This evening I was meeting a friend at one of the cineplexes on the Champs-Elysées to see Sex and the City. I didn't have too long a wait in line, thankfully. But just as I reached the ticket desk, a French woman with two young boys stopped by the side of the desk. I was worried at first that she was a line-jumper. Unfortunately not. "Excusez-moi," she asked the attendant, "but did anyone by chance find a cell phone in Salle 1? I was just watching a movie there and now my cell phone is missing."
The expected flurry of activity and exchanges took place. Did you go back to look for it? Are you sure you left it there, madame, etc etc. The mother replied "I turned off my cell phone as the movie was beginning and put it in my pocketbook. Then as we were leaving I went to retrieve it to turn it back on, and it wasn't in my bag. We returned to where were had been sitting but the phone wasn't anywhere."
Uh-oh. It reminded me that in some movie theaters an announcement comes on the screen prior to the featured film to warn theater-goers to keep their personal belongings on their lap.
I have a friend, a lifelong Parisian, who was at the movies this winter and absentmindedly set her firmly buckled pocketbook on the floor by her feet. When she left the cinema with her husband, she went to pay for the parking and pulled out her wallet. There wasn't a cent in it. She had bought the tickets earlier, and knew she had had at least 50 euros in her wallet. During the movie someone had sneaked under her seat, removed the wallet, taken the money, and replaced the wallet! Sadly, it's not an uncommon tale, but it leaves me baffled.
Do these thieves wear night goggles or something? How do they do it? How do they crawl so stealthily under the seats and not get noticed?
Needless to say, watching Sex and the City and all the Louis Vuitton pocketbooks and designer accessories it featured, I sat in my darkened cinema seat for two hours clutching my hum-drum pocketbook on my knees as if it were as precious as ... a diamond ring.