Those of you who’ve been hanging out with me for a while know all about my torrid and passionate love affair with The Number 8. (Or, as I refer to it, “Perfection”.)
I haven’t really thought much about 8 lately, but today I was going through some of my archives and I found this post, which describes, in all its glory, the awesomeness that is The Number 8.
I guess I must have run out of happy Number 8 stories, because the only new story I could think to write about was, sadly, The Day When Eight Was Not So Great.
It was back in 1998 and my husband and I were traveling through Spain. We were in Seville about halfway through our trip, and for some reason we hadn’t eaten all day. Luckily we happened to pass by a McDonald’s, so we stopped in for some lunch. But because we were so hungry we became super-focused on the food when it arrived, and unfortunately we stopped paying attention to what was going on around us.
We’d been eating for a few minutes when we were approached by a trio of twenty-something guys. They didn’t say anything, but one of them tapped my husband on the shoulder and pointed to a coin lying on the ground by his chair. He picked it up and we were grateful for the kindness and thoughtfulness offered to us, strangers in a strange land, right up until the moment when we discovered that they had “kind-ed” us right out of our camera and our little traveling backpack.
We didn’t really think we’d recover any of our things-THANKFULLY, our passports and money were NOT in the backpack. But we decided to report the theft anyway so that later we could file a claim with our insurance company to replace our camera.
We walked into the local police station ready to speak to one of the Guardia Civil. But instead we were greeted by a little electronic kiosk which instructed us to type up a little report detailing the nature of our complaint. And unfortunately, rather than soothing us it actually made us feel worse. Because we were already feeling stupid for letting this happen to us, and violated, and very far from home. Then instead of maybe getting to tell our story to a sympathetic (human) ear, we had to give our details to a very not-personal machine.
But the final demoralizing straw came when we clicked on the first screen and began filling out our report. We entered all of our personal information, and then clicked over to the screen which asked for the details of the crime. We were all set to lay out our own, personalized mugging experience story in exquisite detail, but instead found ourselves looking at what was basically a “choose your own adventure” style crime menu. And there it was: Theft By Distraction.
So even though we felt especially and personally targeted by our thieves, officially we were just another foreigner who got duped.
Needless to say, we were pretty down by the time we were finally ushered in to a tiny room and greeted by two officers. My husband doesn’t speak Spanish, so I spoke with the men and then translated for him. The computer program had turned all of our information into an official report, and we were called in so that we could answer any additional questions and then sign our statement.
The printer spit out one copy, and we both signed it. Then came another one, which made sense because it’s always a good idea to have duplicate copies of important documents. But then, the copies kept coming. And KEPT coming, with no end in sight.
Since we had all only spoken Spanish this whole time, my husband and I would occasionally have little mumbled conversations off to the side. We figured we were safe because there’d been no indication that either of the officers spoke English. So when they kept handing us sheet after sheet to sign, we finally turned to each other and asked, “How many copies are there?”
At that the officer in charge straightened in his chair, turned to face us, and, smiling broadly, replied in tones as clear as a bell, “Eight!”
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