Listening To Your Sixth Sense

It's been over 24 hours since three men made their best attempt at mugging me after I got off the bus on my way home from work. They failed, thank God. But I keep thinking about a couple of things:

1) Why did they pick me as their mark? -- I'm still not sure what the answer is to this one. Maybe because I looked so tired? Because I had a massive headache? They were inspired by the double rainbow we'd had a mere half hour earlier and thought they'd find someone with Irish heritage to mess with in case I was pals with the leprechaun and he'd hooked me up with the pot of gold?

2) How did
I know what was up so quickly? -- You ever get the feeling that someone is up to no good or is doing wrong, even if you haven't seen it yet? Well, I actually think I could feel these guy's intentions. People debate how much communication is non-verbal vs. verbal, but I've had enough of these sorts of experiences now (being mugged or people attempting to do so) that I think we can sense intention if your antennas are up. Call it bad vibes. Bad energy. Whatever it is, it's something that says louder than words, "I mean to do you harm."

When I stood up to get off the bus, I noticed them, and noticed how one jumped up and made his way to the door before me - he left his friends he was riding with to do that.

Hmm... if you're chilling with your homies, you're all going to get up and off the bus together. You wait for your friends. Instead, he went down the steps before me and made a big show of pretending to hold the automatic door open for me.

Right from that moment, I knew. It was the look in his eyes as he stood there fake-holding that door... THAT gave it away. He was trying to hide something but there was also a weird aggressiveness to him. Too many conflicting energies and it set off the hairs on the back of my neck.

His friends came off the bus behind me and the three followed me to the intersection a few yards away from the bus stop. I tested my vibe at the stoplight by pretending I was waiting to cross the street heading north. I stood there like I was waiting for a walk signal. They stood behind me facing the same direction. When the walk signal started flashing, I didn't move. And guess what, they didn't either. When I turned to wait for the walk signal to cross the street heading east instead, they turned too.

Once I started crossing the intersection, they followed. I walked uphill a couple car lengths and then jaywalked diagonally to the other side of the street. They followed.

I zigzagged back and forth across the street two more times and on the last one, only two of the guys crossed the street to follow me. The third darted ahead - I'm guessing in anticipation of me crossing back over to his side of the street - and if I'd done so, he would've been in front of me, his two buddies behind me - bingo. Trapped.

What did I do? I took off running uphill as fast as I could. What's the point of training for a marathon, putting in all this time running hills if I can't use that to save myself? The two guys on my side started running, too, so I darted through oncoming traffic while crossing another street and then lost them as I ran another two blocks uphill.

These are not bunny hills around here. They're steep and long - and even with all my training I think adrenaline and an angel watching over me helped me evade my would-be attackers. When I finally got to my destination - our local recreation center - my heart was ringing in my ears and I was out of breath. But I was OK and intact.

I don't know what they'd planned. I'm glad I didn't have to find out. I'm just glad I trusted myself enough to listen to the warning bells going off in my subconscious.

How often do we get those warning bells but we proceed anyway, brushing off the reaction of our "sixth sense" when we should pay attention to it more than ever? It's too easy to say to yourself, "Oh, I'm just tired," or "Oh, I'm being prejudiced to be wary of three guys in their 20s." What if I'd been worried those guys would be offended that I crossed the street?

We women are trained to think like that. Trained to disregard our feelings, our intuition. The only time I haven't listened to it, I ended up getting robbed at gunpoint.

So, for safety's sake, I'm glad I run, I'm glad I listen to my sixth sense, and I'm glad God and the angels protect me in this rough and tumble City of Los Angeles.


photo: Olivander

Comments

Rhonda GW said…
What a testament to the power of intuition and your ability to trust yourself. I thank God that you heeded the message that so many regularly disregard AND that you train for marathons (I may have to take that up!). Not to mention you sharing this so that we can all learn a little something vicariously through you. Too many will use their prejudgedments to validate their feelings and mix that up with good old fashioned intuition. You gave your would be attackers enough "test" to prove your assertions and then responded accordingly...but quickly. Bottom line, I'm so glad that you are okay, for your sake, your family's and ours!
nick said…
What surprises me is that they pursued you for so long. I would have thought as soon as they realised you were onto them they would have looked for another mark.

