Monday, July 28, 2008

a crime in london town!

Well, it was all too perfect. The week, the group, the shows...something had to give. The Universe had to have balance. The bubble had to burst. The penny had to drop. And so the penny did drop tonight, when my wallet was stolen under a rainy canopy. But I'll get to that.

It was Sunday, and you bet I was going to the Hyde Park Ward for Sacrament Meeting. I saw my friend Sam Andrus there, and it was nice to talk to him. Also I saw Matt Holland, but didn't say hello to him, because he's like a Mormon celeb, and who am I? 24601? It's always interesting going to church in London. Last year the family ward met in the late afternoon, which is really bad timing on our schedule. I wound up going to the Singles Ward a lot, which is great if you like twelve girls to one guy, or if you like to wear awesome outfits when you pass the Sacrament, or if you are a crazy person who wandered in off of Exhibition Road. This year the family ward meets at 9, which is a reasonable time. I liked being there and listening to children run around in the cultural hall. In fact, it made me homesick. When I'm at home I'm always thinking that I'd give anything to have ONE SACRAMENT MEETING where kids weren't crawling over me or spilling the bread tray. But today, when I finally got to listen to the talks uninterrupted I realized something important: a lot of these talks are really boring. I missed my kids climbing on me. I know I was supposed to think about the topic at hand, but mostly I was thinking about:

After church I came back to my flat and had a nap on the couch. The bells of St. Augustine were playing across the street. I thought they would bother me, but they were nice.

I headed to Hyde Park next, because a London friend had invited me to join him and a group of Brazillians eating Cous-Cous and talking about the meaning of life next to the big pond. It was pretty fun. Food was fantastic, and the Hyde Park brass band was playing selections from Hello, Dolly and Mary Poppins on the bandstand. Not that I know any of those songs, you guys. I'm all man. Anyway, after enough time spent with Brazillians and their mango juice and really fast Portugese, I found Anna, Kevin, and Emily napping under a giant oak tree. They looked so happy.

We took in an Evensong service at St. Martins-in-the-Field, which is always a favorite thing to do. I have to be honest, I don't really get it all. Basically I mean all the standing and sitting. Because how do you know when you are supposed to stand, and then how do you know at what random point in what random hymn you suddenly sit down? Everyone else seemed to know, including this really bossy lady in the pew in front of us who kept pointing at me like "stand up! stand up!" or "sit down! sit down!" Later in the service she would sing along with the hymns and saw her arms like she's Maria Callas. But the music was spectacular - so much sound coming from a 20 person choir! Also, the new, refurbished St. Martins-in-the-Fields is absolutely beautiful. Everything looks white-washed. I loved it.

But I'm stalling. You probably skipped all that to get to the robbery. I don't blame you. It was all really churchy today. But basically here is a timeline:

7:50 p.m. - a sudden rain storm hits. I am just south of Oxford Street.

7:51 p.m. - I dash under the canopy of a pub, along with four billion other people, to wait it out.

7:52 p.m. - Mystery thief unhooks my shoulder bag, unzips, and takes my wallet.

7:54 p.m. - The rain stops, basically.

8:01 p.m. - Where's my wallet? Holy crap! Where's my wallet!

8:04 p.m. - I call police. They are nice, but not very helpful. There are too many people under the canopy for the CCTV to pick
anything up.

8:10 p.m. - I call my students back at the Kensington flats. I have someone get online and get me phone numbers for my Visa Cards - I had two of them in my wallet.

8:15 p.m. - I place a hold on one Visa. Nothing has been charged yet.

8:20 p.m. - My student sleuths find the number of my home ward online.

8:21 p.m. - I call my home ward, and the kind man who answers tells me he misses my piano playing. I'm like "Yeah, yeah, go get LISA!!!!"

8:21 p.m. - A special lady's voice tells me I am running out of minutes on my phone. Working against the clock!

8:25 p.m. - I finally get Lisa out of Sunday School, relaying the info in about 15 seconds so my phone doesn't run out.

8:30 p.m. - I head home from Trafalgar Square on foot. It takes me an hour, but my tube pass was stolen!

So that's the whole thing. It's frustraing, but what can you do? My wallet was in as secure a place as it was ever going to be. I guess I can be more vigilant and less cocky. That's what life wanted to teach me. Thanks, life! I'm less cocky now. And just so you know, LIFE, I enjoyed that walk home. I got to see these things:

Buckingham Palace at night.

Wellington Arch at night.

Harrods at night.

Harvey Nichols, with crazy windows, at night.