Sunday, March 10, 2013

Stolen Wallet, Stolen Hour. . . .Welcome to Daylight Savings. . . .

That was a tough weekend. Remember Judith Viorst's children's book The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day? Yep. Put 'em back-to-back and you got yourself a Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Weekend. Too tired and having to catch up, so can't really post much, but thought I'd cut-and-paste my Facebook Updates from yesterday morning:

In the "no good deed goes unpunished" category, Paul's wallet is missing after I invited a young man in to use our phone rather than continue to knock on our neighbour's apartment door and wake everybody -- he'd already been knocking 10 minutes and it was barely 7 a.m.  Still can't believe it but there's nowhere else in a small apartment it could be hiding. Luckily, Paul had transferred credit cards, DL. to other smaller wallet when we went to the opera last night. Also luckily, young Eric didn't take iPad, my gold chain hanging nearby, the smaller wallet. And the officer just calling back to talk to Paul suggests that's where it probably is -- they've got him. It's a chronic scam aimed at naive and generous people exactly like me. I offered him tea, by the way, as he seemed a bit distraught.
Such a random scam, though -- who'd a thunk.
Now back to being depressed about my Mom's rapid decline, my own exhaustion, the stack of papers I have to mark. Oh, and I lost an F****ing hour to daylight savings time

However, a couple of hours later, I posted this:

Apparently my naive and open kindness to the young man scamming money for drugs in our apartment building wasn't such a bad thing. Arrested soon after, he denied having the wallet, but once charged with several similar and related offenses, and encouraged by the police who pointed out that they knew there were no credit cards or cash but that they owner would like the ID & wallet back, my new friend described the hiding place he'd ditched the wallet in. He wanted to give it to me himself, telling the police he felt bad, that his encounter with me was a notable experience with kindness -- they were understandably cynical about his tears, but impressed that he was so moved by having had a cup of tea here (he hadn't actually stayed to drink it, but I'd offered and poured it. . . .)

So. I'm not apologizing for being kind. Even if it might sometimes be foolish. I'm so lucky I can afford the occasional foolishness -- a small price to pay for keeping a little kindness kindled. . . .

Not sure I want to go as far as to say All's Well That Ends Well. But . . . . I'm desperately needing to look on the bright side.
Which includes Saturday's production of The Magic Flute. Marvelous. Magical.

But not enough to distract me from my Mom's marked decline over the last two weeks.


  1. Well, I think your kindness was repaid by the return of the wallet. I'd like to say perhaps the young man will think harder before perpetrating the same scam again, but if he has a drug problem it's unlikely. Still ...

    Your mother's decline must be so difficult for you to witness. And there's nothing we can offer in the way of support except our thoughts ...

  2. Oh Mater, sometimes life is just so overwhelming on so many levels that I just metaphorically thrust my shoulders forward like I'm walking into a headwind and mutter on a loop to myself Dory's mantra from 'Finding Nemo'..."just keep on swimming, just keep on swimming..." On occasion there is nothing to be done but endure and be stoical and promise self much much convalescence and TLC at a future point when this becomes feasible.

    It is such a hard balancing act, being open hearted but not taken advantage of in damaging ways; it's a conundrum I am struggling to put across to my son, to do the better thing but not be exploited or even hurt in the process. Tricky one. What is it about making a damn cup of tea that feels so especially violating, like, I was REALLY being compassionate, I even make the sod can he desecrate the sacred social offering of TEA? I made tea for the bloke who came to fix scaffolding outside my flat when i was single and living in Oxford; he came back later that night to burgle me. (I in my pjs pinned him to the wall and then bit him so hard he voluntarily left my home with alacrity and empty handed but the bastard...I had MADE HIM TEA earlier that day....grrrrr. Was seriously annoyed and offended.)


  3. I'm so sorry that you were scammed by this young man on top of everything else going on. At least it sounds like Paul got his wallet back? I don't think any act of kindness is ever wasted, even if it seems so at the time. But I am less trusting than I used to be, so I'll mix kindness with caution these days. Or as the old proverb goes, "Trust in God, but tie up your camel."

