my son loves fashion, and we had never visited milan before, so we took advantage of an extended french “toussaint” school holiday to make the 8 hour run along the french coast into italy and north into milan. not 15 minutes after arriving, while still driving our car to the hotel, a guy on a motorcycle punctured the sidewall of our tire (we would piece all of this together later), then followed us until we had to pull over, and, after pretending to help my husband as he replaced the tire with a spare, this lovely older gentleman suddenly disappeared into thin air. it wasn’t until we began putting our things back into the car, with the tire changed, that i discovered he had made off with my purse, in which i was carrying my wallet, 300 euros of cash, all my credit cards, and, the icing on the cake, all three of our passports. believe it or not, we were able to get all of our cards canceled, take out enough cash to make it through the stay, order a new tire and have it installed at a repair shop, and get three brand new emergency passports from the u.s. consulate in milan. then we finished our trip, ate three good meals, visited the galleria vittorio emannuele ii, walked the most expensive retail street in europe, the via monte napoleone, and drank the best coffee of our trip so far, after two-plus months of pretty mediocre french coffee. although living well is supposedly the best revenge, i would still give up some living well in order to spend maybe half an hour in a concrete room with a fly swatter and a naked milanese man with a scruffy beard, asking him how he likes robbing mary jo hoffman now. and now. and now. how about now? then i would wipe my fingers under my chin at him, and walk away.