Saturday, May 23, 2009
this is my story of the week.
last wednesday, i went to this beautiful park. honestly, it was so quiet and well manicured that it felt like maybe i wasn't in xining for the afternoon. so lovely. i spent maybe two hours sitting on a pier in the (eighty degree) sun reading a book and eating bread. after this, feeling incredibly relaxed and sunned, i went to this market called ximen to meet up with sara and some visiting couchsurfers. i had been wearing trousers all day, and was really quite warm, so i decided to go look for a skirt to buy and change into, just to cool off. i left sara and the surfers checking out tibetan trinkets and went to another aisle that sells clothing to rummage through the racks. while i was in one store, my friend called me, so i talked to him for a while, then put my phone in the pocket of my trousers and moved on to the next shop. while there, i was distracted, looking around at the clothes, still kind of sun-struck from being out in the heat all day, and i felt something slip out of my pocket. i looked down, and my cellphone wasn't there anymore! at first, i thought that maybe i had put the phone into my purse and was just being crazy, but really, i KNEW that it had been in my pocket. so i started looking around, mumbling "my phone, where is it?" in chinese, and hoping someone would come to my rescue. while i was looking around, i saw this man near the door taking a quick look at something in his hand, and i saw in a flash that it was the same color as my phone! so i went over to him (it was a matter of a step or two) and said "you have my phone, give it to me", at which he stepped out of the shop, put his hand into his pocket, pulled out his cellphone (this ugly pink thing that was probably also stolen) and said "no, i don't have your phone, i have this phone". then, i noticed that there was a man directly behind him, and it just seemed like they were standing too close for it to be coincidence... and i realized that he must have handed off my phone! i was SO SO SO MAD! so i grabbed both of the men by the arms and said something in chinese that was supposed to be "you stole my phone! give it back!" but maybe was too saturated with angry and frustrated swearing for it to be understood. but they KNEW what i was saying, and they both were shaking their heads saying "no, we didn't steal your phone" "no no no" sort of stuff, and by this point i was just livid. they must have been really freaked out, because i just started hitting them (not hard, just like, frustrated) and shaking their arms and pushing them and repeating "you stole my phone" over and over like a crazy person. i looked at the shop keeper was said "they stole my phone!" but she didn't really do anything, so i just started saying really really loud "they stole my phone! they stole my phone!", and we were in the middle of this crowded market, and i'm a white girl holding onto these two tall dudes shouting at them and they were like "fine, here!" (and they were TOTALLY PISSED at me!) and gave me my phone back! yay! . then they both kind of disappeared, to me swearing at them (in english, but they still totally knew what i meant), wishing i knew how to contact the police and them swearing at me (because they should be able to steal my phone?) and i just booked and went and found sara- i was totally shaking and freaked out adrenaline wise- those kind of situations are really weird, you know, because the whole time you're thinking about how you should have done something differently (like i wish i had been able to be more badass, and like have hit them hard or put them up against a wall or something) but in reality, you probably did just what was right in the situation. because i got my phone back and i don't have to deal with the hassle of getting a new one or anything... but really- i wish i could have been more intimidating. i was probably plenty intimidating to them though, because i guess a lot of people won't even do anything if their stuff gets stolen. i don't know if i usually would, either, especially if i was a smaller chinese girl. the girls at work have been telling me that i was really "brave", because even if they had seen someone do that, they would have just let it go- because they would be afraid of getting hurt. and someone else told me that probably the shopkeeper didn't step in because she might have been afraid of them coming back to hurt her store if they got in trouble. so i guess me standing up to them and grabbing them was probably totally frightening to the guys (especially because i'm a foreigner, who people say are "easy targets")... so i'm happy. and really pumped up and aggressive lately. it's weird to feel like this. but i'm also being really careful of my things from now on.