and all I got was this lousy handprint on my ass.
After a faculty reading last night, I got on the Metro heading home with a group of friends. It was around ten, crowded. When we got on the car, we were closely packed. Right after the door closed, I felt someone squeeze my ass cheek. I turned, and a sleazy looking old man about a head shorter than me looked away. When he glanced back up at me, he looked frightened. I wasn't touched again.
I think he was trying to pick my pocket. I was wearing my jeans with a wallet-outline on the back pocket. Though Prague is much safer than any U.S. city in terms of violent crime, so-called stealth crime is rampant. Gangs of pick pockets work together to distract tourists (and some locals) so they can quickly pilfer a bag without being noticed.
For example: the other afternoon, four of us from the school were getting on the Metro. It was suddenly crowded; the man in front of me was walking backwards, holding onto the sleeve of the man next to him. His eyes seemed unfocused, as if he were blind. The doors closed, and a wad of cash fell onto the floor of the car. My friend Ilene pointed it out and said, "Is that yours?" The old man in the group, who was carrying a shopping bag and standing next to his wife, picked up the cash and examined it. He nodded--it was his. He seemed puzzled as to how his cash had ended up on the floor.
At the next stop, one man quickly got out, and two more waited until just before the doors closed to jump off. One of the ones to jump off was the "blind" man I'd seen. The old man, who was traveling with his wife, started going through his pockets. Ilene, who speaks Hebrew, noticed that the man's glasses had a strap with Hebrew text. She began speaking to them in Hebrew and learned they were Russian Jews on vacation. The man couldn't find his wallet, which had his Russian i.d. and a few rubles. He still had his Czech money.
Last night, on another train, one of the faculty had her handbag against her back. A man slashed the bottom of the bag with a knife. She didn't notice at first, but she felt something odd and turned. He ran, having gotten nothing out of her bag.
In Funkytown (my adopted hometown), there's been a recent spate of teenagers running up to people downtown, punching them in the face, and taking their wallets. For now, I think I prefer stealth theft.