The thing with burglaries is how they change your behaviour. A friend I once had, told me about when she worked at a guesthouse and there was a conference being held there that weekend. I forget what her function was, but after the evening’s responsibilities were over, she returned to her rooms, only to become aware that there was someone in her bathroom. Without looking any further into the matter, she turned and went for help.
The security company was called and went to her apartment with her, to find a man in her bath, completely naked and in an impressive state of excitement. Naturally he was bundled out of there, with a new set of bruises he didn’t have at the beginning of his adventure, and everyone went to sleep. She refused all offers of counselling, and insisted that she was absolutely fine, until the counsellor said to her a few weeks later, ‘Is there anything you do now, that you didn’t do before, or is there anything you don’t do now, that you did before?’
It was a telling question. There were plenty of things she’d stopped doing or had now started doing since the incident. And the same is true here. Being mugged or burgled is a horrendous experience. And it changes one’s behaviour. Sometimes for the better, in that it does make one more conscious. For one thing, since I resisted some muggers around a year ago, I tend not to be shy about turning around to see who’s behind me. I use reflections in shop windows, or peripheral vision… not always, but usually. It matters less now what they think, if I look worried, or scared, or whatever, if I want to check, I’ll turn and stare, cross the road, stop to look at something until they’re past… Paranoia can be a good thing, and sad to say, it’s like a tax you pay for living here in this beautiful place, where the gap between the haves and the have-nots becomes ever bigger, as does the drug problem, especially tik (crystal meth) which makes people more desperate and ever more fearless and brazen.
Some changes here since the burglary are along those lines – the windows that used to be open are now closed. I like to think I’m paranoid when I obsessively shut my windows before going out, but this incident has only entrenched that. There is a sadness in the air, it feels as if we’re at a funeral. Then there are the constant videos that run in the mind. The ‘if onlys’ and the ‘I should haves’. But the best thing is that there were so many things that could have been different on the morning. Some valuables that could have been taken, were not there at the time to be taken, like when I had my laptop on the back of my bike on the afternoon of my burglary, so in that instance I had something to work with and get my work out. W drove around looking for the burglars yesterday after discovering the loss, and actually found one dude sauntering down the road with their nappy-bag, which they use for changing the baby. Inside was valuable work, irreplaceable without filming everything all over again, (he’s a video editor among other things) as well as an external hard drive and something called a ‘drobo’ from which the replacement machine can be rebooted and all the backed up work put back in place. So precious hours and days’ worth of hard work was recovered, as well as programmes and software to run the new machine and get back to work.
So – after such a burglary, robbery, attack, or whatever, one hears oneself saying the famous South African mantra – ‘Well, we’re lucky that…’
If anything, experiencing something like this is a powerful igniter of gratitude. Isn’t that strange? I think it says something beautiful about the resilience of South Africans. Being insured also helps of course… I phoned my insurance company almost immediately yesterday to reinstate my insurance which I’d allowed to lapse because times were hard. They’re still hard, but it certainly helps to realise that they could suddenly become a whole lot worse.
Count your blessings, insure them, sleep well. Oh and back up your work while you’re about it. Sweet dreams…
What’s with the security gate…Oh my God oh my God oh my God what —
my computer’s gone – my drawing tablet – my mind is snapping – I can’t bear it –
Oh — I didn’t cancel the insurance like I meant to.