the craziest thing happened to me last night.
After my massage at Subconscious, I was taking a leisurely stroll down Changle Lu in the French Concession, window shopping in some nearby shops. It was about 9PM on a Monday night, so there weren’t a lot of people out. Seeing as it’s winter in Shanghai, I had on my puffy parka-like coat- hood up, iPhone in my pocket, jamming out to some tunes, minding my own business. As I’m nearing the intersection where I planned to hail a cab, I’m suddenly not listening to music anymore. “Hmmmm, that’s weird,” I thought. I figured I must have knocked my headphones out of my phone, as I often do, because the cord was dangling in front of me. Instinctively, I reached into my right pocket to pull out my phone and plug them back in when…Oh No! Where is my iPhone!
I was JUST listening to music, and now it’s not there! In it’s place…emptiness. I can’t lose my phone! I need it! Someone just stole my phone! I have to get it back! How I was going to get it back, I had no idea, but I was determined to reclaim what was mine. I quickly turned around, headed back the way I just came. As I said earlier, there weren’t many people out on the street. Surveying the area, I noticed a Chinese man in his mid-twenties emerge from a nearby alley. Wearing a track jacket, jeans, and trainers, he was just your average guy. Something told me he was the one who had taken my phone. I’d never seen him before, nor had I even felt someone reach into my pocket, but I was sure it was him.
I marched right up to him and, wagging my finger in his face, yelled, “You took my phone! Give it back now!”
“Shenme?” he responded, clearly confused by my English.
“I know you have my phone! I want it back!”
Another confused look crossed his face, followed by inaudible mumblings.
Something kept gnawing at me that this was the guy. Glancing at his jacket pocket, I noticed the outline of something rectangular. Pointing, I shouted, “Empty your pockets! Give me back my phone! Now! Take out what’s in your pockets!”
At this point, he’s fumbling around, his face bearing that familiar guilty look I know so well from my years of teaching elementary school. He might not have understood what I was saying, but he knew what I meant. Continuing my rant, I demanded again that he show me what was in his pockets. By some sort of miracle, he didn’t take off running, nor did he do anything to hurt me, but instead, emptied his pockets, revealing my iPhone. After immediately snatching it from his hand, I scolded, “You don’t do that! You don’t steal someone’s phone! That’s not nice! You are so rude!”
Feeling vindicated, I stuffed my phone back into my pocket, turned, and walked away. My heart pounding out of my chest, I felt this rush of adrenalin. Did I really just do that? Did I confront a man who stole something from me and WIN?!?! Who am I? I’m a badass. That’s what I am.
**After living in Shanghai for 3 and a half years, I’ve had more than my share of bad luck when it comes to things being stolen– one phone, four bikes, and, most recently, 5000RMB. My go-to response has always been self-pity and a lot of crying, but not this time. For whatever reason, I was not going to take it again. The Jennifer I was a year ago would never have done what I did last night. I’m not entirely sure what came over me, but I’m pretty darn proud of myself for standing up and taking back what was mine!