It’s Not Like TV

This is the former township now called Bo-Kaap. It means “Above the Cape.” On the hill looking over Cape Town from the Northwest, it’s my favorite section of the city. This is the center of the Malay Culture here. Painted in such bright and beautiful colors, these houses pretty much adorn that part of Cape Town. I love them.

The Nurul Islam Mosque, located in Bo-Kaap, has been there since 1844.

I love the people that live there. The shops and restaurants are so welcoming. I feel safe there. It’s the only place in Cape Town where I feel safe. In the Muslim community.

Sort of ironic for an American, hey? (“hey” is good at the end of a sentence here.:)

I had a number of other photos I wanted to show you of Bo-Kaap, but my phone was taken from me yesterday at gunpoint. Yes. I said gunpoint.

I had dropped some things off at our storage locker out near the airport, and headed off toward Somerset West for a hike in the Helderberg Reserve.

I pulled my car over on the entrance ramp to the N2 from Borchards Quarry Road. It had made all those noises a phone makes from a group text gone wild.

I thought it better to check it before I was going 120kph on the N2. Forgot where I was. I forgot everything important.

I let my guard down.

I was texting and suddenly a man was at my window banging on the glass with a 9mm pistol.

It was not pretend. It was not like TV. It was real; a gun pointed at my chest. I was not in charge of this scene. There was only survival in my mind. It was adrenaline and the primal section of my brain.

“Phone!” was all he said, while waving the gun at me. I lowered the window just enough, and passed it out. “Wallet!” he said.

I could not remember where my wallet was! In my backpack on the seat? In the pocket of my hiking shorts?

I was projecting all the time about the future of this encounter. I had a bad feeling. Phone. Wallet. Then the car. Then me. Shot. I had seen his face.

By a calm voice in my head and my heart, I was guided to the decision to run. Not my voice. I was not myself. I had no idea what to do.

I leaned down like I was getting my wallet, I guess, and I slid the car into first, let the clutch out, and floored the gas pedal.

The wheels spun and dust and dirt flew as I ducked down and pulled away fast.

He didn’t shoot. I didn’t look back. It didn’t occur to me to look back. I was alive.

The next hour was surreal. I went to the next exit going West and exited, turned around and headed back toward Borchards Quarry Road, where the incident had occurred.

I didn’t even look over to where it had happened. It didn’t occur to me to look. I just drove.

Rush hour, stop and go traffic. I listened to the radio, I think.

I guess I was trying to make my life normal again.

I drove to the Spar in Devil’s Peak, to get 2 small ciabatta rolls for Landi. It was on my way and they are her favorites. Crazy.

I bought some food for me. I can’t remember what.

Then I drove carefully through town, back to Bantry Bay.

I often change my plans in midstream when I am by myself, so Landi wasn’t too surprised to see me back too soon.

I explained to her what happened.

Then I contacted the two cousins that I was to hike with on Saturday. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hike and didn’t want to let them down.

I informed a few people as to what had happened. My best friends. I texted a friend who wrote back, “Do you want me to call you?”

I said no. I knew I would not be able to talk. My eyes began to tear up.

I didn’t have a working phone anyway. I was on Wifi with my American iPhone.

I haven’t cried yet. I haven’t really felt yet. I’m seeing a counselor early next week.

I am going to shower now and go to an AA meeting, then meet my cousins for breakfast at my favorite spot. Lazari.

It is day 3. I didn’t drink. That is always first and foremost in my life. Don’t drink under any and all conditions.

It wasn’t an issue. I didn’t drink yesterday and I won’t drink today.

Tonight is the memorial gathering for my dear murdered nephew Daniel. Tomorrow it will be exactly a year since he was killed in Cape Town, while helping two women being mugged.

This is enough now. Enough violence for me. Enough for a lifetime.

I will never watch a TV show again, with a gun scene, in the same way.

Gun control comes to mind. Impossible. An impossible task, removing guns from our world.

I own a pistol. I’m giving it back to my brother. I don’t want to arm myself. Isn’t that interesting? I don’t want a gun anywhere near me again.

All In

9 thoughts on “It’s Not Like TV

  1. Damn, Doug. what a crappy thing to have happen. Glad you are alive and well. That creep must have been pretty surprised when you took off like that…quick thinking, my man

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry about your experience, Doug! You should talk w/Ann bc she & a fellow nurse friend were held up at gunpoint by 3 guys in Baltimore. They had just gotten out of Ann’s car & were on their way into John’s Hopkins Hospital where they worked. The thugs took their purses and car keys – they had seen where Ann parked so took her car too which was later recovered. Ann was terrified bc they had her wallet w/ her home address in it but, fortunately, no problem there. Ann identified the guys in a police line-up & testified against them in court which other victims had been afraid to do. the police were relieved to finally have them convicted + jailed bc that was about the 10th or 12th crime those same guys had committed. I was proud of Ann for seeing it through! Glad you are seeing someone to help you through this trauma! xoxo Norma

    Sent from my iPad



  3. Everything you did was right decision. You are alive and now can create more possibility in your life. Embrace and acknowledge your self Doug and share your story. And let the tears come. Then one day there will be no tears. And then you will smile. LOVE you man. Balls on the trail ! Cazzie


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