Operation Oysterhood: 23 June

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Poor Topolino

“No! No! Nooooo! NO! NOOOOO! NO!” I just kept screaming, and hooting, and fighting. Eventually, the light turned green, the path ahead cleared, and I just charged forward and escaped.

It all happened so quickly. The smash, the passenger’s window splintering and disappearing, the grabbing hand reaching for my handbag. But I was quicker. I don’t know how. It was probably all the rehearsing I had done in my head for exactly this kind of eventuality. I call it pre-traumatic stress syndrome, all this mental preparing for the worst-case scenarios.

Anyway, I grabbed the bag, stuck it under my right arm and just screamed “NO” on repeat, and kept banging on my hooter and fought off the intruder’s arm trying to reach the bag through the smashed window and over my body. He scratched me, but not seriously. Then, finally, the road opened in front, apart from one white car blocking my way sideways. I nearly drove into it, braked, drove around it and just ran for my life. I am not sure whether the white car was part of the setup or someone trying clumsily to help me. I know at least one other car stopped on the side and watched it all happen, but these were just glimpses, vague memories. All I really remember is my own screaming and the hooting and the brown eyes of the attacker. Although I would never be able to identify him. The police asked me for details and I could not give them anything beyond the eyes.

I was on my way to Karavan Press’s distributor. Still in shock and shaking, I decided to continue to the warehouse, because I knew that they would help me. I did not know how, but I knew they would. And they did. Phil disinfected my small scratch and put a plaster on it. Sia patched up Topolino’s window with cardboard, so that I would have some protection from the wind and rain going home. They listened, talked me through what I needed to do next, and gave me the books I came to pick up. Phil offered to accompany me to the police station, but by the time I was ready to leave, I was feeling calm enough to continue on my own. I drove straight to my police station and opened a case, then I went home and parked poor Topolino in the garage and throughout reported to Phil about my progress (he made me promise I would). Then, although I had texted her not to come, a friend arrived for a scheduled meeting (she did not get the message on time). It was actually a relief, to sit and talk books and our publishing plans. My body, all tense to the point of abdominal pain, started to relax. She brought books and chocolates and good stories. And was kind and understanding.

I then let my love know, phoned my family in Austria, contacted my insurance company, and waited until my love could pick me up after work for a comfort dinner a HARU. I had no time or headspace to organise food for us, but I knew a HARU burger and a glass of red wine would make me feel better. My love’s hugs and reassurances were like a plaster for the soul.

A hot shower, a Skype call with Mom and Krystian, a warm bed with The Cats. I feel like a survivor. I keep looking at my handbag – one I have had for over a decade, with all my documents, an external hard drive, my twenty-year-old wallet with all my cards and some cash in it, and all I can think of is that I managed to somehow save it – my EU passport is still my own and I can use it. Right now, it is an extremely appealing consideration.

I know how lucky I was. No knife. No gun. Just a greedy arm was pointed at me and my belongings. But what if …

The attacker did not wear a mask. Neither did I. Throughout the attack, one of my masks was next to me on the passenger’s seat, all covered in glass (I took the above photograph only once I was back home). But I can’t imagine that the few seconds of the attempted robbery could have put me in danger of contracting Covid-19. A doctor friend assured me that the scratch is also not a problem. But there are no masks or plasters – not even Star Wars plasters – that will protect me against a weapon, against violence.

My abdomen still hurts despite a Myprodol and the hot shower. I either pulled a muscle or the tension of my entire body has decided to concentrate there. But I am writing in a warm bed, The Cats are watching over me, my love’s phone is not on silent in case I need to phone in the middle of the night, my alarm is on, Mama TV is running in the background. Not sure about sleep, but I know I will be okay. For now, though, I just want to cry a little and to thank my lucky stars. Topolino will be fixed and I will heal.

I am just so terribly tired. And scared. And so relieved that the fucker did not get my bag!

NO. Just NO.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


4 thoughts on “Operation Oysterhood: 23 June

  1. Bookruse

    What an awful experience Karina! I think everything is made worse because of the added covid fear…..I’m so sorry you had to go through this. Sending love and sunshine from Jhb …and socially distanced hugs. (I remember when I came down for the Open Book Fest another lifetime ago, Pamela Power gave me an instruction to give you a hug!)…..That was such a wonderful excuse to meet someone I really wanted to know. Love you lots.


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