The Bag Lady

Or shall I call her the Shawl Lady? That's how you'll know her. Stroll through the cobblestoned streets in Mayfair near the Park Lane Hotel, and pass the one-of-a-kind Polish Mexican Bistro (take a good look because you won't see too many of these in your lifetime). Walk through the doorway of the King's Arm pub, follow the carpeted stairs and slide your hand up the smooth wooden banister. At the top, turn left. See the cozy booth in the corner? Under the lamplight? The one with the bench that aligns crookedly with the wall? Don't be deceived, my friend... it's not as friendly as it looks. That's where you will sit when you encounter. . . (queue scary music: *dun dun dun!*) . . . the Shawl Lady! (queue *screams*)

On a dark and stormy night, my American friends and I enjoyed a Sunday night pint and couldn't be bothered by the goings-on among other guests.I didn't think much of her. I half-noticed her and an older man sitting at a table for two across from the cozy bench. But one of our friends noticed the Shawl Lady's frequent walks by our table.

When the last call bell had rung and it was time to go, we gathered our things and prepared to exit the pub. That's when we noticed that a small white purse was missing from our possession. After using our critical thinking skills, we deduced that the Shawl Lady was the only person who passed by our table, the only person who had access to the purse that my friend, who was sitting on the end of the table, had slung over the back of the chair. The Shawl Lady's shawl happened to be the perfect size for hiding little white purses.

Let this be a lesson to those who dream big dreams full of London travels. Do not forsake your purse on the tube, on the pavement, in a restaurant or in a pub--keep your bag close to you and caress it, love it, protect it. And above all, watch out for the Shawl Lady.

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