April 8, 2009

Buddha is Chasing Me!

Just after I had professed my devotion to simplicity and made an offering of almost all the contents of my big backpack to China Post, the god of non-attachment decided that this just was not good enough. It could be said that I saw a divine light by the side of the road, in the middle of the countryside, when I realized that there had been a successful heist of my entire purse, but I think that was a spitfire of cranial blood vessels erupting in blinding anger.
This brings my robbery total to a whopping 4, with 3 of them occurring in the last three months, 2 successful and one attempt in China alone. And each time the scenario gets more and more unlikely that I am now convinced the Buddha has great plans for me. The last time was in a Buddhist monastery and this time I was standing on a ledge, in the middle of the country, watching an accident being cleaned up when I turned and in an instance, noticed that my bag, which was sitting at the base of my feet, had disappeared. I instantly became a roadside spectacle when I started running around like a headless chicken, neck veins swollen, cussing like a trucker. It seems as though China is not only famous for it’s sticky rice but for it’s sticky fingers as well.
The initial inventory calculation was heartbreaking: my passport, my wallet with credit cards, my small camera, my phone, my ipod, my secret stuffed bear with $100 emergency cash, my notebook with a bunch of contacts, my wine opener, my favorite lip gloss…and all my lucky charms, which perhaps weren’t so lucky after all.
Once I processed what had just taken place, the luckiness of the unlucky situation started to penetrate my rational mind and I started to calm down. I had just gotten robbed, but I happened to be in the good company of Peter from England, who immediately stepped in as my angel with emergency financial support and a sense of humor that made it difficult not to start laughing about the absurdity of my predicament (Thank You Again Peter!). True, I had been robbed in the middle of the countryside, but we just so happened to be heading to Chengdu, a Chinese city that actually has a US consulate. The thieves made off with some good booty, but I realized that I was fortunate enough to be able to replace these things…it would all be covered under my insurance, right?
Wrong. Like time through the hourglass, so have been the days of my travels, and I came to learn when processing my claim that my travel insurance had expired 10 days before the robbery. It’s clear that Buddha doesn’t want me to replace too much. I secured a new passport in an hour, a new visa in five days, a new ipod in an afternoon and was gifted a new wine opener.

To Purse or Not To Purse?
Feeling a bit vulnerable with non-attachable items, I debated getting a new purse or not. After much internal discussion, I decided that my new strategy will be to paste everything on my physical body, so that potential robbers will literally have to steal me to get to all the stuff I don’t own anymore.
Although, I am still contemplating a decoy purse. One that I plan to fill with a big pile of poo poo so that when the thieves steal it and open it they will know exactly how I feel about them, and I will finally have a small sliver of justice!

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