Theft and Trust December 17, 2009

Theft and Trust

by Jesse Galef –

Someone tried to rob me last night. I was on Metro and had just struck up a conversation with some strangers when we arrived at a stop and the doors opened. Someone walking by jumped in, snatched my iPod from my hands, and started running away. I chased and caught him, at which point I said something along the lines of “Just give it back” and he did. Of course, by then I had left my backpack (with laptop) on the train… I hope the strangers were kind enough to take it to the Metro lost and found. Otherwise, I lost more property by recovering my iPod – irony at its finest.

I’m going to have to think a lot more about crime. I don’t really understand the mindset. Sure, I’ve heard the common tropes that people can get poor or desperate. But I’m having trouble internalizing it. The question that keeps coming to my mind is: didn’t anyone ever teach them not to steal? I can’t help but link to a relevant MacHall comic from back in the day:

What the hell is wrong with these people? I mean, everyone’s mother tells them that stealing is bad, right? What were they doing while that was going on? Not paying attention? Distracted? Were they thinking about candy?

Or what about church! Or even children’s television! I know you can’t watch G.I. Joe for long without someone telling you at the end not to steal stuff!

Incidentally, the “just give it back” line has worked for me once before – about six months ago when some kids grabbed my girlfriend’s wallet in a restaurant and ran. It avoids unnecessary violence and gets me the stolen property back. But this way they never get punished. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I’m sure he’ll get away. I wasn’t able to give a good enough description to the police. When they started asking me questions, I had to acknowledge that it happened too fast for me to see details. Black male, about my height, 18-20 years old, black and grey jacket… I got that part. But asking me about his shoes, facial hair, or scars… I told the officer bluntly that it happened too fast and that I didn’t trust my memory. When I tried to picture the robber, there were no clear images – or, more accurately, I could insert various shoes or facial hair into my image of him and they all seemed equally good.

Everything I’ve heard is that eyewitness testimony in high-stress situations is beyond questionable. I didn’t want to tell the police details I didn’t trust. Next time I’ve stopped a robber I’ll try to make a conscious effort to remember his appearance.

Damage assessment: Backpack and laptop – possibly lost. Heel – injured from jumping down a flight of stairs in pursuit. Assumption that people are generally good – momentarily shaken. I hope all three problems are solved with time.

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  • Pony

    At least now you have the veneer of a bad ass dispenser of vigilante justice.

    Like Batman, but without the savage beatings.

  • Neil

    Perhaps get an iPod that takes photos or shoots video. That way when you catch them and they return it you’ll be able to snap a picture of them.

  • Alan E.

    Funny enough, ever since I started watching Psych, I have kept a sharper eye on the finer details when incidents occur. A few months back I was about to give the exact train car number, time, and logos on apparel for a police report. Repeating events a few times in your head as soon as it happens, or even telling it to someone right away, will help tremendously. Don’t we learn something like 90% of what we teach?

    The real trick is practicing it before something occurs. I am not anything like the guy on Psych, or even a trained specialist, but it surely helps when needed.

    @Neil That’s why I have the camera as the default when I click the button twice on my iphone. Quick pictures when you need to take them or something cool pops up.

  • Oh, that sucks. But I’m glad you’re okay.

  • Duo

    People are generally good, yes.

    However, there are a lot of parents that do not teach their kids that stealing is wrong. In fact, I know of people that teach directly the opposite: “take whatever you can get. the world owes you whatever you want.”

    It is unfortunately quite sad that these people are not educated enough to at least raise their kids in a positive fashion.

    I hope that the people you were talking with will go to lost and found or try to connect with you on the same train again.

  • rbray14

    well far as theft goes i’m no expert but from what i gather it’s a matter of i wanna say entitlement

    some people think things are in 2 categories theirs and soon to be theirs.
    which can kick in when in reduced circumstances.but that’s only my opion of what i see, evidence and data may say something different…

    oh and far as raising goes,well i can tell a story, that may not hold true and my sister were raised the same,told to be good and not steal.and i don’t,but my sister however has no qualms stealing,from anyone,even her own family

  • Josh

    I’d say don’t trust anybody farther than you can throw them. I know thats cynical, but I’ve had too much shit stolen from me to say otherwise. People are, above all else, unpredictable. Even a generally good person may do something bad for reasons even he/she doesn’t fully understand.

  • Krista

    I’ve stolen probably hundreds of dollars worth of shit from stores back in the day when I was indeed desperate. I can honestly say I didn’t feel guilty about it. I didn’t have a lot to lose and the way I saw it, it arguably didn’t hurt anyone, besides maybe forcing the stores to raise their prices, I didn’t see how a few things stuffed in my bag or pocket made much of an impact. I never stole from individuals and only from large stores. Mostly wal-mart. Sometimes it was the only way to get things like shampoo or socks. Most of the time it was to comfort myself in a lifestyle of poverty.

    Some people aren’t taught good morals. Others simply have hard lives and a huge sense of injustice. Sometimes the whole of society seems to be against you and you get angry and stop caring. They might look at someone like you and think, this guy isn’t going to suffer if I take his IPod. He can probably afford a new one. I, on the other hand, will never afford one.

    There are a lot of reasons to steal and there are a lot of ways to justify it.

  • Shannon

    Aw, sorry Jesse. I hope your backpack and laptop get returned. I very much believe that people are more good than bad, but the bad often has such impact on us, it takes a lot more good to counteract it. I hope your heel feels better soon too.

  • Andrea

    Let us know if you get your laptop back!