I guess your reaction was a mixture of intuition and warning signs. There was so much odd behaviour you were likely to be suspicious anyway. Good job your running skills were honed, as you say!

Glad you didn't come to any harm.
1969 said…
So scary. I am so glad you are okay. Robbing you would have been getting off easy. *sigh*

You can call it intuition, I call it God. Thank God you are safe and sound.
Marlo said…
That must have been terrifying, I'm so glad you are okay. You did an amazing job reading them, trusting what you saw and felt, and then protecting yourself.

If you haven't already read it, you might want to check out The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It's about listening to intuition and not allowing our logic and politeness to talk us out of reading danger signals. It seems like you did that automatically, but it's still a very interesting read.
Dena said…
i'm glad you run too :). i'm glad you're okay and am impressed you listened to your intuition.....not many women do!
Anonymous said…
Glad to hear you are safe! I agree there's a fine line between being polite or PC and protecting yourself.

PS. I need to get into your workout regimen--I hate running but I admire those who do it and love it. :-)
dmac said…
WTH? They chased you? Did anybody try to help you? I'm thanking God that you got away from them.
lizriz said…
I'm so glad you're OK! And had the strength to run those steep hills. Good for you all around.
Unknown said…
Glad that you're OK, and that you knew to trust your very good instincts! Thanks for sharing a cautionary tale.
Daniel said…
Los Angelista,
Very glad the “street smarts” were up-an-a-working! See! Running has other uses than fun & fitness!
I bet you spent some time thinking about the illusion of our “Freedom” a bit. No, we’re not free from our societal crime rate and its definite affects on our decisions and choices. There are lots of ways we’re held captive in our lives to things we can’t change.

Now, I will contend your “antennas” are a result of having been in specific places in your life. As an example, I’ve been directly asked, by people who wouldn’t even get off the freeway off-ramp into certain areas in LA ask me “Aren’t you, like Terrified?” I completely leave alone the direct effect of White Privilege and the “Reginald Denny Effect” and its part in my personal “protection”; they’d never understand. Some would probably even deny it, lol. Beyond that one, my most consistent reply is “You live like the residents”. I’m sure you know what I’m referring too Los Angelista. Bet both the Palestinians and Israelis know what the “wrong feel” is in their circumstances, because they grow up with it. I learned years ago, being with friends in H.S. who lived in, uh, er, “Urban” neighborhoods what “Trouble” looks and feels like. I’m confident you did too and it saved you.
There are definitely troubling parts of it for me. One’s I wonder if your own husband doesn’t struggle with at times; it’s the need to “Profile”. To be wary of certain kinds of groups (as in ‘when in groups’) of individuals that look a certain way. Several times I’ve experienced this in LA. I would have thought of others area’s first, but it was in Inglewood, on a run, crossing through the neighborhood, rounded a corner, and … “I don’t like the looks and feel of that group hangin’ out”. Know what I mean Los Angelista? I made an abrupt cross-turn, just as one said something very loudly that confirmed my ‘radar’ as right.
Here’s my problem. Does it make me Racist? Prejudice? Unfortunately, statistics are on my side. How does the Family deal with such ugly realities?
Lotus Flower said…
Goddamn, Liz. You've got better senses than I do for sure. I'm glad you were able to get out of that situation right quick!!

