I recently cast off my law-abiding habits and turned into a criminal, for about 20 minutes.
Ironically, it happened, just as a skinny teenager had whizzed past me on his bike and had tried to steal my smart phone. That’s when I turned into an improbable Rambo and fought back.
I could have been sensible and let the miscreant get away with it, but
a) I am not insured and I am cash strapped, so letting go of this phone was not an option
b) A righteousness worthy of a heroine straight from a Greek tragedy took over: the wrong-doer will be punished, punished, punished, punished (the last three ‘punished’ chanted by a choir in my head)
c) My contacts are not backed
So, armed with this mixture of lofty ideals and practical reasons, I snatched the phone back, and started screaming B******, which alerted a couple walking just ahead of me.
The man intercepted the would-be thief, who lost his balance, fell off the bike, left it and sprinted ahead, in a manner that in more constructive circumstances would probably have won him an Olympic gold medal. I say this with admiration.
You too would be seriously impressed, if you had seen how fast he got, despite his low trousers. If this petty criminal can run so fast thus impeded, think what he could achieve wearing suitable kit.
But I digress.
From the moment low-trousers, low-life made a dash for freedom, I became a thief. That’s right: he tried to get my phone and I got his (or perhaps not strictly his) bike.
I grabbed the bike and decided to bring it down to the nearest police station. The couple: Anthony from Australia, who so bravely stopped the would-be thief and Amelie from France kindly came with me. On the way, after introducing myself and thanking them a few times for their public-spirited attitude, I entertained them with this thought: what if our low-trousers & low-life turned the tables?
After all I was the one who had taken another’s (whoever it might be) property and in the interval between my appropriating it and my transferring it into the care of the police, how could I prove that my intentions were honourable?
The marvellous Anthony and Amelie laughed, but the truth is that I could not, so there you go: low trousers & low-life had turned me, an over-worked, pretty boring, average person into a fellow low-life. I am not qualified: I do not even have one tenth of this youngster’s athletic credentials.
Meanwhile, you dear reader, (and maybe you too, petty criminal) will be interested to know that the police have now a DNA sample (out of the sweaty finger prints on the vehicle) and are looking for our sprinter.
I don’t know whether my assailant will ever account for his attempt to take away my phone, but I hope he learnt a lesson: people do fight back. Even someone as anti-Rambo, average-looking as me can experience a moment of unbridled rebellion.
So, if you are reading this, kid: listen to someone considerably older (and heavier) than you: if the carry-on I have witnessed is anything to go by, you have a future in athletics, not in crime.
Ditch phone snatching, get a pair of good running shoes. Meanwhile, I got the bike.