Chatting with Criminals

A few days ago (seemingly weeks as time is perceived) a man walked up
to me while I was reclining on my decrepit electric scooter. He was
holding a folded pamphlet, the kind of advertisement flyer solicited
by college students looking to pick up some pocket money for a days
menial task. Shortly he unveiled an iPhone4 which he claimed not to
have been able to afford (yet somehow owned) and wanted to sell it.
While it way have very well been his, by principle I don't interact
with characters that try to sell their phones to random people on the
street. Most people like a good deal, but in this case it most
certainly came at someone's unearned expense. Again I seldom
acknowledge these sellers, normally continueing my journey down the
street. Unfortunately this time it was me who was stationary and I
hadn't finished relaxing on my lunch break. Thus began an inquiry into
where I was from, what I was doing here in China, etc. I reciprocated
in kind, half-heartedly participating in the conversation. What I
found amusing almost to the extent of a full fledged grin was that his
original intentional intention of selling me a hot product had fallen
by the wayside. He must have found me innocuous enough neither to
worry about being discovered (I once saw a pickpocket get beat to a
pulp on a main shopping avenue with a crowd of a hundred watching
without anyone intervening… It turned my stomach raw, this street
justice but apparently the guy, in the view of the community, got what
was coming, and I assume will act as a good reminder of socially
unacceptable behavior) nor that strapped for cash to search for
another potential buyer. From what he mentioned he was from out west,
or maybe that was nonsense. He didn't know my hometown- I fibbed and
gave him the closest international big city but he either didn't
understand me or wasn't that 'worldly'. His face was full of life
though and his eyes expressed energy and enthusiasm. Aside from his
obviously sketchy profession, he seemed like an interesting human
being. He kept on but I found it was time to return to the grind. I
excused myself, dismounted my electric steed, and trotted off. I
imagine he did something similar. Five seconds later I did a double
check pat down of myself to ensure I had managed to retain my
possessions during the chance encounter. As if that didn't suffice, I
doubles back just to check that I had locked my ride and to check that
it wasn't in the process of being unlocked. Nothing tangible gained or
lost, just another day in my life that made an impression.


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