Oh, seniors: Remember Chief Perotti’s charming notification emails in the fall of freshman year which somehow reinforced our theories of why it would never happen to us? But as crime seems to strike closer to home in New Haven, we’ve all had to get a bit more creative to justify our safety. Wednesday night, before sunset, my roommate’s friend was accosted by a man in a ski mask at the doorsteps of my apartment building on Park Street. Two days earlier three ladies beat up a grad student just down the block at 8:30 pm. It’s clear I’m not safe. But my mind will eternally grasp at straws to avoid that fact. The best way to pretend New Haven is safe? Lie to yourself! It’s fun! Here’s how I do it:
Crime notification, fall of 2007:
To the Members of the Yale Community,
Consistent with federal reporting requirements and in order to increase awareness of personal safety, I write to inform you that a graduate student was walking alone and accosted on some street far far away at some really unreasonable hour in some really unheard of part of the city. He was approached by woman in a red turban who lacerated him multiple times with milk crates. Isn’t that silly? So anyways, please be aware of your surroundings at all times, avoid walking alone after dark and make note of the emergency Blue Phones along the way.
(Note to all non-seniors: This actually happened in the spring of 2007. Well not the “kisses” part, but the lacerating-milk-crates-turban part did anyway. Crime was a sorta magical mystical mythical thing back in the day.)
Cristina’s freshman-year rationalization: Uhhhh. Duh. I’d never walk alone, never on that specific street and lord knows I’d never be a graduate student. I’m not nearly well-dressed or self-satisfied enough. Also, who doesn’t know how to avoid the laceration-inducing blow of a milk crate?
Three years later, crime notification, spring of 2011:
To the Members of the Yale Community,
A girl of half-Argentinean, half-Midwestern descent was accosted in the very center of Elm and York at 3:29 p.m. while she was diaga-crossing to avoid the Flower Lady. The victim, who has a totally unique birth mark on the back of her left leg and has two different-sized thumbs, was listening to Rihanna’s “What’s My Name,” one of two songs on her iPod, when the attack occurred. The student was coming home from L2 Portuguese where she had just received the worst grade of her Yale career for basically taking the whole test in Spanish. Her teacher insists the two languages are not the same thing, but the student still has her doubts (disculpa, profesora Marta). By no means was she walking alone; every friend or family member she has ever known was walking with her at that very moment. Nelson Mandela and the ghost of Elvis Presley were there too.
The assailant, wearing an adorable tweed blazer, delicate sterling silver jewelry and red glasses perched atop her ski mask, was undeniably Dean Mary Miller. She made away with the student’s laptop and every worldly possession of any value to her (every copy of every baby photo, her grandmother’s bridal veil and her Yale ID), all of which she happened to be carrying.
So, uh, yeah. Best of luck kids, I guess. There doesn’t seem to be much more I or you can do. Maybe try humming “Bah-bah-Blacksheep” when you’re scared? Also, Altoids are a tasty treat that make me feel good when I’m down.
Chief Bad News Bears Higgins
Cristina: Uhhhh. Duh. Who is this girl? How could she be so reckless? I’d never do any of that stuff … ever. First of all, I never really avoid the Flower Lady, I’m just always in a big hurry, so that’s not fair. (Either way, I pray she doesn’t have a GoogleAlert on her pseudonym.) Also, everyone knows that Portuguese and Spanish are toooootally diferente (was that in Spanish or Portuguese? You’ll never know, nor will I). I mean yeah, I have that birthmark and those thumbs, and that exact same ethnic makeup, but really this girl is totally different from me. She sounds like an idiot. I would never listen to the same Rihanna song eight times a day on my iPod, because that’s not what well-adjusted people do. … Who would do that? I’m totally safe. Who travels on New Haven streets at times that end in prime-numbered digits? You’re just asking for it. Seriously. I’m fine.
Now that I’ve thoroughly offended every Brazilian and insinuated that the lovely Dean Mary Miller is behind most New Haven muggings (think about it, it makes sense), let me say this: Please, be careful, kids. Take the Minibus. New Haven, like the Internet, is a scary place. And Yale: The Minibus sucks. Most kids won’t wait two hours for a ride at 3 a.m. Please make it easier for us to be safe in a city that isn’t. Maybe just start by giving students police batons from Charlie Chaplin movies? That might be more effective.