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November 28, 2004

Almost Robbed, Again!!!

I was pulled over on the side of the street near my hotel in Milan. I was at the trunk, organizing my stuff to bring up to the hotel when a man on a scooter came by and said "Scusi!" and started talking to me. Asked me if I spoke English and was trying to introduce himself. He didn't pull completely over to where I was standing, remaining a few feet away. I was feeling a little puzzled. Why was this man trying to talk to me? What did he want? Because he was kind of far away, before I stepped over to him to find out what he wanted, I instinctively looked back at the car to make sure it's okay (I'm more careful now after having our bag slashed in Rome). And I saw another man leaning into the backseat of my car!!!! Did I leave the back door ajar?? Or did he open it while I was being distracted by his scooter cohort?? I don't know. I yelled out "HEY!" to him and he turned and started to run while holding my jacket (which was in the backseat). I took a step back and reached over to him and pulled my jacket back before he was able to run away. By the time I turned around, the scooter accomplice was gone as well. My heart was racing a mile a minute and I closed the trunk and jumped back in the car and locked all the doors and tried to calm down. I've never directly confronted criminals before. It was unnerving. To think, all my camera equipment were in the backseat as well!

I was almost going to overlook the incident in Rome because, fine, you can get pickpocketed anywhere in the world and maybe it just happened to have happened in Rome for me. It didn't necessarily have to mean anything (even though it did confirm what all the guidebooks and even local Italians, say about crime here). I was willing to chaulk it up to bad luck. BUT, now twice in two weeks I have been robbed. That's insane. In 31 years I was not robbed once. [Well, okay, I had my camcorder stolen in Amsterdam, but that was more about me being careless and leaving it unguarded. Nobody used a knife to slice anything open and nobody tried to trick me into leaving the camcorder; it was all me.] Now twice in two weeks in Italy I have been (almost) robbed. That's no bad luck, that's just a scary country.

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