Anniversaries, muggings, and phoneboxes

by sharongooner

We got married on the 1st of June because we’re not stupid. Everybody eventually forgets your anniversary, so we (I) picked an easy-to-remember-date.

I had to work this year, usually I take the day off, but in my new place you have more chance of winning the lottery syndicate than getting a day off.  (We don’t have a lottery, so you get my drift.) So I went in. At lunch time I went for a walk down Old Street. That’s in the London Borough of Islington. It has a Co-op, and Argos (excellent, my favourite christmas shopping place), some pubs, and some nice shiny seating areas. I like these areas as they are generally just dead eyed commuters like myself shovelling food in their faces before heading back to their offices for the rest of the day until the bell goes. I brought a bottle of fizzy Highland springwater, sat on one of the nice shiny seats facing the road, and got my phone out to check twitter.

I’m not one for walking and talking or tweeting as it has always been a worry to me having my phone snatched or my bag pulled off my shoulder. I know these things happen EVERYWHERE but it’s a sad fact that London is full of strangers, weirdo’s and dirty rotten fucking thieves. So since moving up there to work I’m cautious. So I sat on the seat, phone in hand, bag on shoulder close into my side as always and checked twitter. I had lots of lovely anniversary wishes, it made me smile. I just thought up a daft pun and hit send, when, SUDDENLY, a hand appears infront of my eyes and my phone is gone from my hand. MY IPHONE 4.

What happened next didn’t just take me by surprise, but I think it took the whole street by surprise. I screamed at the top of my voice (I am not proud of this btw, I was sober and in work clothes) “STOP! YOU FUCKING CUNT, THAT’S *MY* FUCKING PHONE!” Now, the hand that appeared infront of my eyes belonged to the arm of a man on an already-moving-rather-fast-bicycle. This bicycle within say, three seconds was already in the road into the traffic and moving. A bike is faster than a startled 5 foot one and a half, 38 year old woman, but this minor detail did not stop me from kicking off my chunky shoes and sprinting flat footed on bare concrete for what was well over 300 metres. I chased alongside the road (meanwhile praying a car would run over his bastard head), but the problem was nobody wanted to help/understood what was going on because of how stealth-like the whole thing was. I was also crying. But I wanted my LIFE back. I got to the roundabout and realised he had taken the corner much better than me and I gave up. Puffing, panting, palpitating all over the place I returned to where I had been sat, cursing my fucking too long trousers and the burning stabbing shin splint pains that were already arriving.

My shoes were still there. WELL THEY WOULD BE BECAUSE THEY COST FIFTEEN QUID FROM ETHEL AUSTIN AND ARE NOT AS DESIRABLE AS AN IPHONE 4 WORTH FOUR HUNDRED ENGLISH POUNDS. A kind chap came over and said how it had happened to a friend of his. I just waved him off as I was then hitting my moment of shock and upset that this had all happened. I walked back to my office, I was in a totally ridiculous state. Bank details, phone numbers, photo’s, music, passwords, EVERYTHING WAS ON THERE.

The police came to my office within 20 minutes. That was my second shock of the day. But wow they were good. We went out in the robbery response vehicle as they wanted me to show them exactly where it happened, and get a description. One was driving the other was taking a very detailed statement as we moved. They told me how this crime is completely overtaking any other in London right now. It’s beating car crime. These lowlifes take the handset to an internet cafe and sell them for £150 within FIVE MINUTES. My phone was probably turned into a bag of smack within 15.

I showed the police where I sat, and this was when I realised just how far I had ran. “So you were sat there then? Where did you stop running?” “Err… carry on… no, further, further…. yep further….. yep I stopped about there” . They both did a “blimey,Sharon”. They dropped me at the train station so I could go home.  I put 60 pence in a phonebox at Liverpool Street, the person I called went to answerphone. It ate my 60 pence. When I got to my town, I put another 60 pence in another phonebox and again it went to answerphone. I did some swears and decided to walk to the town and get on a bus.

I won’t see that phone again, but I’ll be paying for it for a while. My lesson has been learned the hard way. I hope it makes others aware. Treat everybody around you as a potential thief and you will be okay. I’m over it now, it’s just a phone. I am most interested in seeing the cctv of me pursuing him down the street in bare feet and too-long trousers though, I hope they let me see it one day.

In the car the woman detective asked what my screen saver was.

I said “Bowie” and did a little weep. Happy anniversary.