A gypsy stole my homework

It’s not often you can legitimately use the excuse that “a gypsy stole my homework” in a professional environment.

But tomorrow, when I have to give a presentation about Facebook to the office, it’s the excuse I’m going to try. If I hadn’t spent four hours at the police station this afternoon, I might have something to show tomorrow. Alas.

The events rolled out as thus.

I work in an open plan office at the end of a courtyard. I had just come back from lunch break, and was checking Facebook/working, which, owing to my new role as community manager, is one and the same thing.

My friend Kara and Ali are selling calendars of photos they’ve taken because they need some special equipment for their kid Sebastian that they can’t get in Egypt. Great idea, I thought, and bought one.

I had just processed the order, when i became aware of something, someone, on my right shoulder. I turned to see a young boy begging me for money. He had some rubbish sign made of paper that he was thrusting in my face.


I knew that I hadn’t magically been teleported to a Paris metro station – there was no-one playing the accordion. Rather, quite haphazardly, two gypsies had “wandered” into the office and started doing the rounds.

We hustled them out, and only too late I realised he’d taken my phone, off my desk. Apparently it was the oldest trick in the book. The kid uses the paper to distract you, all the while using it to block your view from the things he is taking. If only I spent more time reading old books, and not poorly written signs made by gypsies.

I therefore spent the afternoon at the police station filing a stolen property report.

The problem with 24-hour police stations, is that they are open for 24-hours. There is technically no time limit on the amount of time you can wait to get served. This afternoon I had time to resew three buttons onto my jacket, and engage in a conversation with someone who’s just come back from Barcelona. (Have you ever enjoyed hearing about someone’s trip to Barcelona? I still haven’t.)

Finally the policeman ushered me in. I recounted the details, the first hurdle I hit was ‘Gypsies’. Was it ok to say this word, or would I cause great offence?

I remember back at Victoria Police that descriptions were sanitised from 14 categories into three distinct ones; Asian, Caucasian, Aboriginal, as well as ‘other’ – which was the catch-all description. I’m not sure how ‘other’ was ever used; you can hardly imagine the senior-conny putting out a search request for “another 40 year old man wearing jeans and a baseball cap”.

Nevertheless, the policeman happily noted “Gypsy” as the offender’s race, and we continued.

“Any specific features?”

“The young one had big eyes,” I said, stretching my eyelids up with my fingers to resemble big eyes.

The policeman looked quizzical.

I didn’t know the French for ‘bulbous’, but I did know the French for ‘lemur’. “He had ‘lemurien’ eyes,” I told the policeman.

“Lemur eyes? I like that description. I’m going to leave that in the report,” he said.

He showed me a brief photobook of known young offenders, but none looked like the boy that had stolen my phone.

If you are in the neighbourhood of the 10th, or elsewhere in Paris, be wary of any gypsy-looking lemurs:


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One Response to “A gypsy stole my homework”

  1. nordette Says:

    While I was gazing at that clip some fucker took my phone. Thanks so much Tintin..

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