An innocent, harmless phone-call in a perfectly normal phone booth (at least, more normal than its conjoined twin that had just eaten my other Euro). There I stood, making simple repetitive noises into what seemed to be a garden-variety mouthpiece, while standing on a concrete slab soaking in what seemed to be Class-A bum-urine. My notepad lay on top of the phone, my wallet on a small blue plastic shelf to the side.
I hung up and left. I walked for a while, daydreaming, in the general direction of an Internet Cafe. Ten minutes passed. I entered the Internet Cafe (“@WIRED@”), and reached for my
The next thing I remember I was pounding the pavement back up the road, backpack and assorted travel accoutrements slapping randomly against my torso, trying to picture the pamphlet for my travel insurance with enough clarity to figure out which contents of my wallet I’d have to replace myself. In my mind, devious Hollywood-style vagrants were already flicking through the various compartments, pocketing cash and cards and flinging the rest in the gutter with a laugh.
I rounded several bends, my heart knocking at my ribs and my eyes scouring the road ahead for the intersection with the phones. Was it to the right of that T or the left? I arrived just as the traffic lights changed to prevent me from crossing. I could see the phone booths. I couldn’t see the shelf. Laddish types milled around on the other side of the road, buses rumbled past stop-start, obscuring the booths for seconds at a time. I heaved and sweated in my heavy jumper. My jeans clung to my hot sweaty legs. Finally, the lights changed and I made my dash around several still-moving cars and a parked bus to the booth and
there it was.
I rushed to the booth and grabbed and pocketed the wallet and immediately crossed back, back towards the Internet Cafe. I am a bad traveller. A bad, bad traveller.