I was reading the thread over in the Pit describing oblivious people who don't get the hell out of your way
, and it made me think of an incident yesterday.
I was eating my lunch at a sidewalk deli, purse on the ground next to me, when I noticed a guy walking along the sidewalk. He was furtively eyeing the lunchers and started unnecessarily walking circuitously in between the tables rather than continuing his way directly along the sidewalk. I promptly picked up my purse and put it in my lap while making eye contact with him. He saw me do this and exited the table area and then started walking back the way he came. I must point out that he looked pretty disreputable. If you were paying attention, you'd probably walk on the far side of the sidewalk from him.
As he walked away, I noticed beyond him a woman get out of her car, talking on the cellphone, her purse sticking temptingly out. He came alert and you could see him eyeing her and glancing around him to see if anyone else was near. Even though she was looking right in his direction, you could tell that she still didn't notice him at all because she was completely immersed in her conversation. He then looked behind him and saw me watching him still. He changed course and walked into a parking lot out of sight.
As the woman came past me, I said, "Excuse me, but when you return to your car, you might want to keep an eye out for that guy you just passed. I think he was sizing you up to snatch your purse." She said "Huh? What guy?" and looked at me like I was making the whole thing up.
I don't think I'll ever be so oblivious that I was unaware of my surroundings on a big city street. I wonder if the prevalence of cellphone and bluetooth yap-zombies has been a godsend for purse snatchers, pickpockets and rapists.