It's amazing that you were able to foil their plan with a mixture of the fear that you had, your intuition, and your skill..and from what I've read, this isn't the first time you were mugged either, correct? You obviously learned from last time as well. Good for you!
Daniel said…
@Jasim,
I WANT that t-shirt!
I could rock that.
LOL!!!
Jen said…
Glad you're alright! It's so easy to space out when you're on the bus. Way to keep your wits about you!
Jameil said…
"We women are trained to think like that. Trained to disregard our feelings, our intuition." This is OUTRAGEOUSLY true!!! I'm glad you heeded yours and were paying attention!!!
Sarah Auerswald said…
I'm SO glad you're OK and that you knew to run!!!! It's scary!
Liz Dwyer said…
Rhonda,
Thanks, dear. I'm certainly glad the training proved to be a little practical, although I could've done without finding that out! It's a good point - how to balance the pre-judgments with common sense & listening to intuition. The feeling was just WAY too strong. It was like someone slapping me and saying hey, you better pay attention!

Nick,
It gets pretty deserted on the long city blocks away from the intersections so their pursuit didn't surprise me. I think they figured they'd get me regardless of what I did. I'm glad I didn't come to any harm either. Whew.

1969,
I think God gives us the tools, gives us the intuition, and then it's up to us to use it. I know God protects me, but if I got mugged, then would that mean God abandoned me? I don't think so but... sigh, you know what I mean. xoxo's.

Joyful Mom,
It was absolutely terrifying. Thanks for the lead on the book. It sounds like one I should definitely check out.

Dena,
Did I ever tell you the whole story of the ouija board saying I was going to be murdered and the night I got off the El at Church Street late one night back in '93 or '94 and was positively rooted to the platform because I was 100% convinced someone was in the alley across the street by EAC waiting to kill me? If I've never told you, I have to tell you. It sounds completely insane but the feeling was so strong I couldn't move. -- What happened to me as I was getting off the bus was sort of like that.

Jasmin,
Girl, I'd rather be non-PC and be alive. I've been slacking the past two days since this happened. I've just felt scared to go outside and run. I may have to start going back to the gym and hitting treadmills even though I hate them.

Dmac,
Yep, sure did. No, no one tried to help - but I'm used to that. Years ago I had an experience in Chicago where I flat out approached people on the street explaining that a man was following me and saying he was going to abduct me, rape me and cut me up. Not one person would help me. Nowadays people would see me getting mugged and they'd take to Twitter. I can see it now... "Wow, there's a lady getting mugged right next to my car."

LizRiz,
I'm glad I had the strength, too. I hate running hills but now I'm glad I tackle them.

Florinda,
Glad I'm OK, too. Glad to share the tale. Totally therapeutic for me to do so.
Liz Dwyer said…
Daniel,
I used to joke that I should be able to run long enough to save my life if I needed to. You are so right about the antennas being up because of where I've lived/what I've experienced. I totally know what you're talking about, you do learn what trouble looks like. The profiling thing is interesting because I think we all do it to some extent. I've sort of reached the point where I'm wary of any man on the street when no one else is around, but yeah, I'm going to be extra wary if you're looking like you claim a set. I can't feel bad about that because my boys need a mom, you know?

Mimi,
I'm glad I was able to get out of this situation, too. I've been on the receiving end of several attempts. One was successful about 10 years ago because even though I absolutely KNEW something was about to go down - again, I could sense it, feel it a whole two minutes before I even SAW my attackers, I still kept walking and told myself to stop tripping. The feeling I get is almost supernatural - which is weird to say, but it's quite real.

Tortuga,
Thanks. I'm always watching people - writing down what they're saying and doing, but it's easy to zone out while doing that.

Jameil,
It is outrageous that it's true but we're taught to second guess ourselves all the time.

Sarah,
I'm glad, too and I'm glad I knew to run. The alternatives if I hadn't are things I don't even want to think about.
I do have some street smarts but I really do think there was something else happening
Dena said…
holy crap....no you never told me that story. i'll call you this weekend!
Britni Danielle said…
omg! i'm so glad you listened to yourself & got out of there.

you're right, we are conditioned to be respectful of others & sometimes that can cost us.

this week, i had my own "listen to yourself" experience w/ my son being sick. the doctor, i'm sure of it, tried to brush me off. maybe he thought i didn't know any better or was being over protective...either way i knew my child didn't just have a cold. he ended up having pneumonia.

listening to yourself is ESSENTIAL.
Unknown said…
Liz -- I just got to reading this now; so glad you are OK!

