Sometimes I wake up with a jolt at about 5:30, before it gets light. Usually it’s to write a song, or occasionally to solve a problem. Thursday, at 5:30, I didn’t feel much like songwriting, and the only problem I could think of was that I hadn’t slept enough. This I solved by going back to sleep.
I dreamt of my neighborhood, which was different in my dream than it is this morning. Twice, I think, I’ve dreamt a version of Mott Haven that doesn’t exist. I don’t remember what triggered it the first time, but this time I’m pretty sure it’s that someone tried to knock me out and steal my wallet Wednesday.
It was a little past midnight, I think. I was a block from home, waiting for a traffic light to change, looking forward, not aware anyone was behind me. I remained unaware anyone was behind me until whoever was behind me punched me hard in the right side of my head.
As I fell, part of me shut off. The part that’s writing this — that part shut off. The rest of me knew I’d been punched, knew someone was now reaching into my pocket for my wallet, and the Rest of Me acted. I remember gripping the guy’s wrists with one hand, pushing him off me with the other and standing up.
“What the fuck?” I said. I may have sounded angry, but I was in fact just confused. The guy — the kid! —- can’t have been more than fourteen. But on that night, I think he could have taken me in a fight. I was already dizzy.
He didn’t seem interested in fighting. He seemed disappointed that he hadn’t knocked me out, and he took off down the street.
I hope he bruised his fist. I’ve got a decent black eye.