On Friday evening, sometime after midnight, I was accosted around Church and 17th by a man in a hoodie sweatshirt. He snatched my purse and went running like the dickens. In my state of shock, my initial reaction was to run after him, and scream at him, "STOP! STOP! STOP!" But he was gone before my legs could carry me anywhere near him, and as I looked around the intersection, I saw no one else in sight who could tackle him for me and retrieve my lost handbag and the things inside that mattered to me: my cute kittycat wallet, my cell phone that purred, and my little notebook in which I jotted down thoughts and observations that come to mind as I am out and about.
When I realized that the running and screaming were hopeless, and that I would never see the man in the hoodie and my purse and my belongings ever again, I sat down on the concrete and sobbed.
I don't think I was sobbing for the loss of the material things. In the now five times that I have been robbed in the last three years, I have learned not to attach myself to material things. They are fleeting, like so many things in life, material and immaterial.
I think what I found so tragic about that moment is that in one instant, you have something in your grasp, and then in another instant, it unexpectedly escapes your clutch. You lose the sensation of it in your hands, how it feels there, the weight of it, its texture. Your hands are empty and it is gone. And no matter how fast you try to run after it, or scream at it to not go away, there's nothing you can do to bring it back.
This morning my brother called me on my new phone that doesn't purr. Our friend Stanford who was in my brother's class passed away last night. He was too young to leave us, and he will be missed and fondly remembered.