The aim of Friday 14th August 2009 was merely to engage in as much as I possibly could in order to get my project up on running. With it encompassing as much of my experiences on things such as my 'coming-of-London', being gay, networking, technology, and social media I've come to try and cover most of my research in a fluid motion of education. Encounters that take me to the heart of my experiences. Had I known that when I got up that morning it would have encompassed all that I speak of would have saved me quite a lot of time. Instead of feeling nauseous, apprehensive and upset about the events that took my 9.30am wake-up call to my 7.30am sleep the following morning, I feel excited and enegised about what I've learnt.
The alarm that morning was vocalised by my very faithful and trusty piece of technology- my Nokia N95 8GB phone. A beautiful piece of music led me slowly into the subconscious world where I had muchh to cover on this fateful day. Getting up and showering was the easy bit, the hair - not so easy but it isn't especially relevant so we'll bypass my preparation. I flicked through the diary:
"11:00 - Tuttle Meeting (finally meet some Twitter people [@ilicco and @whatleydude]) [ICA - The Mall?????]
13:00 - Lunch with boyfriend, discuss plans for the weekend including wedding party for friend. [Picadilly?]
15:30 - Meet with friend and great mind to compare ideas of our projects [Soho]
18:00 - Work - money earner for project and London survival.
24:00 - Meet with friend from San Diego who is over for a catch up drink (or two) [Soho]
03:00 - Bed to Sleep in time for work the next morning."
Admittedly as I type out my plans for that day (and night) I can see that it was rather a lot to put together but this is me, I never stay still and live on bouncing around. I guess I'm the Pinball of London?
So apart from getting lost on my to the ICA (video footage taken on my Nokia can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF7g2AIDioQ
) I arrived at Tuttle and enjoyed my time there, meeting some great characters as well as the lovely @ilicco and @whatleydude. Inspired by technology enthusiasts and good conversation (as well as a little TOO much conversation) the rest of the day followed in equally great footsteps especially at my coffee meeting with my friend in Soho. At one point there was a sudden rush of chanting when the Hare Krishna celebrators came thorugh the streets of Soho to spread the word. To my left there was a... well I'm going to call her a 'crazy in one shouldered dress' (CIAOSD)... sat a few seats down. In an apparition of what Soho really encompasses for me, she got off her seat and joined in the dancing. Performing Samba and Salsa, prayers and salutations to the passing chants, but it wasn't until she turned back round to me that I noticed that one of her nipples had fallen out. It was out in full force and the sudden shock of this took my friend and I by surprise. Rib-splitting, asthma-inducing, lung-crippling shock. I'd like to say 'poor woman' but she had absolutely no sense (or sanity) so, for her, it was as shameful as getting a wrist out.
Work wasn't too busy and the night went passed fairly quickly leaving me ready to party with my friend in town for a few drinks. This, unfortunately, is probably where the frivolities of the night ended. After drinking probably a little too much, which isn't really me but I think the exhaustion and lack of solid food had acted as an accelerant. Whilst waiting for my bus to arrive in the Strand I was acosted by a seemingly friendly chap who came over to me and hugged me. I didn't return the hug as I'm not a huge lover of engaging in personal physical contact with people I don't know well - let alone at all. I thanked him awkwardly and immediately checked my persons for the mobile phone I had just that moment used to send a message to my boyfriend. GONE! I can only assume it was this chap who had stolen my phone so I asked him to take out all of his belongings from his jacket and prove to me he hadn't taken my phone. The strange thing was that he didn't seem offended to be accused of such an act and was laughing at me. Insulting me is how I see it now. He said he didn't know what I was talking about and he got on the next bus and left. I immediately ran to the nearest phonebox with last piece of change I had on me (I might stipulate that I rarely carry a wallet out with me for this very reason!) and informed my boyfriend that I had just been MUGGED by a Hugging Mugger - something I'd read about recently.
My bus finally came and made my way home. Unfortunately, the alcohol and the warmth of the bus led me to fall asleep on the bus. I woke up at a stop I didn't know and got out. I was too embarassed to ask anyone where I was in case I was incoherent and unitelligible. Instead I got off and looked at the nearest bus stop routes etc. Finding out that mine was nowhere to be seen it meant me catching a bus to one place and then catching another to another place, etc etc. Somehow I ended up walking to find the stop that the map had indicated and was approached by two youngish lads who said something and teased me a little but I think their sympathy kicked in at my upset and drunkne state and left me. It was until I turned around as I left them that they had signalled to another four members of their crew on the opposite side of the road. Perhaps just to signal that it was a failure? I don't know and I don't like to think what could have happened.
By the time I finally got home I put my key in the door, headed up the stairwell and through the door to the apartment. As I opened the door my very worried boyfriend who had waited up since the initial call three hours ago grabbed me as I collapsed against the wall and cried my heart out.
I cried because I had been violated, my personal item had been taken from me in an obvious way. I was a fool. I was drunk. I was upset that it took me three hours to get home. I was upset because my phone documented my relationship with my boyfriend. I cried because I had taken from me, the very technology that allowed me survive in London and get through some of my toughest times. I was angry at how someone can find value in something which is worth so much more to me, and me alone.
I didn't dwell. I creid out my tears and gathered my breath. I had to get up for work in a pain-staking 1.5 hours and carry out a full day and night's work. An in that time I had to sober up.
Lessons learned? Too many to disclose, but one thing I shall end this account with is:
I regret NOTHING.
I would rather have not had my phone stolen but it is only a piece of technology that is replaceable. I went home in one piece. I slept in a bed. There are far worse situations out there in London at the moment. I only hope the next person who uses my phone gets to record their own memories on it.
Onwards and upwards. A Nokia N86 with an 8MP camera beckons and new memories are to be created. For as long as I still have my mind, body and soul, I can relive the memories in my own mind and enjoy as I tell people of my stories.