Friday, November 03, 2006

I piss on brussels

it was just about a month ago, on my way back to lille after visiting my uncle in cologne...changing trains at brussels midi, had over an hour to kill and so loitered around the station (cardinal sin #1)...looking for (what else?) waffles!! it had been over a year since i'd had one...the memory was tempting enough. backpack still on back i put my laptop bag down (cardinal sin #2) to look up to see which platform my train was going to come and check out the waffles on offer.

out of nowhere came this north african early twenties guy facing me on my right. "amsterdam? amsterdam?" he asked me twice...i was tired, it was a long day n my shoulders were aching...i turned around to look down...but it was gone! fucking shit! felt all the oxygen sucked out of my laptop bag was stolen. looking down in sheer disbelief..closed n opened my eyes just in case they were tricking me!!fuck! i kicked myself! the classic distraction trick...mouth still open, i ran around as if they'd still be around! noooo i cursed myself, how could i let them!

perfect timing! thanksgiving weekend, crowded train station...i was a wreck...looked around some more...had wandered around the station enough to know where exactly the cop station was..."stand back!" growled some white beef in blue...quickly try to bring my heartrate down...lick my lips in a desperate attempt to help words form. "my laptop bag has just be stolen" i blurt out.
"my passport went too...that was my ID!"
"sorry there's nothing I can do for you"
"but...." i stutter...
"you'll have to go to your embassy, i can't help you"

as incredulous as it sounded to me, i walked out in complete disbelief...but i need a police complaint before i go to my embassy, i reasoned in my head ...walking...thinking, i find two security gaurds, repeat my story. they're more compassionate n take me to another cop stn just outside the train stn. there charlie one speaks to tango two and i'm sent back to the train stn cop stn. This time white beef in blue motions me to wait as he is busy. i sit alone...very alone...most calming...

c! won't take her phone, i get my uncle's answering machine...god-cursed!...sms the breaking news...c! still won't answer her phone...more panic-struck just-been-robbed weepies join an hour, we're five!! i shake my head...they shake theirs.

finally, white beef calls for me...i'm upset n angry but calmer by now. i protest immediately about him not having me helped me n worse kept me waiting for an hour now (cardinal sin #3)...white turned to red and my internal alarm blew furiously. quickly climbing down, i apologise and say ya, my laptop bag with my passport's been stolen, what do i need to do? how can you help me? now he tells me that yes he'd give me a letter that i need to get endorsed from my embassy that i am indeed their citizen, then i can come back n he or his colleagues would take my statement! phew! he explained that anyone could walk in n say they'd lost their passport n jump boat...true, i agree, we shake hands n i leave with that cyclostyled piece of paper.

by now, i just had a lil over 20 euros in my wallet (down from the 400odd i had in my laptop bag (cardinal sin#4)...a slow local train tic was all i could afford. my shoulders did feel lighter, i must admit...and settled in to the longest 2hr train ride in my life (the eurostar does it in 40mins!!)