Monday, October 11, 2010


This is the bag of a total moron who doesn't know how to travel safely with belongings in a city.

The open bag is mine.
And the total moron is me.
I have carried it since I moved here nearly three years ago......until I got pick-pocketed last week in the St. Germain des Prés metro stop.

I never EVER thought that would happen to me in Paris what with me being so ninja and everything. I am hyper aware of my surroundings at all times, I mistrust everyone and I am fast on the street....WAY a CAT....a CHEETAH. Yeah, whatever, so I carry a canvas bag with no zipper. So what? I clutch it to my chest on the metro while giving everyone around me the hairy eyeballs. And besides, it says BROOKLYN on it which duh...screams YOU ARE SO F'IN STREET and should scare off any potential hoodlums and hooligans, right?

Maybe the lightning method works for hyperactive people who run through their life as if being chased by wild dogs which has safely spared me from pickpockets for the past 20 years of my existence in urban living. But then I got knocked up and everything changed. Everything. I went from cheetah to goldfish in 8 months. Two months ago I had to trade in my beloved 8 pairs of Converse for the only shoes I own with actual support in them which happen to be white ugly Mom jogging shoes. And yes, I wear them with dresses because frankly, I don't give a shit anymore and my back hurts. My once cheetah pace has slowed to a near crawl and my mind is perpetually absent or is thinking about way more important things like cheeseburgers and Pad Thai. I'm the perfect bait for any shark. A pregnant, slow, dopey goldfish with a giant, open bag. I may as well wear a sign that says HELLO. STEAL EVERYTHING I OWN BECAUSE UNLESS YOU ARE SHAPED LIKE A CHOCOLATE DONUT I WON'T NOTICE AND EVEN IF I DID I CAN'T RUN AFTER YOU ANYWAY.

The scene of the crime just fits so PERECTLY. I knew when I moved into this area, aka tourist CENTRAL, that I should watch my step because where there are large amounts of prey....there are also large amounts of predators......sigh....oh hindsight.....

I moseyed my way down to one of the ticket machines and bought a carnet of tickets using my bank card. I never think to cover my hand as I type in my code which is pretty stupid because the way the machines are set up, it's really easy to read someone's code as they type it in (I know this now because I have spent the last week reading other people's codes as they type them in). As I waited for the tickets to print, I took my bank card and put it in my open change purse in my open bag. I grabbed the tickets after they printed and as I walked down the steps, I reached in my open bag to put them in my open purse which.....quelle surprise!...had been dumped over and the contents were spread across the bottom of the bag. Interrupting my thoughts of Korean BBQ, I decided I must have accidentally spilled I put everything back in and went along on my day.

It wasn't until that night at the grocery store with a cart full of Haribo, cheddar cheese and green bell peppers (weirdest pregnancy craving to date...I eat them like apples) and no way to pay for it that I realized my bank card was gone. Disappeared. Bye bye. And even THEN, I thought I must have just lost it until I looked at my bank statement the following day which informed me that I was now 600 euro lighter. I didn't even have 600 euro in my bank account to begin with. Thanks a lot, overdraft system. That was REALLY HELPFUL TO ME. I thought I left the whole "criminals stealing money borrowed on YOUR CREDIT" thing behind me......guess not.

To get reimbursed by the bank, I had to make a formal declaration at the police station. One hour later after an Oscar worthy performance dramatically recounting a detailed description of what happened in my shit French to the police officer "I descended the do we stairs....and OH LO LO....I bag it is not good, it is like this (miming upside down).....but I didn't think then that there is baaad.....I went to the grocery in the night and I have no money for candy and then I think OH LO LO, someone....someone in the day takes my things."

Hey, I'm progressing.
Signed, sealed, delivered.

8 more weeks left and I can begin my return to cheetahland (not to be confused with cheetOland).
Until then, this goldfish in white jogging shoes needs to get her mind off the donuts and back in the game.


Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Ohhhhh, such a painful post to read in so many ways, for under the delectable wit (and I did laugh, but only because of the presentation of the situation) there is a missing wallet, a lighter bank account, and dealing with French bureaucracy. I am so sorry this happened to you. The thing that has to take the cake, though, is the having to wear white tennis shoes with dresses! Oh girl! I am *so* sorry it has come to that! But two pregnancies under my belt, and I can totally relate to the "don't give a f*ck" attitude when it comes to comfort. You just keep rockin' those tennies.

And I hate to tell you, but you think pregnant brain is bad? Breastfeeding brain/post-childbirth mind fuzz is worse. Just sayin'. And I know how annoying and all it is when people you don't know say/write stuff like this, and dole out the preggo advice free of charge and unsolicited, I kind of wish someone would have given me the heads up. Everything in pregnancy is a preparation for how it is going to be after actually having the kiddo, just in "lite" form, and the head does not start to clear until the kid is at least one, in my experience. But here is the good news: you will become a cheetah again. Okay, strike that: you will become a mother lion, which is a hundred times more badass than cheetah. You think you used to be street before? Just wait until someone even gives a hint of bugging your kid! You will go all The Bride in Kill Bill on them. *No one* messes with a mama lion.

Hang in there. Watch your back. Hope all goes well with the reimbursement, and best as these next 8 weeks progress!!

Sedulia said...

So sorry. That is a older-and-wiser moment. At least you weren't traveling when it happened. Think how much worse that would have been.

I travel in the metro only with one of those zipped bags with my hand on the zipper pull and the bottom of the bag where I can see it (heard too many stories of thieves with razor blades who can empty out your bag from the bottom, yes in Paris).

Best wishes, anyway! Glad you stopped wearing those Converse for now!

Marsha said...

So sorry to hear of this mishap. I feel your pain. A similar thing happened to me as a student many years ago - giving me my first taste of being a crime victim, and dealing with the french police. However, that said, what Karin said is true. Pregnancy is just a preparation for what comes next. The real reason you have to pee every 5 minutes when pregnant is so that you learn the location of every bathroom in your environment - information you will need for diaper changing, and more importantly, potty training. So perhaps this metro thing is also a lesson. If you are a target now, as one individual (with large tummy and odd cravings), you are more of a target later, as two; especially if you are struggling with a stroller and/or a diaper bag. Learn NOW to put your wallet in an inside pocket (of a coat) or the front pocket of your jeans. And good luck with replacing your wallet contents and with the rest of your pregnancy!

L.R. M-J said...

Ok, THAT was furkin funny. Rock on Maman to be...humour is the only way we survive in this nuthouse they call France. If I hadn't laughed at all the shit that's happened to me over the years, someone would have died by now! :)

Tanai said...

Hi Dana. Why did you have to trade in your 8 pairs of converse? :O

KFD said...

Thanks for all the nice comments! They made me smile. :)
p.s. My 8 pairs of Converse are patiently in my closet awaiting my return!

paris parfait said...

Alas, this has happened to all of us at least one, but never has it been put quite so entertainingly as your description of your pickpocket experience! Ah, Paris. Am glad to have discovered your rapier-wit blog! Tara at Paris Parfait

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