My bag was stolen from a London pub this evening.
I was an idiot. It was hanging from the back of a chair that was at the end of a table. The bag is black, inconspicuous, easy to swipe without anyone noticing. I even thought when I put it over the edge of the chair that it was slightly vulnerable. A fleeting thought for a fraction of a second. But I’m out with 10+ colleagues. How could it go without anyone noticing?
But it did go. And how on earth the person took it I really don’t know. One minute it was there. The next minute it was gone. It literally happened right under our eyes. I should have known better. This kind of thing is endemic in London’s West End, where I work.
My house keys, my swipe card to enter my workplace, both phones (personal mobile and work PDA), book I’m currently reading and a magazine were all in the bag. As was an 8 GB memory stick I use to transport files (my netbook, which I’m typing this on, has no disk drive).
It could have been so much worse. I often keep both my wallet and my travel card in my bag as I don’t much like having them in my jeans pockets.
The travelcard, an annual London zones 1-3 travelcard, is worth £1,200. My wallet contained my very newly replaced driving license (I’d misplaced the last one having removed it for safe keeping ahead a of trip to Africa last year).
So it could have been a lot worse. Had my wallet and travelcard been stolen I would be absolutely incandescent. Instead, I’m pissed off, but I’ll get over it.
I need to get the locks changed as a precaution. I don’t remember if there was any personally identifiable address information in the bag or not. I’m minded to think not. But I can’t really take the risk.
Often my bag – a fairly old thing bought from Banana Republic on 5th Avenue in New York in 2002 – carries a lot of crap. But those with memories for minutiae may remember that a milk carton burst in my bag a few weeks ago (killing my old personal mobile phone though thankfully the SIM survived) and, before washing the bag, I removed a huge amount of paperwork, pay slips, etc, that had built up in the side pocket. And I’m glad I did.
What I am most pissed off about losing is 10 years of unbackedup telephone numbers for friends and family far and wide. That will teach me! The memory stick was encrypted so nothing much lost there (it had photos from my Wales trip many months ago as well as a copy of Photoshop Portable on it). So no big loss.
Crime! You always think it happens to other people but it invariably happens to you too in the end.