoke English. She said that it was important that I do this
(though it was clear that the police didn’t feel this way – though they were still nice). I guess it’s useful if I want to report this to my
insurance company which would be absolutely pointless as I am sure the deductible would be more than the ipod is worth. When
that was done, Paola walked me to the Mercado Centrale. At this point we exchanged kisses good-bye (mine came along with a huge
‘Muchas gracias’).

I am all about ‘perspective’ these days. So I am going to put this whole situation into perspective right now…

It sucks that: I no longer have my ipod.
But on the bright side: I still have my messenger bag, camera and wallet (which is far more important).

It sucks that: I got fully taken down on the street in broad daylight.
But on the bright side: I am much happier that it was me rather than an older person. My heart would break to see someone
my parents age have this happen to them. Just to think if my mom ever had to experience this, I would cry. Seriously. This way, I
was just pissed. Better than being sad.

It sucks that: There are people like this.
But on the bright side: I was exposed to people who were so nice and caring and went out of their way for me. It’s far more
important to remember that there are people like this out in the world. And at least there were no weapons involved so I didn’t
have to be traumatized.

It sucks that: The motherboard on my computer is broken and, therefore, I can’t even buy  a new ipod to put my music onto
since my computer can’t recognize any hardware until it gets fixed.
But on the bright side: My computer is still able to act like a stereo when I have it turned on. While it won’t be as often, I will
still have times where I can listen to songs I’m craving to hear.

It sucks that: My earbuds were casualties as well. I thought I at least had those. But, no. They ended up getting ripped out at the
But on the bright side: I still have my complimentary earphones from my goodie bag on the Kingfisher flight I took in India.

It sucks that: I have to now buy a new ipod.
But on the bright side: I was already contemplating buying a new one. Now it’s a no-brainer.

It sucks that: I got robbed for the first time in my life.
But on the bright side: It was a good wake-up call. Maybe (probably) one that I needed as I was beginning to feel too

It sucks that: I have nothing to listen to on bus rides any more.
But on the bright side: There were really only about five hours of listening pleasure since the battery’s life was decreasing.
Maybe this will also be a reason to make more splurges on airplane travel???

It sucks that: The bastard now has an ipod.
But on the bright side: The ipod has been a piece of crap for a while, giving out on me when I need it most. Hopefully it realizes
how loyal I was to it and will decide to once-and-for-all completely die on the ‘hijo de puta’ (a guy at the Mercado Centrale taught
me how to say that he was a ‘son of a bitch’).

It sucks that: I had my ipod in my hand, as I normally keep it in my bag while listening to it.
But on the bright side: I have learned for the next time I have an ipod that I will not have it on ‘shuffle’ while walking through a
city. I will listen to a playlist where I know that I will want to listen to all of the songs without having to constantly skip over
something I’m not in the mood for.

It sucks that: I won’t have music to make long walks go by quicker.
But on the bright side: I will be more aware of my surroundings now.

It sucks that: I had to experience something being stolen.
But on the bright side: At least there’s a story to be told. How boring would it be if I had just been pickpocketed? I would be left
to wonder when it happened, etc. There’s no second-guessing when
this happened!

So perspective is a good thing.

I was even able to laugh just minutes later while chatting away with some guys at the Mercado Centrale. Two men that worked at a
restaurant were talking to me. They found out I was from San Francisco. One of the men had been there and he brought up
something about it being a ‘gay city’. The other guy asked if it was true. I told him that there is a pretty large gay population. But
then the guy explained that it’s very accepted unlike here. I guess if someone knows that somebody is gay out here, they will start
beating him up. Then they were talking more about it and the guy was saying that straight people and gay people could be friends
back in San Francisco. They were speaking a bit of Spanish as well but I was nodding in agreement with what the one man was
saying. Then the man that had been to San Francisco left. I was talking to the other guy and he started talking about a club. And
then it clicked to me what he was saying. He was telling me that he knew of a gay club somewhere in the area where it was safe to
go to. He was telling me that it would be safe for
me to go to. I said “Wait, wait, wait. I’m not gay.” (then I immediately felt like
Seinfeld by wanting to say “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”). He looked so embarrassed. He thought that I had said that
I was (I’m thinking my nodding along while they were talking about San Francisco had something to do with that). He just kept
apologizing and apologizing. I couldn’t stop laughing. I thought it was hilarious.

I decided I needed to pamper myself a little later on in the day. This was just an excuse…but a pretty darn good one, if you ask me!
I went to the Grand Hyatt and had ‘onces' (i.e. afternoon tea) (which is actually more like ‘evening tea’ considering the timing of it).
I sat with a book, tea and some great little pastries. When thinking about the events of the day, it all seemed like such a blur. It was
only when I felt the pain of my skinned arm that it seemed a bit more real. That, and when I had to walk home for two hours (as it
was now rush hour on the metro and there was no way I was dealing with that again!) with no music…
Back to Chile.
My police report and broken earbuds.