Monday, March 21, 2005

To Catch Or Be A Thief

After a long, hectic day, I came home to learn that I've been victim of a property crime. Someone had stolen my recycling bin. To be completely accurate, it was the trash company's bin. That I possessed. (If this had been another era, I would have happily engaged the services of Detectives, Inc.)

The bin was pretty useful; I believe in recycling. I wish they had stolen something less important to me. Like my dignity.

The likely suspect was a confused neighbor. Or a malicious neighbor. Or a drunk neighbor. Or a bipolar neighbor. Frankly, I am not sure what my neighbors are like, except that they are there. I don't really talk to them. I am not really a misanthrope, except when it comes to my neighbors. I want to imagine I live in my own space that extends beyond my house and yard, not surrounded by a bunch of row houses filled with yuppies. Part of me wanted to storm up and down my street, knocking on doors and asking tough questions (I am good at that in my work life). Then, I realized that I'd have to talk to them if I did that. Plan A was a no go.

So for much of this evening, I have been peering out my window every so often to see if someone had realized their error and returned the bin. I was waiting for "Godot." Moby Dick. Except my bin was not God. At least, to the best of my knowledge it was not. And, unlike Moby Dick, it was green, not white.

If I had to guess who might have taken the bin, it'd be my Republican neighbors next door. They are just as confused about garbage etiquette as they are with their politics (at one point, their house was almost completely covered in "W '04" stickers. It was profane. Anyway, they have this bad habit of putting their trash bins practically outside my door, even there is room on their property. I have taken a minor stance on the issue, shifting their bins ever so slightly onto their property to counter their acts of aggression. They have rejected my effort to negotiate a fair solution and continue to place their trash practically on my doorstep. Perhaps they have escalated the situation by kidnapping my bin.

After finishing a five mile jog on the treadmill to work off my annoyance, I looked back out my window and saw a recycling bin outside a house on the other side of my Republican neighbors. Perhaps the Republicans had gotten confused, realizing their error in taking my bin but thinking they had taken their other neighbor's bin.

So, I had a decision to make. My bin has no distinguishing characteristics. I'd have to assume that the bin I was taking is mine. If I was wrong, the consequences could be awkward. Do I go and swipe the bin in front of a neighbor's house two doors down -- which could very well be theirs -- or leave it be?

I came up with several plans to lift the stray bin. It would be best to have no witnesses. First, I'd need to conduct careful surveillance. Lots of people have dogs in my neighborhood; I'd have to make sure no one is out walking their dog during the operation. And I would have to dress in night camoflauge. I went to my closet, looking for the appropriate clothing. My only black pants are exercise snap pants with reflective stripes down the side. A car comes down the road, and boom they'd see a bunch of suspicious actving vertical white lines. Too risky. Dark jeans would probably work. Should I wear the dark v neck or dark turtle neck sweater. The contrast of my neck skin against the black v neck may cause me to stand out. Turtle neck it is.

I took a deep breath, and walked outside. I looked left and right. No witnesses. I walked up towards the bin quickly. I took a look at it and walked back to my house. Without the bin. But, what I had was a sense of perspective and something else more important. The phone number for the recycling company on the side. I'll call the company tomorrow, explain that someone had taken my bin by accident and get another.

After all, it wasn't that big a fucking deal.


Blogger Magazine Man said...

Oh man, I'd have been right over. With my new Mobile Crime Lab, I could have easily lifted some latent prints off the recycling bin, then compared them to yours to see if there was a match.

Of course, I'd have to charge you my 50 cents per day fee. Maybe you're better off putting that money towards a permanent marker so you can write "Don't fuck with Joseph K's bin" on the bottom next time, huh?

Great post. Really put a smile on my face. Thanks for that. --MM

11:14 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

Thanks MM. Post script to the story, I left a note on the stray bin on neighbor once removed's house. Said it might be mine, asked if he could put it in front of my house if it was. S/he put it in front of my Republican neighbor's house. Close enough for me. I probably should have rung their doorbell and confirmed it was not theirs. But, that would involve talking to them. Plan nixed. I took it.

Of course, at that moment another neighbor saw me walking with it towards my house. A witness to my non-crime. Now, I live in fear of being brought to justice for having swiped what is probably my recycling bin.

7:27 PM  

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