Dear Diary

November 23, 2011

Shoplifting, the joys and sorrows of suburbia, and Katherine is soooooo tirrrrrred.

Dylan

This was one of those weeks where in every class I had some sort of final project due, I was negotiating the lease for my new apartment, and trying to wrap up a graphic design project with a client. All at the same time. It was, in short, absolutely nuts in Dylan HQ this week. Perfect timing for complete disaster to strike!

On my bus ride home on Monday night, I pulled my laptop out of my backpack to find the screen saturated with water. A bottle had spilled in the backpack, potentially RUNING. MY. ENTIRE LIFE in a span of three minutes. I was instructed by some Computer Geek Experts to leave it to try for a whole entire week, and then hope to every god available that it would turn on again. Making this week laptopless, during a time I needed it most.

In other complaining news, I’ve been pretty broke lately…all right, all semester…and so my eating schedule has been jacked as I don’t have any food around the house. The morning after my water-spillage nightmare, which caused me so much panic I forgot dinner, I was in one of my nutritionless dazes. I grabbed a sandwich on my way to campus and ate it in a private corner. Zoning out, sandwich in hand, staring out the window into space, I tried to figure out why all of this calamity would happen to me, and why it would be happening in this week of workload insanity. I started to consider karma. Was the universe trying to (very brashly) deliver a message to me via wet laptop?

This pensive sandwich session was quickly becoming serious, when an idea hit me hard, and felt very much like truth. The reason my laptop was in peril was because I’ve been stealing too much lately. This is all part of a karmic reaction, the forces reminding me that I can’t get away with my shoplifting. I was like, Oooooh, this still sucks, but it really makes sense.

I used to never steal. Anything. Remembering how dumb the klepto girls from high school looked when they got caught at Nordstrom or Urban Outfitters trying to escape with skinny jeans or something, I was always turned off by the idea of shoplifting. But lately, everything has seemed so easy. I just didn’t have the cash to replenish my Chapstick and lotion from the drugstore the other day, so I slipped them into my bag. Walking off with a salad-bar box from the bougie grocery store was too easy when I needed lunch. What’s alarming to me is that at some point it stopped feeling wrong and started feeling normal. I would think, Why would I ever waste my money buying batteries again? They’re a necessity in life, I shouldn’t need to pay for them. If I could take something I needed, I would. It’s not what I think of as normal me behavior, but I’m sick of asking my mom for more cash, especially when I have two part-time jobs. But it seems so weak of me to be taking such small things. But at the same time…so effortless.

The whole computer incident suddenly seemed so clearly, inevitably linked to my recent lifting. Not like an iron fist from the universe coming down to say, “Shame on you, young lady!” but more of a reminder that that sort of stuff just won’t fly. And that disasters like this could become a lot more common if my habits get any worse.
My wet laptop reminded me about the value of my own material things. If I treat them so nonchalantly, which is the signal I send out when I choose not to pay for certain things, then nothing else I own must matter very much either.

On Thursday night I finally tried to reboot my computer. I almost had an anxiety attack as I watched the little white Apple flicker to life, but it did. The only evidence of damage is some glowy splotches on the screen, which just make my computer look like it’s in outer space, so that’s kind of cool, I guess.

And I’ve been getting better about keeping my stealing in check. I’ve been asking myself, What’s the difference between stealing a bottle of tea and stealing a new computer? Besides a couple thousand dollars and a different level of difficulty, the principle is still the same. I’m in college right now to learn how to make things, and the thought of someone stealing my product is pretty uncomfortable. It’s just the principle of it—it doesn’t matter what I’m stealing, it’s that I’m stealing at all. I’m ignoring the value of something that I obviously want to have, as if I’m entitled to ignore someone else’s labor. I can’t pretend anymore little things don’t count. Sure, $4 is smaller than $400, but it’s still a signal that I don’t care whose work, and time, and care went into making something. Which clearly is not correct; I do really care about my material things. My computer’s brink-of-death experience was a reminder that things were going too far.

Paying for anything sucks. I always feel like I’m broke. But playing this game with karma isn’t going to get me anywhere good. ♦

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13 Comments

  • OrangeSunrise November 23rd, 2011 7:15 PM

    I am reading this at midnight, because of time-zone differences, but I know I won’t sleep until four, if I’m lucky. I, like Katherine, have just been sooooooooo tired…but I just can’t sleep!

  • Chimdi November 23rd, 2011 7:22 PM

    That kind of happens to me too! Some days I’ll sleep for ten to twelve hours, and then the next I won’t sleep at all. Sometimes I’m awake and I’m REALLY tired, but I just can’t will myself to rest.

  • Minna November 23rd, 2011 7:53 PM

    Well………….. this week I had my Graduation art exhibition and I felt a lot like that girl standing in front of my work with my hands on my hips like hey y’all look what I’ve done!

    • Anaheed November 23rd, 2011 8:18 PM

      Oh, well then WOOOOOOO GO YOU!!!

  • cherrycola27 November 23rd, 2011 11:31 PM

    “that when you’re young you’re waiting for your life to start, and now that he was 65, he still felt like he was waiting.”

    I feel like this is maybe depressing and probably like I’m just missing the bigger picture. I know that feeling so well- I’m 20 and I feel like I’m still waiting for everything to happen.
    I really liked this diary entry.

  • Bren November 24th, 2011 12:20 AM

    People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff. – Doctor Who

    I don’t know why Naomi’s entry reminded me of that line.

  • kirsty November 24th, 2011 7:13 AM

    when i was in high school my sisters and i got into a cycle of shoplifting. when it got brought up in a conversation recently with my fiance he didn’t believe me; he said it seemed so unlike me. I guess it was, but Dylan’s right – you start to rationalise it as normal because you “need” whatever it is you’re taking. Looking back on it, I can’t believe how much I ended up stealing over time. Not to justify it, but I went to school with a lot of rich kids who seemed to take for granted the allowance they got from their parents. I thought, if they can have all these things without paying for them themselves, why can’t I? It’s been a long time since I last took something, but I think the guilt will stay with me a while longer.

  • Nomi November 24th, 2011 10:35 AM

    Naomi: you should listen to the song “100 years” by five for fighting.

  • jeanette November 24th, 2011 3:50 PM

    NAOMI! I love you! I feel the exact same way about my area, down here, in East London. I often dream of New York actually, and want to live there but at the same time I love this area yet I hate it and.. ahh I don’t know. But those pre-teens bug me even when I do think I love it.

  • IAmHeliumRaven November 24th, 2011 4:20 PM

    Naomi, its nice to know someone out there feels the same way as you. Thanks for reminding me to enjoy now instead of constantly worrying about the future. But i’ll still dream of New York.

  • Whatsername November 24th, 2011 8:24 PM

    Dylan’s posts always interest me, Naomi’s posts always relate to me and Katherine’s posts always crack me up.

    Love this place, seriously.

  • Maialuna November 24th, 2011 9:17 PM

    Katherine, I know how you feel. COMPLETELY. I’m exactly the same lately. I mean, I would punish myself severely if I actually fell asleep in class, but I can’t think straight and my words get tangled up and when my friends talk to me, I have to think about quite a few times before I have any idea what they want. Ugh. And then I stay up until 2 AM doing homework.