Friday, November 27, 2009

Goodbye lousy day

It's been a lousy day.

Apart from Emma being better, which is a huge relief -

Emma enjoying some post-gastritis dry bread

Emma reading a Peppa Pig book to her "loup" (wolf) friend

November 27th has been quite a series of really annoying hiccups.

The day started off with an email from Steph (currently on a business trip in Budapest) informing me that he had lost his mobile phone and was going to be unreachable except via his blackberry.

After a morning expending energy at the park and a good lunch and nap, I decided Emma and I could celebrate her getting better with a new dress. I hesitated going to town at this late hour on a Friday afternoon but I figured tomorrow would be worse, so to town we went.

I parked under the Ringstrassen galerien and hurried off towards the nearest H&M. I guess I had not completely zipped my bag closed having just used my wallet to pay the entrance of the parking (I use my direct debit to enter and then again to exit -so much more practical!) and was trying to keep up with Emma who was running off ahead of me and the buggy, when a woman I felt instant antipathy for, asked me for some Geld.
I waved her off in English saying I didn't understand but kept focusing on Emma who was running ahead - something the woman no doubt had noticed too. She got closer to my left side and repeated her request for money in English to which I exclaimed "NO!" giving her a dark look and rushing past her to catch Emma.

Having caught up with Emma who was playing independent in the Christmas shopping crowd - refusing to hold my hand or sit in the buggy - we finally get to H&M where I quickly find a pretty dress we both like and head to pay for it.

Only my wallet had vanished.

Immediately the woman's face flashed before my eyes and leaving the dress on the counter, I ran back to the crime scene as quickly as the crowd and buggy allowed. Naturally, she was nowhere to be seen.

I suddenly realized I could not get the car out of the parking without my bank cards and I could not get a cab home without a penny and no access to a hole in the wall. To make things worse, Steph was in Budapest.
On the bright side, I realized I still had my car keys and phone. And Emma was singing Frères Jacques.

What to do?
I broke out in cold sweat and fury, wishing I could find the woman and get my stuff back - she could keep the money, I just wanted my cards and wallet back!

I kept scanning the crowd but realized there was little chance I could spot her without her spotting me first, especially since I was wearing my bright green coat in the midst of a crowd clothed in black.

Hoping against all hope I ran back to our car, figuring my wallet might still be in it, what with Emma fussing about which book to take with her and then getting her into, then out of, the buggy.

No luck.

Finally, I reasoned I needed to block my cards and make sure I could still get the car out of the parking and get us home. A kind employee from the parking walked Emma and me to the nearest Police station where I made calls to block my credit and bank cards and made a deposition. All the while Emma typed on the Police department's computer and was entertained by her first man in uniform.

Emma and her sitter-man in uniform

I have to tell you that all this kindness nearly caused me to forget how upset I was at the whole incident. I do realize that a pregnant mother of a young, cute child provokes sympathy and that it is their job to help citizens in need, but I have not often encountered such benevolence in a police department. So Hurray! and a big, fat medal for the Viennese Police for being so friendly, helpful and efficient. I hope the other 100/day victims of purse theft get the same treatment. If only they could catch the thief and get my wallet back too!

While we are at the Police station, my phone rings; it's Nina from one of my favorite shops in Vienna telling me that the top I wanted has arrived in my size and that I can pick it up tomorrow. Yeah, how? I have no money, no plastic. Luckily, Nina agrees to hold it for me.

Nearly three hours after the approximate time of the theft, Emma and I headed back to the garage where the kind parking employee made sure we and our car were let out without any further ado.

On our way home, the phone rang flashing an unknown number; Steph's flight, it turns out is postponed for mysterious reasons.

Oh boy.

Well, at the rate our luck is going today, perhaps it's better that the flight technicians double check the plane...

At home, the phone rings again as I am putting Emma to bed after a quick dinner; Steph's flight has been canceled. No cars available. They are trying to get a flight back for tomorrow morning.

Well, at least he's with a nice colleague and they can get themselves some dinner and glass of wine before sleeping the day off.

And, at least Emma and I are safely home, no physical injuries, healthy and warm. Could have been worse, I guess.

But I do resent that woman for stealing from me. For picking on another woman. For picking on someone who was running after her kid and could not have run after her even if I had (consciously) noticed what she was doing. I hope she sees the smiling pics of Emma, Steph and I in my wallet and feels bad. I hope she decides to take my wallet to a shop, hotel or police station saying she found it so I can get it back.

A text from Steph; they have found a hotel room and are off to dinner.

Tomorrow is another day.

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