living / passing / mugging

can’t get through to my mom in Lahore. It’s Eid.

can’t find car shares to Freiburg on the date I need.

BUT, I did survive an attempted theft without loss of any kind – except, momentarily, of composure. In the Park Monbijou near the Island of Museums in the tranquil, green centre of Berlin. I had an hour or so to waste yesterday morning, so I thought I’d do some of the relaxing / stretching exercises I’d learned in the street theatre/performance workshop organised by Metis’Arte I attended two weeks back.

Two kids pretending to be deaf and dumb came up to me with petitions from some National Association for the Disabled. In English, yes, so already, I’m smugly smiling to myself. I quickly confirm that it was one of the standard scams to evoke sympathy and get money out of gullible tourists – the tell is that credible organisations have a registration number or at least some contact information (phone numbers and address) mentioned on the petition. Theirs didn’t. By the time, I figured it out, I noticed that the younger kid had slinked off to my left – where I’d left my shoes and wallet on the ground. Panicked, I look around and find the wallet missing and turn around to see the kid calmly walking away. I shout at him to stop and I see him removing my wallet from the folder he was carrying. I could hardly believe how amateurish these kids were. So I rush up to him, pat down his pockets, nothing. Maybe I under-estimated him.

Panic resurgent.

Push past him and see the wallet lying on the ground behind the big tree next to us.

The kid has the effin’ temerity, at this point, to act all surprised, persisting with his exaggerated mime routine. Where did he think I came from? Freakin’ Liechtenstein???!!!! And the older kid pretends to be all shocked and scandalised at the behaviour of his partner and gives him a kick in the backside – probably no more than a prompt reprimand for his pathetic failure.

I just shoo them away, shouting at them that I was from Pakistan, trying to communicate that their theatrics were ludicrous. And, oddly enough, their persistence with the mime routine really was a barrier to the noise I was making. Even though I remain convinced that they could hear me, that they weren’t deaf, I didn’t get any satisfaction out of my indignant shouting. They simply refused to drop the act, refused to register any reaction but dismay – no contrition, no regrets whatsoever.

Deep breaths. Back to the salutation au soleil.

And back to using la banane instead of the wallet. Three and a half months in Lausanne have already made me soft – even by the relatively easy-going standards of Berlin.

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