Bye-Bye Blackberry (Ode to the Santiago Metro)

It was bound to happen sooner or later. In my case it was later. After 18 years of life in Santiago, someone finally managed to pick my pocket and make off with something valuable.

The crazy thing is that I was in a hurry and was going to take a taxi… but I was coming from an all-day seminar on Sustainability and was jazzed about being more environmentally responsible. I had made little mental post-it notes to contact the mayor to find out where all the recycling centers are in my neighborhood and insist they add more. I vowed to walk more and print less. I was psyched and cooking up strategies to leave this world a better place for my children’s children’s children; I was flying high on how to do my part for the environment… so of course I couldn’t stoop to a taxi after all that! No… the Metro it would be…

Let me just say that I am, by nature, careful about my things. All zippers zipped, snaps snapped, and straps strapped. In all these years no one has ever gotten anything out of my purse without my express will and knowledge.
Wait. I lie. I DID catch a guy with his hand in my bag a few years ago, but the joke was on him because I had a bad cold and all he got–you guessed it–was a handful of used tissues. I put the bad cold curse on him. The icky kleenex hex. Served him right, and I hope he snuffled for a month.

The thing is that at one point I DID feel something odd, but felt around and reassured myself that the zipper was secure and didn’t give it a thought until I got home and looked for my keys and,  hmm, that’s weird, why is this open? But even then it didn’t register that the Blackberry–did I mention it was new? was gone… yeah, the one that contains ALL my contacts… The one I just bought for work… (it’s not a toy— no, it’s NOT!)

It wasn’t until a couple hours later that I realized I did not have it. I hunted, I scrambled, I literally dumped EVERYTHING out of the bag and yelled choice words, hoping they would conjure up a phone while inventing much nastier curses that were exceedingly more creative than the former simple soggy tissue type. I believe a pox was involved. Perhaps leprosy too. No rotting in hell for this guy–let him suffer in the here and now. Acne, flatulence, and erectile dysfunction in a Viagra-less world. May his son don a tutu and his daughter grow a beard. May his wife run off with another woman, and his mother–well,  she’s probably suffered enough with this jerk already. I suddenly liked the chopping off of thieving hands, along with an eye for an eye and not one, but a whole mouthful of rotting teeth, for a Blackberry. Maggots and molten lava…you get the idea.

I had to cancel the cell service, but since I no longer had the phone, I had to google the company for a land line number and dial, while repeatedly choosing incorrectly from infuriating numeric options (click-dial-repeat-click-dial-repeat) while yelling at the recording to GIVE ME A REAL PERSON! Turns out that that works! Gotta say, though, that the real person who finally picked up managed to calm me down and get coherent responses out of me so that she could block the line and assure me that no, I would not have to pay for any calls to Mars made in the last 2 hours.

So there it is. The price for social responsibility. So my question is: can you measure the carbon footprint of a stolen Blackberry? And am I correct in believing that I have just earned enough carbon credits to offset future taxi service?

Update: Imagine how thrilled I was to discover, when I got my monthly bill, that the ·$%&·%$ thief had manage to run up $150,000 pesos (roughly 300 bucks) in long distance phone calls to Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti, and Cuba during the 2 hours that I was unaware that the phone had gone missing. I didn’t even know I HAD long distance service! It turns out the company turns it on automatically and you have to specifically request they turn it off if you don’t want it… so, that said, remember that forewarned is forearmed!


For more on the Santiago Metro, see: “Santiago  Metro: the Daily  Crush

25 responses to “Bye-Bye Blackberry (Ode to the Santiago Metro)

  1. Pingback: Santiago Metro: the daily crush « Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture

  2. this is terribly grrr-worthy. Sorry he got it, and sorry he made off with your contacts, which is, of course, the most frustrating part. I think we all (unfortunately) know what it’s like to get a cell phone stolen, especially (unfortunately) those of us who live in Santiago.

  3. I’m still sputtering and spewing, although I do have to admit that hex-inventing has had a strangely therapeutic effect!
    What would YOU wish on him?

  4. In situations where I have to wish ill upon someone, I usually go for rusty spoons and eye gouging.

  5. Oh! Now there’s an interesting idea! Go ahead… foist that one upon him too!

  6. I like to go for a little old-fashioned tummy trouble at an inopportune moment. Painful and embarrasing!

  7. Aw c’mon- you’re letting the guy off too easy! <I got that from being the victim in this business!

  8. Peg…..that just sucks ! And all for trying to be a good member of the human race…..that will teach you! Just kidding…but keep us posted on the hexes, I might even create a hex file for future reference !

  9. Thanks Jude… I think a hex file would be a good idea… What was that TV show about the 3 sister witches that had a book of spells? I kept wishing I had one of those last night!

