I was convinced, convinced, that I was going to be pickpocketed the minute we landed in London.
As I was preparing for my five-month expedition into the unknown wonders of Europe, I scoured travel websites, got pretty acquainted with forums and looked to Rick Steves as the all-knowing travel deity.
And the thing that kept popping up on every site I looked at was: Beware the pickpockets.
Never leave your purse open.
Never set your purse on a table and look away.
Never let your purse hang behind you.
Never break eye contact with your purse.
Never look at the beautiful things around you like Big Ben and the London Eye and the exciting red telephone booths as this just diverts your eyes away from your purse.
Hold onto your purse in crowded areas, especially the bottom of your purse lest a small child run up and slice it open.
Attach your wallet to the inside of your purse. (Which I legitimately did with a small lanyard.)
If a child spills ketchup all over you and an old woman comes to clean you up, don’t let her touch you! Just keep on walking! It’s a trap!
Fortunately, the entire time I was there, I was never pickpocketed. Because no one stood a chance.
Unfortunately, I did suddenly become a wannabe pickpocket because some people are so stupid and it’d be so easy.
In London, on our first day, I saw a guy with his backpack unzipped. I could’ve taken his toothbrush right out of his bag and ruined his trip.
In Paris, dozens of American tourists stood around the Sacré-Cœur with their camera bags, purses, backpacks and belongings scattered around their feet. At one point, I walked between an obnoxious man and his bag filled with expensive camera lenses, and I was so tempted to remove it from the street as punishment for his stupidity.
But I kept a lid on the temptations to steal. And instead managed to (a) break eye contact with my purse to enjoy the prettiness of everything and (b) not get attacked with ketchup.