My phone got stolen tonight. Out of my hands. On the train. There’s a short window of time after your phone gets stolen out of your hands on the train where you have a choice to make in how you react. You can chase it. You can sit quietly and sob. You can sit and try to act casual, as if nothing just happened…just like, start reading my book…and maybe humming. I think that last one would have been the coolest version. I did the first one. I chased the mother fuckers. But not before bellowing out “Come on, man!” I don’t know why those were the words. They clearly wouldn’t have worked. There’s no scenario where someone has ever yelled “Come on, man” at a robber and then they go, “Oh, I’m sorry…did you just say, ‘come on?’ I don’t know what I was thinking…here you go,” and they hand you back your shit.
I chased this asshole and his friends. They were teens I think. I bolted down the stairs at the train station, and I fucking caught up to them, and a phone slipped out of one of their hands. I thought I had done it. I thought I’d done the unthinkable from 3 seconds ago. I looked down at the phone on the ground, and I saw that there was a case to another phone. It looked like my phone had shattered. It took me a second to figure out that this was another phone, and by the time I thought about all of this, I’d let them get away. I ran out the door, and asked if anyone saw them run out, and no one would talk to me.
Holding the new phone, I didn’t know what to do. I just pictured some other person, in the same predicament as me, who was missing this phone. I handed it to a CTA guy for some fucking reason. I am still so mad at myself for that. What if it was this guy’s? I could’ve called the “Mom” contact, and started yelling, “Hey, do you know what your piece of shit kid did tonight?” And she’d be all like, “What did that boy do?” And I’d be like, “I’ll tell you…”, and then she’d tell me not to worry, I’d get my phone back, and that he’d get a worse punishing from her than the law could ever give. Then she’d send me a pie. Yeah, that would’ve gone over exactly like that. Even as I’m typing this, I’m shaking with anger that I didn’t keep that goddamned phone.
I have to have a smart phone for my dog walking job. It’s one of the requirements when they hire you…so I have to buy a new phone in the morning. This week, my tire blew out on Monday, costing me about $200, and now with this, for another week, I’m going to lose money doing my day job, on things that aren’t rent or bills.
But it’s not the money that’s frustrating. I can’t stop fantasizing about what happened. Playing out the ways it could’ve gone differently. I’m obsessed with it. Like this movie where I know the end, but I keep watching it anyway, hoping for something else. The look on the kid’s face when he did it. He was laughing. The CTA employee’s “This-Happens-Everyday-You-Moron expression. The short chase. Seeing the phone on the ground. It just keeps replaying with me holding my phone tighter. Or me catching up to him and tackling him. Or me getting stabbed. Or tripping them and getting stuck on the train with them in this odd sketch where your robber has just failed and now has to humbly sit at the front of the train. I can’t sleep.
All right, I’m going to try anyway because I have to be up real early to find out that my car has been destroyed by some group of juggalos committing random acts of violence because they love music that is tragically unlistenable.
Look, I realize worse things than this happen.
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