Today, I fell for an old scam. On my way home some kids in Dearborn, on bikes, stopped me. I was walking and listening to music on my Droid Eris. I was also reading Asimov's "Prelude to Foundation" - I recently decided to read the whole series. Anyway, one of the kids - there were three - asked me for the time. I pulled the Eris out of my pocket and told him the time (it was 6:44). The kid then quickly asked whether he could use my phone. I hesitated. I am never sure how to respond when some stranger ask to use my phone. So, I decided I would let him make the call, but I would hold the phone in my hand and use the speaker phone. The kid asked one of his comrades for "the number" and I dialed. The phone rang a few times, but there was no answer. So, the kid said "hang up, never mind man, if my aunt calls back tell her Kevin will be there soon." I thought it peculiar, but I put my phone in my pocket and continued on my journey. A few paces later my phone began to vibrate, and sure enough it was the number that boys called. They had parked their bikes and were staring at me. I didn't think much of it, and answered the phone, I told the man on the line to hold and I called the boys back. I put the phone on speaker and held it near the kids face; he grabbed the phone and began to talk. I started to snatch the phone back, but some part of me thought it wasn't a big deal - I would let the kid tell his family member that he was on his way home and that would be that. The same part of me that thought it wasn't a big deal convinced me not to hold the handle bars of the kid's bike - I was truly considering holding it tightly. The boy abruptly began to tell the person on the other line who he was, "it's Kevin, it's Kevin, Kevin." He also began riding his bike in circles. This of course put me on high alert. The kid recognized my alertness, and then rode off, peddling his bike at a feverish pace. Finally, the part of me that didn't think this was a big deal faded away. I then gave chase to the kid, but he had too much of a head start, but he wasn't far enough away that I could hear his victory cry "we gonna party tonight...hellz yeah."
So, there you have it. Every time, without failure, my weak part arises I lose. It is because this weak part isn't rational; it has too much empathy for rationality. The whole time I saw myself in that kids shoes. How many times as a boy had I rode my bike too far away from home with my friends, and desperately needed to call home. But even the kid using a scam like that to steal a phone isn't too far from some of the mildly criminal behavior of my own childhood. Only the Lord knows how many bad schemes my boyhood friends and I tried out. It is too bad I didn't see how much that kid was really like me. From time to time I have been guilty of having these sorts of lapses of common sense and street smarts. Of course, I am going to pay for this. In fact, I am going to pay soon, since I didn't have insurance on the phone and now to replace it I will have to pay out $200. Shit happens. I just need to find a way to close more and then even I will be okay.