Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Foiled Again

So, the most irritating part of being pickpocketed AGAIN, is not (as you might guess), the actual losing of the wallet. I mean, sure I could have used that $30, but I probably would have used it on beer and it's now probably going to vodka instead. And yeah, I lost some business cards I needed to keep track of, but everybody knows everybody here so it shouldn't be hard to recompile my contacts. And while it's really sad that I was still carrying around my UT Student ID for sentimental reasons, at least now the perp can get a student discount on Brokeback Mountain at his nearest participating megaplex.

And although this is a close runner-up, my friends aren't even the most irritating part. There's no denying, I have indeed been robbed of my phone, my camera, and now my wallet, so I can also enjoy a good laugh at "Hey Susan, can you hold my gloves real quick? Oh wait, nevermind, I don't want somebody to steal them." Ha ha, you bastards.

No! The most irritating part is Bank of America. There's that tense period of time, in between the discovery of theft and before you can get to a computer to check your account and look up phone numbers, when you imagine your poor little Visa groaning under the weight of all the new Sony TVs it is financing. It is a tense time. It is a race against commerce. And so, I was anxiously pounding the keyboard on a verrrry sloooow internet connection, trying desperately to access my account. Finally, code entered, the webpage creaks open. But wait! That's not my account!

Hello! chirped the internet. Before you can access your account, we need you to set up a new SITEKEY!

Are you kidding me? My Visa, in my mind, is currently importing half of Dubai. But okay, fine, what do I have to do?

Upon my screen flutters a photograph of a triangle of creamy brie, artfully ringed by fleshy grapes on a rustic wooden butcher's block.

Please name this photo! the internet helpfully instructs. Use a name you will remember, from 6-30 characters in length!

I have to name the cheese? I have to name the fucking cheese? My Visa is sending some leather-jacketed thug's extended family on holiday to Bali and I have to name the fucking cheese?

The cheese was duly named "fucking CHEESE" and we moved on, if you can believe, to the next section: Now it's time for a few challenge questions!

What is your mother's maiden name? Bite Me. Where did you go to highschool? Screw off. I post these here, you see, in case I forget my witty little ripostes.

Ten minutes later, on an international call to the bank, I wonder if Customer Service Representative Deborah heard me colorfully informing her electronic colleague that no, I in fact was not effing interested in a mother-effing two-minute survey. Because when she brightly squeaked "thanks for your patience, and how are you doing this morning?" I could tell she was just trying to piss me off.

You know, there's a girl that was around. From Wisconsin, blonde as sunshine, loud as a brass band, not a word of Georgian or Russian to her name, as obviously American as apple ever-loving pie, and nothing ever happened to her. Here I am, learning the language, dressing neutrally, watching my back, not speaking English in public, playing the part, and I am systematically stripped of my worldly possessions. My former Russian colleague, Irina, used to be convinced that Americans simply led charmed, dumb-luck existences. Maybe I ought to drop the Georgian incognito act and bust out the star-spangled fanny pack.


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