It’s never a good idea to make a comment like “Must go out and do something tomorrow – I have nothing to blog about!”, as I did yesterday.
That’s just asking for trouble. Today’s post, therefore, originally intended to report on the Bastille Day festivities on France’s national day, is instead about the scumbag who stole my purse when I was on the Métro on the way to said festivities. I have no idea how this was possible, given that they must have opened the velcro seal of my handbag, lifted the flap, unzipped the compartment, and removed the purse, and that I wasn’t sitting next to anyone, nor was there a big crowd of jostling people. I suspect a thief with powers of invisibility, actually, although I didn’t know how to explain this in French to the police, so I had to settle for Non, je n’ai pas vu lui.
As I climbed the steps out of the Métro station, I noted the sudden lightness of my bag and did the frantic, stricken rummaging of a person who knows perfectly well that they’re not going to find what they’re looking for. I was a long way from the apartment, I didn’t know the area, and my cash, bank card and remaining Métro tickets were, of course, in my conspicuously absent purse. In a panic, I approached the first person I saw: a tough-looking biker chick, who was removing her helmet and locking up her bike outside her workplace. In my own unique version of stumbling French, and trying not to cry, I explained my predicament and looked pleadingly at her in the hope that she would take control of the situation. Which, thankfully, she did.
Sandrine, my knight in shining leathers, put a cigarette into my trembling hands (now is not the time, OK?!) and took me to the nearest police station. Neither Sandrine nor the policeman spoke English, but they were admirably patient with me as I battled with tears and a limited vocabulary. Today, while certainly opening my eyes to the Big Bad World, also gave me a touching experience of the kindness of strangers. Sandrine even gave me her contact details, saying that she’ll make any phone calls I want to the Objets Trouvés office. The policeman, apparently saddened by my vulnerable appearance, actually apologised on behalf of the decent people of Lyon! I wanted to laugh, but I had to nod very solemnly and graciously accept his apology. Eventually I left with my copy of the police report and instructions to show it to the people at the Métro ticket desk, who would then let me on to the train for free in order to get back and cancel my bank card.
Not that the ticket desk is open on a national holiday, as I soon discovered. Tempted at this point to just slump to the floor and start to bawl my eyes out, I instead grabbed another perfect stranger and gave him my woeful, grammatically horrific tale. He let me squeeze through the ticket barrier at the same time as him. I feel decidedly like a beggar, but at least I made it back.
And the bank won’t send my new card to France, nor will they send it quickly. So by the time it gets to my parents’ house, and then to me, I reckon I’ll have starved to death or been beaten up as I beg for dinner money on the streets. So this is more of a goodbye post than anything else, really.