Most of the time, Chiang Mai feels like a pretty relaxed “Hey, I’m not gonna steal your stuff” kind of place.
Except when it comes to motorbike helmets. My helmets get stolen ALL THE TIME. (Okay, really only twice-and-a-half, but it feels like a lot.)
My first helmet was white, and it had a big Pucca sticker on the back:
I mean really, who’s going to steal a helmet with a big
dorky awesome sticker on it? Okay, on second thought, that sticker was pretty sweet. I would totally envy someone with a snazzed-up helmet like that.
Next, I got a shiny red helmet that matched my sunglasses.
A helmet that coordinates so well with cosmetics and accessories? Yup, that’s just begging to get stolen.
Finally, I gave up on spectacularly
dorky awesome helmets, and I bought a plain ol’ black one, and no-one tried to steal it…until yesterday.
Yesterday, I parked my bike in a row of other bikes, and went to get some Indian take-away (butter chicken, palak paneer and chana masala, in case you were curious…and no, it wasn’t all for me. I did have friends to share it with). As I was walking back to my bike carrying my fragrant bag of steamy dinner, I noticed a guy on a motorbike near mine, getting ready to drive away. Thinking maybe I should get out of his way, I moved closer to the curb and out of his way, but kept walking towards my bike.
When he didn’t drive past me, I looked up and saw his bike was still running, but he wasn’t on it. Instead, he was standing next to MY bike, unhooking my helmet.
I kept walking towards him.
He got back on his bike, holding my helmet. (Apparently, he wasn’t planning to actually wear it.)
By this point, I was only about a foot away from him, and my brain was finally catching up with my eyes. My eyes totally had my back on this one though, even without my brain’s help – because my eyes had been staring incredulously at Mr.Thief the whole time he was busy snagging my helmet. So even though my brain was still playing catch-up, Mr. Thief looked up and all he saw was me giving him a wrinkled-brow “Just-what-do-you-think-you’re-doing?” look.
I like to think I looked like a totally menacing bad-ass, but in reality, I think I looked more like a kindergarten teacher about to lecture him about inappropriate behaviour.
Either way, when I reached out my hand and quietly said, “Hey, give me my helmet back, please,” he did.
Just like that. He just handed it back to me with an “Okay. Thank-you” before he drove away.
“Okay. Thank you” Really. What kind of red-handed thief says “Okay. Thank you” when he gets caught?
I don’t know what I would have done if he had tried to drive away. If history is any indication, I probably would have hurled my curry at his head and hoped for the best.
I’m glad it didn’t come to that. I’d hate to lose my butter chicken AND my helmet.