  10. Maybe that was a message from the universe, Margaret. Let me side with the economists on this one: little acts toward sustainability are sign of a good and caring person but probably ineffective. The true solution is in a carbon tax. If individual efforts would be enough for anything, we wouldn’t have taxes and rely on charitable donations alone.

    I don’t think that is an indictment of the capacity of people to do good and change their behaviour for the better. It is just an acceptance of the fact that when large numbers of people are involved, coordination is best achieved through rules.

    Just sayin’…

  11. Hi JJ- It’s been a while since I’ve “seen you” round these parts! Where ya been?
    Point taken, but while small acts may not do much in themselves, I think together they go a long way toward changing mindsets… and if we all just sit around waiting for someone to put a hex (I mean tax) on the big guys, we end up being complacent and nothing will ever change… But, if, on the other hand, one person gets inspired and influences his/her world, and each one of those people does the same, the concentric circles of concern should eventually radiate outward to those who make the important decisions… right?

  12. Where have I been? lurking… muahaha! but always reading your blog.

    I agree with your point, the real importance of all the “little acts of sustainability” is changing the mindset and getting the attention of politicians, who will never do anything if we do not make them…

  13. Well glad to hear you’re still around, although I’ve missed your always astute comments!
    Also glad it seems we’re on the same sustainability page! Baby steps, one at a time, will eventually get to the finish line, but thumb-twiddling and looking the other way will get us nowhere!

  14. As I already said, sorry! That really stinks. I hate the feeling of putting your hand into your pocket and realizing that something’s not there that should be. It’s kind of like how when I got robbed, it was because I chose to walk 12 blocks instead of take a bus (you know, to be healthier). Luckily, the stupid weon’s team (La U) lost that day, so all I could say was, “Karma’s a bitch!”

  15. Hi Abby- thanks… but your situation was really worse because it involved bold-faced confrontation with a whole bus-load of people looking on and no one making an effort to help you! (how about giving us the link to your post about that incident!) In my case, I never had a clue, so at least there was no fear factor involved.
    But yes, it sucks to be going about your life, minding your own business, and someone intrudes in such an invasive way!

  16. That sucks! I don’t know what else to say, but I’ll get out my voo-doo doll and give him shingles and crabs and maybe some freakish allergic reaction to some chemical on your blackberry.
    … and good for you with your little acts of sustainability! Don’t let this dishearten you, it could have happened anywhere.

  17. Oh! Shingles AND crabs! I LIKE that! and yes, he should be allergic to my vibes that continue to emanate from the hot little Berry… maybe the little red blinkie light should give him shocks every time he puts it to his ear!

    But just for the record- I’m still angry, but this blog curse thing has been quite therapeutic and it’s pretty much behind me now!

  18. Pingback: May I take your purse? « Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture

  19. Sorry. I often tell people that while bad things like that have happened to friends of mine nothing has really happened to me *knock on wood*. A similar story happened to a friend of mine when she was on the metro and someone lifted her wallet straight out of the bottom of her huge purse and she didn’t feel anything. Plus, no one else saw anything either… or at least they didn’t say anything. So frustrating!

  20. I wracked my brain trying to figure out how it could’ve happened, and I’m now sure that it must have been at the Tobalaba stop when there was plenty of pushing and shoving between those getting on and those getting off… it’s the only time I wouldn’t have thought anything about being jostled around… Word of warning for next time!

  21. Arrghh! I hate that this happened to you. But I feel the same way as you did before the little skeeze made off with your BB – like I’m just biding my time until I get robbed or groped on the metro or something even worse. You can only do so much to protect your belongings before you’re a paranoid lunatic with cell phones taped to body parts and money stuffed in locations no one – not even a crook – would want to go. Thanks for sharing though – everyone can learn from these kinds of experiences.

    Not to mention I busted a gut laughing about the ‘daughter growing a beard’ part. 😉

  22. Hi Mani-
    Thanks… glad you liked the creative hexing… I tried to think of things that would really bug this guy and hit his masculine pride… so, sorry to the daughter, but it was very therapeutic for me!
    But it would be no fun to live in a bunker, so we just need to have a bit of common sense along with a sense of humor I s’pose!

  23. That is so frustrating. I know you’re the type of person to remain alert in that type of situation. How in the world do pick pockets work so stealthily? I’m so clumsy that I’d be caught the moment my fingers hit the zipper.

    It sounds like the appropriate situation for a voodoo doll. I am all about casting curses, poxes, and hexes.

  24. ooo-yeahg! Voodoo! Sounds great!
    About the HOW- I am now thoroughly convinced that it was during the mass transit crush at Tobalaba, where 2 metro lines intersect and therefore there are lots of people getting on and off. Be forewarned- pickpockets don’t have to work so carefully because you’re already being jostled around and won’t feel or suspect that anyone is pinching your stuff!

  25. Is it metro cuadrado? or metro cuidado?

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