London steals a lot of things from you. Your sanity, your dignity, your ability to copy with even the most minor inconveniences in a rational, reasonable way. Anyone who has ever tsked or been tsked knows all about that.
Sometimes it goes a little further though, and you suddenly find that things you once had and enjoyed are now no longer with you. Such as H1's discovery, very early in the morning last Tuesday, that his scooter had done a runner - or more likely, that someone or someones of the 'dirty thief' persuasion had done a runner with said scooter.
We were both stunned - so stunned, in fact, that neither of us really believed it had happened until a few days later. As I said, it was very early in the morning, after a long weekend of little sleep, and my first thought was that it was still there, and H1 had merely not looked properly, as if it was a pair of socks, or the coffee. I would feel mean and disloyal about this, were it not for the fact that I confessed it to H1 and he admitted he had thought the same thing. Anyway, I had a look too, and the scooter was definitely not there, so H1 called the police and the towing company before making his way to work by cycle, where he called the police again and his insurance company and then, presumably, did some work.
Despite our checking every time we walk past, the scooter is definitely no longer there. Nor has it been towed. The only option left is downright dirty thievery. I do wonder why H1's scooter was targeted - it was parked down a private driveway with about seven other scooters, all of which are still there. It was a wise move on their part though, as we had just spent a few hundred quid fixing bits of it and having it serviced, so they got a good deal for their money. Oh wait! No money exchanged hands. They stole it. They got a good deal for their stealing.
We are waiting to hear from the insurance company, and have received a nice letter from the police, stating their dismay at our loss and explaining that, due to a lack of evidence, they won't be looking any further into the case. We do understand that, but the letter arrived Wednesday - not 24 hours after H1 reported the scooter missing. Seriously, they must have been typing it up as H1 talked to them. Quite the efficient force, that Fulham one.
Now that I've accepted the loss, I'm a little mad. Maybe it's showing. It's funny, because the last time we suffered at the hands of a thief, I wasn't mad at all. Although, that said, 'suffer' is maybe too strong a word. 'Laughed' is probably more fitting. We laughed at the hands of a thief.
We were heading out for a nice day somewhere, somewhere in Fulham I imagine, and were walking past the iron railings on the footpath near on the corner of our street when I idly noticed a helmet hanging from the railings. "That looks like mine," I began to utter, before doing a double take and realising it was, in fact, mine. H1 had realised a split second before me, and was busy unclipping it. We turned it over, examining it, ensuring it was actually mine and we weren't in the midst of stealing some other poor girl's helmet, and after deciding it definitely belonged to me and giving it a couple of cautious sniffs, we put it back in the scooter where it lived, and went on our merry way, laughing intermittently all day at the person who had gone to the effort of breaking into the scooter and removing the helmet before getting across the road and deciding they didn't want it after all. I was a little offended - it is an excellent helmet, a soft grey colour with a big flower on the back - but mainly glad I hadn't lost it after all. I still have it actually - it sits resplendent on a shelf, absolutely useless because the scooter has been stolen more successfully than it was, and I'm not yet uncoordinated enough to need it for everyday life. Not yet.
All of this pales, however, when compared to what happened to my friend's sister last week, who was pushed to the ground and kicked in the face during a mugging. People who steal a scooter are one thing, but people who viciously attack another person to gain a handbag containing (lets assume, based on the contents of my handbag) a phone that could be sold for maybe £50, a wallet with a load of cards they can't use, which will be immediately cancelled anyway, and if they're lucky £20 or so in cash, a bunch of screwed up receipts, a half empty packet of mints, four separate lip balms, three pens, and some paracetamol - they're quite another, and there are no jokes to be made about them. This particular attacker was stopped by another stranger who happened to be passing by, and luckily, because that makes this story one that turned out to be ok - one that is sad but has a relieving ending. It makes me happy to be able to say that friend's sister is shaken up but recovering. It also makes me happy to be able to say that friend's sister was already campaigning for better safety around this area (she is obviously an extremely good person who does not deserve this) but now she has gone through it, she can continue her campaigning with a sneer on her face, saying in a deep American voice, "This time it's personal."
So really, we're lucky in the grand scheme of things. I can cope with losing a scooter, nearly losing a helmet, and completely losing my dignity (I was never too attached to it anyway). But I don't know if I could cope with being mugged. Hopefully I will never find out. And hopefully the police will be looking into that case properly, and my friend's sister will not be the recipient of a form letter apologising for her loss.
Going slightly off topic, but too funny not to share, is the tale of a man, your archetypal, absolutely over the top Sloane - lets call him Henry - complaining about his burger in a well known Sloane-y pub the other day. Henry was very upset about the quality of his burger. It wasn't what he would expect from this establishment at all (ahem, it's still a pub). Henry was astounded they would charge £8 for such a burger. Henry had been well and truly ripped off. In fact, Henry had been mugged. (Henry's voice rose to a terrifying screech here, a level that would disturb bats).
I would suggest that perhaps Henry is not familiar with what actually entails a mugging. I'm pretty certain not enjoying your meal is not the same thing. But do correct me if I'm wrong.