  4. It is difficult to have compassion abused. It would have caused you much inconvenience had you lost the cards. Equanimity is the word that comes to my mind in dealing with so much in one week-end.
    So far, I have not been able to attain it myself. I have too many emotions. The Magic Flute was a 3 hour voyage into a beautiful fantasyland. We met the mother and grandmother of Pamina during the intermission. What a thrill to have a local singer play in such a production. I have season tickets but am missing about half since I retired. Did you see your grand-daughters? The baby in her dress of many colours is a vision of pure innocence and hope. I hope that you will be able to feel some happiness this week.

  5. What an unpleasant, inconvenient and disturbing incident. I'm glad the fellow was arrested and the items returned, but that doesn't make up for the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad feelings. I know it won't change the way your face the world - you've come to this stage of life with kindness, so I hope that one experience of being conned won't change your ways. I work, daily, with some of the best con artists, and know that a couple of times a year I'll be 'taken' by a story. It happens to all of us - but it's worse when your home has been involved.
    I hope the opera and wee girls made the weekend better!

  6. Such an incident leaves one feeling vulnerable and angry. I'm so sorry this occurred on top of everything else this weekend. A very horrible, no-good day.
    I hope that the young man remembers your kindness, and that, perhaps, that moment will contribute to healing his mind and soul.

  7. Those events are distressing. It's good news that pater will get his ID returned and how fortunate that the police were able too apprehend the fellow.
    Hearing this story it does make me a bit paranoid as I am far too trusting.
    I hope that you have a better week mater.

  8. A wallet scam was the last thing you needed. I'm so sorry for all of this additional stress this caused on top of everything else!

  9. This is indeed disturbing and what I have to say may not be welcome, but: we were victims of a similar young man at the door, and he attacked Le Duc with a hammer once let in. Le Duc and my son eventually drove him off, and he was apprehended after he fled. (I was out). I will never admit a stranger again; take a cell phone and step outside, offering its use. Le Duc went to court and felt very sorry about the young man's story, but it was an encounter that could have gone much worse for everyone.

  10. I'm so sorry to hear about all this. You certainly already have enough on your plate!

    It's really hard to strike a balance between kindess and safety... I had some really ugly early experiences that have left me less trusting than I would like to be, but as other tales on this blog relate, there are some really awful people out there. Some of them will not be contrite later (although it warms my heart that this one was). Be kind, but cautious.

  11. I can't believe this. How wretched that this guy conned you - but how poignant that you affected him as you did. That's very hard to do with someone hardened by addiction. You should never feel foolish for being kind. Kindness is the backbone of everything.

  12. Wow! What an incredible story. I'm just glad you weren't physically harmed!

  13. Thanks for all your supportive feedback as well as for your concern about the wisdom of my choices. I simply lack the energy to reply individually -- this week seems tough. I would like to assure you that I have some pretty good filters in place and don't respond to doorbell scams. Walk past most panhandlers. Don't slow down when someone shows me the "gold" ring they find on the ground in Paris. Smile and nod and keep walking to most pleas for bus or cab or Metro fare. Have never given money to a "deaf-mute" passing me a copy of The Lord's Prayer as I ride a subway train from one crowded platform to another.
    This was different in several ways, and I had actually volunteered the help to someone knocking on my neighbour's door. I never felt my safety was compromised, even for a moment. The theft was actually minor, considering the possibilities, and it represented an opportunistic move by someone in a really tough spot (yes, because of his own choices -- but he'd been beat up, robbed, and really "needed" drug money, plus appears to have owed the wrong people money).
    I suspect his slide down a very slippery slope is unstoppable at this stage, although I hope something might arrest it -- perhaps the arrest itself. I can only, after all is said and done, feel fortunate, grateful that none of my kids nor any of my family, have got caught up in that frightfully sticky web.

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