There's been this issue at work lately. An issue involving thieving. It's irritating me. The past few years of living in New York and Philadelphia, where there is actual, real life, honest-to-god crime, have slowly jaded my naivety. (I grew up in a place where I never even thought about locking my car, where my best friend didn't even have a key to her own house.)
Monday, May 4, 2009
My grandparents once got robbed in the small, corncob of a town in Illinois where I am from. It happened either before I was born or shortly after, and as a little girl I remember whenever the subject of jewelry came up my grandmother went on and on, mourning the things she lost, the violation she suffered. She never could forget it, and didn't replace any of the items lost out of sheer dread it would happen again.
Recently, I've felt a little more empathy on the subject. Imagining some of the things that I've come to possess in my life being snatched away, never to be seen again starts to break my heart. Nothing I have is wildly extravagant or even close to it, but...the delicate heart-shaped pendent I wore at my wedding, my collection of blue-glass birds. Even newly acquired things, like the simple little antique ring with garnet stones my grandmother just gave me as a birthday gift. Yes, I would live without them, but there would be things...missing. Oh, ouch...just thinking about it.
This is all to say that ipods are being stolen from work. Mine was the second one. It happened a few months ago, where my previously mentioned naivety kept me from realizing the theft for a week. (I kept assuring my coworkers, "Oh, I probably just misplaced it somewhere around here" like a fool.) The third one happened recently.
Now we've targeted a culprit, who recently showed up with a similar-looking iPod and last night I was enlisted for a mini-suberfuge: check the questionable iPod for the stolen iPod's serial number without arousing suspicion.
Here's the thing I'm leaving out. I used to be good at this stuff, i.e. filching things. Always stupid, inconsequential things. Back in the day my friends and I (my fellow reviewer included) got our hands on quite a few random ridiculousnesses that did not belong to us: pantyhose, Tootsie Rolls, a bottle of iodine, a baby Jesus, sale stickers taken from an unlocked delivery truck. Things that no one would miss, the more ridiculous the better. Success was infinite glee. None of it mattered to anyone, we were sure.
Last night when the task required those sticky fingers, that quick reflex, that easy casualness upon completion, my heart was hammering like crazy. I couldn't even read the number. Mission: Failed.
The youthful nerve is starting to waver, that quick abandonment of ethics starting to fade. I was thinking, what it is for. How does it matter. There have been many nights I want to throw eggs, applesauce jars at the neighbors porch. I don't do it. I would have before.
My iPod is long gone. I want the one just taken to be returned. I want justice. Terrified of theft, I have started to hide things. A necklace goes in a little jar in the corner over here. Slip the Hummel figurine into the bottom of that pot over there. Soon I will be sewing bills into the curtains, putting my wedding rings in the freezer. Soon I will spend my afternoons being entertained by the birdbath.