Totally agree with @JoyfulMom; your story could be right out of the Gift of Fear (which I also mentioned to you on your Rihanna abuse article).

It is the ability to listen to yourself, not not dismiss the anomalies (like the guy leaving his friends) which kept you safe. Seeing through your own eyes, and not through the eyes of others...
Anonymous said…
Good point about people not helping (I'm from Chicago too, but I bet this happens everywhere). When I was in high school riding the Pace bus home from school, men would talk to me and my friends any old kind of way and no one would even flinch! (For the record, I looked super-young all through high school, I was barely 100 lbs. soaking wet, and I was wearing my school uniform with the name on it.) I think we've taken "live and let live" way to far, almost to "die and let die."
Unknown said…
Oh My GOSH, Glad you are ok.

Stay safe my friend! Glad you listen to you!
Liz Dwyer said…
Dena,
Oh yes, you must hear all about it. It's totally bizarre.

Britni,
Wow, I'm so glad you listened to your intuition with your son. So sorry to hear he's so ill. I hope it passes quickly.

Mark,
I'm glad, too. I knew that book sounded familiar. I checked and it is indeed on my ever growing reading list. I need a clone to read everything I want to read.

Jasmin,
Today a friend from back home sent me a link to the story of the girl who got mugged in Seattle while three security guards just stood there. Just nuts! I lived in China for awhile and one of the big shocks to me when I came back home was the awful way men would talk to women on the street. I'd forgotten how bad it is - and not having been around that for a year made it seem even worse.

House,
I'm trying to stay safe! The alternative if I don't is just unthinkable!
jstele said…
I'm glad you listened to your intuition. Next time, I wouldn't leave the bus. I would text your husband or whoever is available to pick you up about the situation. Have them call the police as well. Text so that the criminals can't hear you. Then, call to confirm that the message has been received and that they will pick you up. Stay on the bus or where there is a lot of people. Miss your appointment. Ride until you see your husband and then, get off.
Lisa Johnson said…
I'm glad you're okay Liz! I agree. Always follow your gut. And if you can run like the wind, well then run!!

Happy Valentine's Day! ♥

Hopefully only love and rainbows from now on. : )
Stesha said…
Listen to your intuition at all times, my grandmother use to say, And I do! It has saved me plenty of times. I'm so happy that you are okay. Sad that we have to deal with so much violence. When will it end...


Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha
Liz Dwyer said…
Jstele,
That would mean my hubby would actually have to answer his cell phone - which he rarely does. :) I know what you mean, but the neighborhood the bus heads to isn't exactly great, and LAPD would show up like an hour later wondering where the bus was. Or maybe even two hours later!

Anali,
Happy Valentine's Day to you! I changed up my schedule a lot last week in case this trio has been following me and I hadn't noticed, but I don't think I'd seen them before. Sigh.

Stesha,
It is very sad we have to deal with so much violence. I don't know if it'll end in our lifetimes. I really don't.
I'm glad you listened to your gut and that you're okay.

I'm shocked that they kept following you. What is wrong with people?
SMH said…
Glad you are safe. I think the reason you were able to pick up on it so quickly is one because God and or an angel was watching over you and also because when you are tired the normal filters are down and raw instincts take over. It is the bodies defense mechanism strip down to basic level and keep alive and safe.

While I am polite and cordial I have no problem following my instincts. If my actions offend anyone - my apologies but if that is life's biggest disappointment you will get over it and so will I safe and sound.

Your post in inspiring and I hope others heed the lessons learned and allow themselves to be blessed by your words.
Leili said…
Oh no! I just saw this now. Terrifying. I want to echo what Joyful mom said - Mark gave me "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker and it is amazing. I think every woman, at the very least, should read it.

I am so glad you are ok.

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