It was a classic tale of utter stupidity. Most crimes against the average Joe (or Josephine) are opportunist. If I hadn’t whisked out the phone to take a snap in a crowded place; if I’d stowed it away again in my secure pocket and not in a side pocket; if I hadn’t taken my hand off it; if I’d realized quicklyt enough that the young woman who bumped into me was a thief and not just a rude person………you get my drift?
It was the most stupid place on the island to let down my guard, and I don’t even know why I did – because I was in a familiar place? Sunday, car boot sale in Guaza, a melting pot of humanity, including always some suspect and weird folk. Since I’ve been downsizing for years now, bit by bit, I’ve sold things at this sale several times, and never had so much as a paper clip knicked – perhaps because I always keep my wits about me, and often take my dog. Last Sunday, however, I was just visiting a friend who was doing the market, but clearly I’d let my previous good fortune and my familiarity with the place make me too relaxed.
I’ve been through the anger, the upset and the depression, and now I am blaming myself. Are we justified in doing this? I’m certainly not the only blogger who’s been robbed and observed afterwards that they should have been more alert, both Dave from Medellin Living and Matthew from Expert Vagabond have written about being robbed in recent months, and whilst my loss isn’t as scary as Dave’s (at gunpoint!) nor as devastating as Matthew’s (his laptop on which he totally relies for his work – but read his post to see how he is getting his revenge!), my heart still sank to my boots when I realized that my Blackberry was gone, and when I yelled expletives it was myself I was yelling at as much as the thief.
I’m guessing there are few of us who haven’t been robbed somehow or other in this modern world, and one thing I learned is that it happens everywhere. When folk tutted about the theft of my handbag years ago here in Tenerife, implying that it was the island’s fault, I was able to retort that only five days previously I’d had a bag stolen from a car in England. It had happened to me twice before over the years in UK, and I can honestly say that it was partly my own fault, in as much as I let down my guard in every case for the split seconds it took. But, honestly, shouldn’t we be able to do that? Shouldn’t we be able to relax and carry on our normal lives without being suspicious of everyone who passes us by? Normally I’m alert to the possibilities of theft, I hide stuff, I choose where I walk at night, I’m aware of what’s going on around me, but it only takes a moment and all that vigilance was useless.
Of course, the loss of the phone will be hard. I can’t just go out and buy another Blackberry, it was part of the deal with the contract I took out with Vodafone, that I paid only €24 for it, and I am already missing the convenience of seeing Twitter and Facebook and email updates without having to turn on my computer. Most of all I miss being able to contact my sons whenever I want to because I had Blackberry Messenger. I certainly can’t afford to SMS them as much, nor the close friends who have WhatsAp. I suspect strongly that the thief is better off than I am. I like my techie stuff these days, my laptop, my camera, my ipod and I did enjoy my phone, but I don’t spend money on much else the way I once did, say on clothes, wine or dining out and entertainment. I suppose it’s a matter of one’s priorities in life, and it’s wrong that I scrimp and save for stuff to risk it being stolen. From where do thieves get the mentality that if they want something they can just take it, regardless of from whom they steal? Yeah, I know there are much, much worse stories, old folk being half -beaten to death for a few dollars, or people with serious injuries after being mugged.
I just want to vent this anger at the whole mindset. I want to stamp my feet and cry and get back at someone. Mostly I want all those lovely pix and memories that were in the fotos and videos on the phone back. That’s the thing which always hurts most. Even though I can’t afford it, it isn’t the monetary value it’s the sentimental stuff you can’t replace, and I hate the person who took my phone for stealing a part of me, and also for making me stupid.