That's it. No more being nice to disabled people.

posted 13 October 2004

My phone was stolen tonight. Aaargh!

How it happened: M and I had been to see a movie and were having a drink afterwards at Starbucks (our first mistake) in Leicester Square (our second). Mary had been taking a call, so I'd been idly browsing the news on WAP on my phone, and left it lying on the table in front of me (my third, and definitely my biggest mistake. In retrospect, soooo dumb.)

Up comes this little fat kid, wearing a backpack. He's got this weird expression on his face and is holding a map of the V&A. He seems confused. He holds the map out to me, folded out, like he's trying to give it to me, and he's making these little pathetic squeaking noises, like he can't talk properly. Of course, being properly PC modern people, we instantly switch on our polite-but-sympathetic mode, trying to politely explain that we don't want the map, but thank you, and please go away.

The kid isn't taking the hint at all. He continues to wiggle the map at me. Then he gestures at an open box of Skittles I have on the table, like he wants one. Now, I know all about not giving sugar and E numbers to the developmentally disabled, so I refuse. He looks me right in the eye, raises a hand and very gently pokes me in the cheek, like he's not sure what my cheek is made of. It's very sweet in a creepy, mentally deficient sort of way. Finally, he leaves.

Of course, all of this has been a diversion. While one hand was holding the map, which conveniently covered the entire table from our view, he was picking up my phone. All the shaking and the noises and the pathetic looks? All distraction. He was a little thief, preying on our impulse to be nice to the disabled in order to steal my phone. Prick!

So all my sympathy for (a) fat kids and (b) the mentally disabled has now been erased. Both groups will now automatically be treated as devious thieves until further notice.

My phone is on contract, so yes, I've blocked it and banned it. The phone will never work again -- I've checked -- on any SIM, on any network. But of course, that applies only in the UK: so unless mister-man is very dumb (and he's probably not dumb at all) he'll be selling my phone to some dude from Nigeria right around now. Ah well. I'll write it off as a donation to the third world or something.

What did I lose? Well, all your numbers for a start. So email me your phone number and your name (yes, that's a real address, we'll see how long it takes to attract spam). I also lost a few downloaded games (whatever, I work for a mobile games company), several hundred really poor resolution photos (no big deal), and quite a number of semi-important text messages. I've also lost my calendar, of course, so all those birthdays and anniversaries and important dates I knew about, I don't know about anymore. So remind me if I planned to do something with you.

I'm a lot more annoyed that I fell for such an obvious tourist rip-off trick, in a tourist-trap area, in a touristy coffee place. I'm supposed to be a big hard Londoner; I know better than to do that. The staff at Starbucks just rolled their eyes when we told them; it must happen dozens of times a day there.

My contract was due to expire at the end of this month. Since I've lost my phone anyway, I don't mind getting a new number -- I'm resigned to that hassle -- so I'm going to threaten to move to a new network unless they give me a free upgrade/replacement. The biggest problem is missing people's numbers so *PLEASE* send them to me.

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