Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Benefits of Crime

If you've never been pickpocketed before, you may be missing out. Not only does it raise your adrenaline level, but it also gives you a heightened awareness of your surroundings. Ok, I'm being facetious, but I also can't deny that my first pickpocketing experience was quite a rush.

First, the details. Talyn & I were on our way to downtown Brussels so Talyn could try a Greek pita for the first time (they are quite popular here). Because of our long 8 minute wait for the metro (which would be a short time to wait for any UTA bus), there were a lot of people. Talyn got on fine, but I had some trouble, as a few people in front of me wouldn't budge. After having barely gotten on, the guy in front of me pretended to drop his cell phone, and bent down to get it. I then felt him feeling around my shoe and ankle, and being startled, I blurted, "Qu'est-ce qui arrive?" (it's kind of funny that I spoke French in that situation) I then felt my wallet being pulled out of my back pocket by a guy behind me. I immediately turned around, looked the scoundrel in the eye, and fixed my eyes on his hands. My wallet! Without even thinking, I grabbed around his waist as he turned to run off the metro, took my wallet back, and handed it to Talyn. I then took him by the shirt and held him up to the wall until he begged for mercy. (Ok, I didn't really do that last part, but 6'5" Dave would definitely have done it if he were there)

Then came the awkward part. Though the distractor got off the metro, in the kabuffle, the pickpocket didn't have enough time before the doors closed. So, imagine me and him (or, "mean him") standing next to each other as we rode to the next stop, when he quickly got off. It was the most awkward minute of my life. One part of me wanted to kick him and another wanted to just say something to him, but my peaceable side won, and I did nothing. I guess I could have done something like announce to the whole car that they should hold on to their wallets or call the police, but I suppose my feathers were too ruffled up to do anything that gutsy. Plus I didn't have my posse with me to back me up if necessary.

At this point, you're probably wondering what you could possibly be missing out on by not having been pickpocketed. I'll admit, it's not for everyone. But the exhiliaration that comes from recounting this story to people like you and realizing how cool it must have been to watch this whole incident play through made it all worth it. And I guess the fact that they didn't actually get anything from me.

So, how do you prevent such a situation from happening? One thing that I have done is put my wallet in my front pocket. I have been told this before, but it's so uncomfortable and I figured that if my back pocket were deep enough, it wouldn't be a problem. Turns out they get around that. Viddy (one of the other interns) tells me that he keeps a dummy wallet in his back pocket and a real one in his front - if he gets pickpocketed, the only loot would be an Albertson's card and an old BYU All-Sport Pass.

I am glad that I was lucky enough to walk away with all of my valuables, and I will most definitely be more careful in the future. Just remember that as people find solutions, others find ways around these solutions. The pickpockets are getting smarter. Are you??



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you been using your Albertson's card a lot in Bruxelles?
I've never been pickpocketed but I got kicked in the stomach once. Does that count?

10:31 PM  
Blogger Talyn said...

As the official judge of what counts and what does not... yeah! Getting kicked in the stomach counts. (Unless you were kicked in the stomach by a small child, in which case it doesn't count.) Care to share?

1:47 AM  

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