Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Posted by Simon Halliday | Thursday, June 29, 2006 | Category: |

This evening, my girlfriend and I survived a highjacking. Seriously. It happened about 2 ½ hours ago at the time of writing this. I need to get to sleep and tire myself out, so I thought :”Yes, I'll write this up for my blog.”

I was in my mother's car, on account of the fact that I was going to be driving it up to Grahamstown tomorrow. I had just picked her, Amy, up at her house so that we could spend a 'last romantic evening' together before I left for two weeks.

Anyway, I had reversed into the driveway and closed the garage gate. Suddenly I see man in the last light of the gate (under a metre left before it closes). I initially thought I was seeing a trick in the shadows and I wondered why a person would be standing there (internal monologue – why is my neighbour trying to come and see me now and like this). That took about a quarter of a second and I realised this guy was probably trying to highjack me. I was right.

He and his accomplice, came in. The gate had stopped when he stood in front of it. One of them was carrrying a gun, a pistol, or firearm (truth be told I don't recall whether it was the first guy or the second). They told me to get out of the car. Amy was still in the car not realising what was happening until a few moments later when I had my hands up in the air for no reason and there was the strange man standing in front of me.

I had dropped the keys in the car with my wallet which had been on my lap. Both were on the floor. They told me to pick up the keys. The took them from me (although I convinced them to allow me to take my drivers license from my wallet and simultaneously stole my credit card out) and tried to open the gate with the gate remote attached to my mum's keys. As fortune (or providence, or randomness, or God) would have it, because I was driving my mum's car the remote for her home in Rondebosch obviously would not work on my digs garage. The highjackers were freaked out about this, I had gone momentarily blank and tried to open it with said incorrect remote. They then tried to kick the motor, push the gate, etc to get it open. There was nowhere near enough space to get the car out you see.

They then threatened me with the gun. Amy told me afterwards that she was really worried I would try to pull some heroic action. Justifiably really, as I told my parents and Seraj afterwards I had to restrain myself from attacking them. The reason I didn't was because of the possible risk to Amy. I couldn't put her in danger if anything went wrong (the downside of Kung-Fu I suppose is that one gets more confident in one's ability to attack opponents – they were both smaller than me, and quite obviously nervous and scared themselves ironically).

They also thought, hearing me speak, that I was a foreigner. I played on that and lied to them about not living where I was and just staying there. They then went out behind the gate. The 'accomplice' guy had received a call on his cell phone and I could hear a car down the ways. I assumed that they were going to try to get away as this was not going as planned. They walked to the other side of the gate back into the road. I had realised by this point that the real gate remote was in my pocket (where it would be because I had taken it off of my car keys). I closed the gate while they were outside.

I called Amy and we ran inside and I locked us into the house. I then hit the panic button for the alarm to go off. ADT called, I told them we'd just been the victims of an attempted highjacking. They were there withing minutes. Out neighbour, Buzz Beck (that is his name and he was wonderful) came over and phoned the police from his place, I didn't have any credit on my phone nor was I realistically in the state of mind to begin organising things. The police were there promptly. There was a whole horde of them in the house and at the back on walki-talkies buzzing here and there. Some ladies came through to take our statements (An office Klaassens if I recall correctly). Detective Inspector Jensel came and told me to park the car somewhere so that we could try to get fingerprints. Moreover, Amy had baked me brownies for my trip. Again somewhat ironically, she remembered them trying to open the tin to see what was in it, so our closest link to 'justice' is possibly contained in the potential of fingerprints on a brownie tin!

Amy's parents were wonderful, they came through really quickly. Annette almost immediately made us tea when we were being interviewed by the police. I called Seraj and he came through. I didn't really want to call anyone else to 'the scene'. I kept on calling the guys who did the crime 'gentlemen' when I was recounting it to the police, I also kept on correcting myself and I wanted to call the fuckwits, but called them 'the men'. A councilor who came to our house called them 'animals'. I don't know what I think about that.

After everyone left Seraj said he'd brought a bottle of wine (good red wine, he wouldn't have it any other way). He brought it in case we 'wanted to take the edge off'. Gotta love Seraj. My folks were suitably worried. I spent the whole time being worried about Amy and just wanting to hug her to prove that we were fine, that we were alive and together. They had taken her purse, her cell phone, my wallet, my Seiko Watch (my beautiful Seiko Kinetic, lamentation!). Again, as fortune (whatever) would have it, I had left my cell phone at home randomly before I went and picked Amy up, which meant that they couldn't get that.

The whole time I just wanted to touch her, same reasons as above. Her dad was pre-occupied with canceling her credit card and bank card. They left and Seraj and I organised my stuff for me to make moves to my parents' place, where I could park the car so that the police could test for fingerprints tomorrow.

I spoke more to my mum, dad and Steve on the phone. My uncled Brian also called. We all said love you. On the phone later, as Amy and I were talking (she was given a new number by Alan I think, already!) I said 'love you'. It is the moments like these that show us how previous the things we have are. I am not going to analyse it too much.

I don't really want to stay at that house anymore. I love the place, but it makes it more difficult to want to be there, to enjoy being there. Ah well...

Anyway, I love you all, if you're reading this, then in all likelihood you are precious to me. You are in my thoughts and I am sorry if I didn't call. It was stressful and I barely dealt with restraining my anger and yelling a 'FUUUUCCCCKKK' while the police were there, let alone calling people.

Night, night, I think I am going to try to sleep. I don't know if it'll work. We'll have to see. I've taken rescue remedy. Maybe it'll work. Although I don't particularly feel like being rescued right now, I feel it would have been better not to require rescue in the first place.

Incidentally, I apologise for how rambling this is, I apologised to the police for the same reason. I am still somewhat shaken up. This is meant to be 'therapeutic'. Ho hum... Therapy. Yes.

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. Holy shit, dude. I'm so sorry. Nice work for staying calm (or at least it sounds like you stayed calm, not sure about the reality at the time)... what a sick feeling it must have been, though. Arg.

    Anyway, I'm so glad you and Amy are safe, and the fuckers didn't get the car.