Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bullfighting with Bardot

I always new that I'd be robbed one day.

By my late teens, practically all of my school friends had been mugged at some point.
For the most part, nothing was hurt but their pride, giving in to the threats of the bigger, usually older boys that often outnumbered them, but one guy did come in to college one morning with bad grazes up his face after being tackled to the ground in Harlesden.
As the years went by and I met no challenges, I often wondered why I managed to avoid being a victim too.
Did I have some keen street smarts that I wasn't myself aware of? Did my protruding brow and natural composure of dissatisfaction combine to create the impression of a man with slight build with whom you do not want to mess?

Of course I have no idea, and rare was the occasion when I did not consider an attack whilst out and about alone a real possibility. What would I do? Was there somewhere to run; would I fight back; how many would be too many; would I still resist against a knife; where were the makeshift weapons on my journey - the loose bricks, empty bottles etc.
It wasn't so pervasive that I'd call it an obsession, more it was a consideration, one of the many things you think about in the periphery of your consciousness when walking, like checking the road for traffic or glancing at the pavement for dog shit.
Perhaps this perpetual state of awareness helped me avoid trouble?

Then at the end of November the phone rang when I was about to leave for work. As I never get calls in the morning, I thought it may be important, so I picked up to hear a robot voice identify itself with my bank. I proceeded to ask me for security info, and as it wanted nothing too detailed I went along with it. It was when it asked about my recent transactions that a chill ran up my spine. Money out from a machine at the weekend? Yes. Online council tax payment the day before? Fine. 250 Euros withdrawn in Sicily that morning? Fuck!
I got put through to a human who proceeded to go over the details for me. Card stopped, replacement sent recorded delivery. But I won't be home, can they send it to a branch? It takes longer and they'll leave a note so I can pick it up. What about the PIN? I can use the old one as the thieves won't have the new card details. Their fraud division will be in touch about refunding the total stolen £360.
So the card didn't arrive, nor a note to say someone had been round, and a week on I rang them up - it had been dispatched that day so they canceled it and sent a new one, this time to the branch near my work. Three days later I get a letter from a courier company, saying they tried to deliver a card when I was out. It took ten days to tell me this, cunts. A further three days and my card has turned up at the bank - I can use my PIN, right? No, it's been changed. Great. Another five days or so before that turns up at the flat, the morning I am due to leave to see the family for Christmas.
The money was refunded surprisingly quickly, within two weeks of being robbed, but I was left with no access to my cash without going to a bank with a passport and all kinds, and not enough in there to get the presents I wanted to get for my love ones. Because of some virtua-mugging cunt.

It's unlikely I'll ever meet the people that robbed me, and if I did I wouldn't know it, but there were two films released this year that give you an idea as to what I'd like to do:

Have a happy new year!