I keep my digital camera in my pack/man purse so it’s always handy if I want to grab a picture of something while I’m out and aboot. While at work, the man purse sits under my desk, tucked beside the plastic box that holds my phone headset and a few notebooks. Last night as per usual I went for my half hour break, doing so one floor up in the 9th floor lunchroom. It is the only time during the shift that the man purse is left unsupervised, apart from a few quick jaunts to the washroom.
Today before work I pull out assorted clutter from the pack so it will be nice and tidy. I notice that the zippered pocket containing the camera seems to be camera-less. I check again and it is indeed gone. I know it was in there as I distinctly recall putting it back in after uploading the hiking photos a few days ago. The camera, it seems, was gently removed from my possession by someone at my workplace — either a co-worker or one of the cleaning staff, likely while I was on my lunch break. They would have had no idea the camera was in there, they just saw the pack and rooted through it, unquestioned by anyone else nearby, apparently. I have no illusions of ever seeing that camera again. I am equally disappointed and angry with my fellow humans.
Since I discovered this theft about a half hour before work, I was not in the best of moods for my shift. As it turned out, I would witness someone later in the evening in a much worse mood.
The bus ride home from work was interesting — though nothing was stolen this time. Instead of the usual route out of downtown there was a detour down Hastings Street, with police cars a-plenty and several large swaths of street/sidewalk behind police tape but no sign of why the tape was there. I am guessing a stabbing with the perp still on the loose (update: turns out I was correct, though the suspect was caught). Once we passed this puzzling possible crime scene we picked up additional passengers: a set of about a half dozen or so early 20-somethings with some kind of light (lite?) faux punk thing happening, and a pair of heavyset men (more fat than muscle from what I could see).
These groups sat or stood in the front half of the bus. I was in one of the seats in the back, sitting next to a co-worker who lives in the same neighborhood as I do. We are quietly conversing when a rather loud conversation begins in the front part of the bus. It seemed the two groups that got on were exchanging varying levels of vitriol. One of the heavyset guys kept taunting the ‘white boy’ with ‘Last stop! Last stop! Last stop!’ with the then carefully explained threat that that is where he would beat the crap out of him. White boy (who probably weighed about 200 pounds less) murmured things back that I could not hear. The girls in tow looked somewhat alarmed at the events unfolding.
After several minutes of increasingly loud taunts and threats, the bus pulled into the stop at 12th and Clark — a tantalizingly seven blocks from my stop. And there it sat. The driver got up, walked over to Large Threatening Guy and told him, ‘This is the last stop.’ He made it clear that some people would be walking if the tone of the conversation didn’t take a turn for the kinder and gentler.
This did not happen.
The bus rider returned to his seat. Large Threatening Guy went to DEFCON 1 and promised to murder Skinny White Boy at the last stop. At this point I really was content to walk those last seven blocks but the developing altercation was square in front of the rear exit. I am thin but not thin enough to squeeze out of a bus window. So I sat and watched where developments would go.
The friend of LTG got off the bus and gingerly tugged on his ill-tempered buddy, managing to coax him partly through the door. Large Threatening Guy suddenly snapped and shot back in and quickly delivered a punch to Skinny White Boy. The crowd on the bus ravished, like the audience at a gladiatorial fight. Those standing shifted position, some striking defensive poses, others girding for the coming battle.
Instead, the friend of LTG successfully pulled his friend off the bus and the rear doors closed, leaving them to taunt from the sidewalk as the rain pelted down on them. The faux punk group all tittered in the same way people who jaywalk and barely miss getting flattened by a semi do. The remaining seven blocks of the ride proved uneventful.
So to summarize my day:
I hate my job.
I hate camera thieves.
I hate public transit.
I hate people.
I think I hate the planet.
I still like a nice slice of toast with almond butter and a hot cup of chai tea which has almost made me forget the other things.