Saturday, 19 June 2010

Paris - Three Seconds or Less

To make the most of our Paris Autobus Tour, Wyona suggested that we get off the bus, take a quick tube ride to the end of the line, and pick up one of the variations of the tour that would take us to see the Bercy District again.

I had a bag in one hand and my underground ticket in the other hand.

We approached the doors of the brand new line underground, remembering that Greg had said of the station,"Stunning. New. Modern." 

The train arruved and we stepped up to the glass doors. Two people, much younger than I pushed ahead of us to be first into the train. When the doors opened they entered the train first and stood toe to toe slower than one normally enters the doors and then they didn’t go for the seats but stood right in front of us, blocking our way to the seats they didn't seem to want.

At the same time, people behind us were pushing me to get in, pushing Wyona as well, but I was being blocked on one side by Wyona and on the other side by a younger woman. 

I was also grabbing for the centre pole since I like to get my feet shoulder length apart and have one hand on a stable structure when the train accelerates out of the station. 

My bag was in one hand and my ticket in the other hand was interfering with me getting a strong grip on the pole.

The jostling in front of me and behind me reminded me of the London tubes in the evening rush hours when people are travelling home and I have to keep close to Wyona or the doors will separate us. I was concentrating on getting a stable standing position.

I looked down at my hand holding my bag just as the girl who had been pushing me from behind slipped back out of the train, now deciding not to push past me to take the ride to the next station. 

As she left, I saw her hand slid out of my purse that is strapped over my shoulder and rides on the front of my body .

“Wyona? That girl’s hand was right inside of my purse,” I said in quiet surprise.

“My purse. My purse is open too,” Wyona said, digging down into her bag. “I will bet she got my wallet.”

Wyona was right. 

The wallet was gone.

She calculated her losses. At $2 a scarf, she could have bought 80 scarves for the money the pickpockets had lifted from her.

My money was fine. I keep it in an old envelope so that I don't have to carry the weight of a wallet -- a tip Wyona gave to me.

I calculated our gains. 

No broken arms. No broken bones. No concealed weapons used to attack us. Both of us still standing. 

That is not to say we weren't bewildered and angry at ourselves for being both pushed, blocked and having no inkling we should be resisting the pushing.

The above happened in 3 seconds or less, a much shorter time than it has taken to type this.


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