Gypsies attacked me. It happens, I guess. I just assumed that because I am tall and not completely disabled (yet) that the gypsies would find someone shorter, older and mentally feeble. When gypsies attack there is only one conclusion that can be reached: you have become weak, so weak that the pack of gypsies roaming Paris decided that you could be taken down. Like those wildlife shows where the lions search for the weakest member of the herd a group of three gypsies spied me one evening. The World Cup soccer final was about to start and I had been sent out by my family to hunt and gather so we could watch the final game in our hotel room with some snacks.
The streets were packed with people, which gave me a feeling of safety and I was lulled into a sense of security when I should have been a little more careful. Most of the stores had closed and I needed to get some cash to buy snacks with so I walked to where there were two ATMs and made my first mistake. While the streets were crowded just a block away, I didn’t notice that the ATM street was nearly empty.
Now if you haven’t traveled to Europe you might think that gypsies are a group of people from old movies that at one time rode around in caravans dancing and singing for money. Well, it is possible that they still do in some parts of Europe, but in Paris the women wear black dresses and have little signs that they want you to read. They walk up to people who look like tourists and ask, “Do you speak English?” Don’t say yes. Don’t even make a nonverbal movement of acknowledgement or you will suddenly find yourself surrounded by little gypsy women begging for money for their sick father or dying uncle. The first time I went to Notre Dame (the cathedral not the school) a young gypsy girl approached and asked it I spoke English. I, being stupid, said yes. It took about three nanoseconds for a group of gypsies to surround me. I eventually freed myself but I learned a valuable lesson: I should never admit that I speak English. From that point on, I managed to avoid the charms of the roaming packs of gypsies, at least I thought I had.