I have never claimed to possess the future-telling abilities of one Raven Baxter from Disney Channel’s televisual masterpiece That’s So Raven, but if the following story is not an legitimate example of a premonition, then I don’t know what is.
Several months ago, I had a dream that I was walking down the street when a homeless man tried to mug me. “I literally have no money to my name,” I told him. I had no cash on me, and the debit or credit cards I had on me were worth next to nothing, because I had no money in my bank account. The man took pity on me, told me he was sorry about my situation, and let me go. “I’ve got to get my shit together,” I thought as I awoke from this not-so-distant nightmare.
Fast-forward to a few weeks later. I am standing in a crowded cafe line in New York City, expecting to acquire some sort of delicious panini before galavanting around Union Square with my poor, unassuming friend Molly who accompanied me that day. I reach into my bag for my wallet, and when my hand does not immediately find it, my stomach drops in that way that lets one know that shit is about to get real. “Where is my wallet.” I say it to Molly as a statement, rather than a question, as I whip around. I immediately flash back to the moment on the train 30 minutes earlier when some guy rudely brushed against me. Shit. Shit Shit Shit Shit Fucker. Son of a bitch. FUCK. All of these profanities were given life by my vocal chords as I decorate the street with the contents of my bag, searching for something that I know is quite gone.
Molly and I spend the next seven hours playing a rousing game of hide and seek with the New York Police Department, in which we tirelessly seek out the correct precinct and it consistently hides from us. After finally getting the correct address, we traipse around bewildered for a little while before we just say “fuck it” and decide to take a cab. Because as I’m learning, that’s what you do when you are in New York and you’re frustrated and poor. You say “fuck it” and take a cab.
Our experience at the police station is straight out of an SNL skit. I keep looking around expecting to spot Lorne Michaels or a PA holding up cue cards, but neither could be found. I’ll start with the receptionist. Let’s call her Marge. Marge wears a highly offensive shade of pink, iridescent lipstick that occasionally makes its way onto her teeth. Her hair is both far too blonde and far too long to be in any way natural, and either she’s wearing bump-it or this woman has found a way to evade all laws of gravity. She couldn’t have stood more than 5’3, despite teetering on her enormous heels. Her hot pink blazer says both, “I am a professional lady” and “I have definitely looked to the New Jersey housewives for style tips.”
Then there are the cops. I have no recollection of their names, but for the purposes of this story, I’ll call them Tony 1, Tony 2, and Tony 3. I’m not sure if this was actually the case, but in my mind they all have beer guts and speak in thick Brooklyn accents. Tony 1 takes my information, commenting on the Italian-ness of my last name. He is probably in the middle of telling me a story about his overbearing mother and her world-famous baked ziti, but I am too distracted by the woman coming through the front door. At least, all signs point towards the fact that she is a human woman. She is wearing human woman clothes, carrying a human woman purse. Dressed to the nines, actually. She has one of those fancy little fur hats and a long, dramatic coat. However, the noises she is making are far from human. I want to say she is wheezing, and I am fairly certain she is going to die. “Um, I am fairly certain she is going to die,” I whisper to Molly. We both stare, wide-eyed and speechless, as this elderly woman wheezes and coughs, practically crawling her way up the stairs into the lobby. Tonys 1-3 look unimpressed. Tony 2 rolls his eyes. Tony 1 mutters under his breath. “Jesus Christ.”
The woman sits down and begins speaking frantically in a tongue not yet known to mankind. Marge tries desperately to decipher what she is saying. “Okay, tell me what happened.” “Would you like us to call you an ambulance?” She points a manicured finger in the direction of her desk phone. I really have to hand it to Marge. She is far more patient than I, or the Tonys for that matter. They instead inform us that this is a regular occurrence and return to their Domino’s pizza that has recently been delivered. Molly and I try desperately not to make eye contact for fear that we would come to the attention of this clearly insane woman. I haven’t eaten in a very long time and I am seriously considering the possibility that this is a hunger-induced hallucination. Once the Tonys make sure they have fully finished their dinner, they decide they can carve out some time to help me, and Tony 3 brings me upstairs to file a report.
Molly and I finally get out of there and are resting/charging our phones in a nearby Starbucks when a homeless man approaches us. “Could either of you ladies spare some change?” I manage to wearily shake my head. “We actually just had a wallet stolen and have no money on us, I am so sorry,” Molly says. “Oh, that is awful, I am so sorry!” The man responds. “Well, thank you for your time and I hope everything gets sorted out.” He walks away and I am left dumb-founded, thinking only of my dream from a few weeks earlier. I mean, this guy didn’t try to mug me, but it is basically the same scenario. Bottom line: a homeless man feels bad for me. “This,” I think to myself, “is rock bottom.”
One of the many casualties of this day is that Molly is now significantly late to the shift she is supposed to work that night. She decides to tell her boss that it was her wallet that got stolen, so she’d have a valid reason for showing up late. After killing some time with friends in Brooklyn while Molly is at work, I say “fuck it” and take a cab to meet her back at her restaurant. At this point, my mind is muddled and I am probably dehydrated. So when Molly’s coworker pulls her into a comforting side-hug and remarks, “This poor girl!”, it takes me a minute to remember that everyone here is supposed to think that she had her wallet stolen today. I nod slowly and glance over at Molly, trying to think of something to say that would both highlight the shittastic nature of the day and remove myself as the direct victim. What I come up with has become the go-to, trademark phrase whenever we retell this story, so it makes sense to conclude with it.
I let out a sigh. “It has been a trying day.”