Unraveled in Paris

August 18 – My previous experiences with Paris had been casual encounters as I passed through to somewhere else. I was pretty excited when I woke up. My friend, Jennifer, was on her way to Paris from Colorado and I was looking forward to seeing the city. I had some time before she arrived and I thought I should probably get the photos copied from the phone to my computer. I went to my bag to get the cord and realized I really needed to get some laundry done. Distracted I grabbed all my clothes and headed to the laundromat I’d seen the night before. I took a picture and made a flip comment on Facebook for my friends back home to not be jealous.

There was a nice French guy that came in and started talking to me as I tried to figure out the soap dispenser. He helped me get it sorted out then left, indicating he had forgotten something at his flat and he’d be back. He never did return which I thought was a little odd, but whatever. Laundry done I packed it back to the hotel and decided I may as well get started to the airport.

At the train station I confidently purchased my fare to the airport and went through the turn style. Having just been to the airport yesterday I knew what station to transfer at and where to catch the line to the airport. What hadn’t dawned me until I was at the transfer point is I was on my way to the wrong airport. SHIT! So I talk to the guys at the information booth and they tell me I can’t get the ticket changed to get to the correct airport. They escorted me through an odd entrance to lead me back to the ticket booth where I had to purchase a new ticket. Well that was annoying, and a bit costly. As I went through the turn style and back into the main station there was a woman pushing on me, trying to push herself behind me through the turn style. I stopped and she got caught on the other side. It made me uncomfortable enough I checked to make sure my wallet and phone were in tact. Everything is accounted for.

I finally figured out the right train to take to Orly. A few transfers later and I was at the airport. Thankfully Jennifer and I didn’t have too much trouble connecting at the airport. She was traveling light so we didn’t have to wait for checked bags so we hopped the train. We transferred through the same station and I swear I saw the same woman hanging around the station. Interesting coincidence in such a big city. As we exited the final train at our station I felt my phone slip in my front pants pocket. I pushed it back toward the front of the pocket thinking nothing of it. At the turn style I stood beside Jennifer helping show her how to insert the ticket to get through. I put my ticket into the slot and as I walked through the turn style I felt my phone slip out of my pocket. At first I thought I had simply dropped it but as I turned and the door closed I saw a man running away. F*CK, he’s got my phone!! The only other guy on the other side of the turn style had his headphones on. There was no way for me to get back through the door and what would I have done anyway? I wasn’t going to catch him. No doubt he’d already hopped on a train and there were so many options. I bought a ticket to get me back through the turn style and decided to check the station just in case maybe I’d dropped it. Hoping. Praying. Nothing.

I returned to Jennifer and went to the ticket counter. Fortunately one of the attendants spoke enough English I was able to tell him what happened. He seemed genuinely surprised my phone had been pick pocketed right there in his station. I guess I didn’t did enough screaming or something. There was nothing they could do but provide me the address for the nearest police station.

My mind was racing as we left the train station and headed to the hotel. I laughed because I had just shattered the screen a few days earlier. With the encryption needed for work stuff I felt reasonably safe they wouldn’t be getting logged in to the phone easily. We rushed to the hotel where I was able to get online and disable the phone so I was feeling like they had just stolen a brick that was going to be essentially useless. I changed all the passwords on related accounts and then it hit me. O.M.G! I didn’t copy over my pictures. NOOOOOO!!! My heart sank. I did some digging hoping there was a way for Google to pull the data off my phone. Unfortunately I had shut off syncing with the cloud because of the resources it uses. Ten days worth of photos were essentially gone. Some of the most memorable moments of my life. I was mad, mostly at myself because I had planned on saving those pictures that morning but hadn’t. It was a really tough lesson to learn. Fortunately I’ll always have the memories.

After I finished with my freak out and doing what I could to secure my information and accounts Jennifer and I went down the street to the market. We found a bakery that had delicious sandwiches and we stopped at another shop for a bottle of wine. We opted to wait until the next day to go report the phone stolen. We returned to the hotel where I started my work day and Jennifer tried to work out her jetlag.

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