    When I first got my iPod (I won it in a contest) I had regular nightmares about someone stealing it. 😛

  • Krista

    PS Didn’t mean to make it sound like I think stealing is ok in the right circumstances. Obviously it’s wrong and I haven’t done it in years.

  • haley

    I’m glad the situation worked out the way it did for both parties (hopefully the backpack will be retrieved). Simply demanding something back is very effective, I’ve had to employ that technique a couple times as well. Ultimately, people (whether engaging in or stopping crime) need to value human life over personal property.

  • LKL

    I’ve had two backpacks stolen out of my car; on of those times, the thief took my graphing calculator out and left it on the driver’s seat. The biggest theft was two loads of clean laundry and an overnight bag stolen out of my car – it was basically everything that I wore on a regular basis, and I had to buy new jeans, underwear, work clothes, everything. I had been living out of my car for three months in order to save money, and that theft basically wiped out everything I had saved.

    I lost one bicycle to theft at Oregon State; my brother has, IIrc, had three bicycles stolen out of his car at various times.

    The hospital where I work has had several microwaves stolen out of the cafeteria, as well as several *fish* out of the tank in the waiting room. Cars in the hospital lot are frequently broken in to, with the rate seeming to peak during the holidays.

    One small botique garden store in a town to the south of where I work was forced to close due to losses from repeated thefts (yes, they had alarms and everything).

    I hate thieves.
    It’s almost never about taking a loaf of bread when you’re starving; it’s about taking something that someone else worked for that you want, without doing the work for it.

  • Hound Doggy

    I own a retail store and have had many many other experiences….the majority of people will steal if they think they can get away with it. OH…and lie too. Gender doesn’t matter, age doesn’t matter, income doesn’t matter.
    Soccer mom types steal just like anyone else.
    I am not affected by the sob stories from the poor and unfortunate any more….most are lies or cons.
    It’s too easy for these people. Even if the cops caught “your” guy…nothing would happen to him. And I’m sure they are not even looking. A report was written….end of story.
    I had several burglaries…I gave the detective the name of the guy who did it. Nothing happened..they didn’t even “find” him. I’m in a small town…everybody can be found. Nobody cares….unless it affects them directly.

  • chutz

    I had my iPhone ripped out of my hand in a shopping mall last week. I chased the guy (wearing my backpack, leaving my winter jacked behind). He ran around the mall and looped back to where I was sitting, and handed it off to another guy in a large group of teenagers. I attempted to block the group from leaving the mall, but they basically shoved me out of the way and entered the metro. All the while mall security was basically watching and doing nothing. I filed a police report, but I basically got the impression that nothing would be done. At least the guy who was sitting next to me when it happened held on to my jacket for me. The group who stole my phone did not look like they needed the money for food/etc as they were all wearing very expensive and new looking clothes (they had much more expensive clothes than I did).

    I did hear from a co-worker about an incident on Monday where someone did the same thing on a public street, and ended up having a large group of random people chasing him and his group down, and holding them until the police showed up. It seems like vigilantism by large numbers of people is the only way these sort of things will be stopped.

  • twirlgrl

    Glad you’re ok. Sorry about your laptop. Best wishes for getting it back!

  • Revyloution

    On NPR there was report a couple of months back. I did some digging but couldnt find the story.

    The teacher asked his class, by a show of hands, how many of them had seen their parents steal something. The teacher thought it was a rhetorical question, but was shocked by the number of kids who raised their hands.

    As for humans being basically good? Ive never thought that. I always assume that humans will behave within the social norms of their society. Mix in mental dysfunction like sociopathy and you get a potentially violent and destructive society.

    I never go anywhere without a weapon of some sort. Folding knife, pepper spray, gun, something. That said, I also to expect that there is a good chance I will never need to defend myself.

  • Matt D

    Jesse, what the hell are you doing chasing some dude who just robbed you??!!

    Years ago i was held up at knife point while working in a liquor store – twice in 2 days in fact, same guy.

    Second time I decided to chase the guy and found a big knife being waved very close to my face. and it wasn’t even my money. very dumb move and I nevered worked another day in that store. What if that dude had stabbed you – what a merry fucking Xmas that would have been.

    Read Revyloution’s comment above this and you’ll see why – you dont know who’s carrying a weapon (and FTR i dont think everyone packing a weapon is the answer).

  • Revyloution

    I agree Matt. I have strict personal rules for weapon use. I would never attack someone over theft of property. The only time I would use force is to defend a person. I have no desire to be a hero. No persons life is worth the loss of a material item.

    I just look at history, and I see no reason to think that we are a naturally altruistic species. Perhaps one day we can grow beyond it. As the world is now, I prepare for violence the same way I prepare for kitchen fires. Prevention first, but have to tools to put it out if it starts.

  • J B Tait

    It takes a certain arrogance to believe the laws, rules, and mores apply to everyone but the person making the judgment. Some steal because they feel entitled. Some find a way to justify it. Some make it part of their employment contract and then it is no longer against the law.

    How much of this sense of entitlement comes from the false “self-esteem” kids are assured in school (whether they are worthy of it or not), a sense of being Right (because they belong to the true religion, elite club, or the best political entity), the sense that being lucky at a lottery, or getting on a TV show is enough to deserve riches, a sense of making up for some perceived slight, or even revenge for the high ranking executives who think they are worth maybe 100,000 times as much as any of their employees?

    And then there are some who enjoy the sense of power, or messing with the ordinary “weak” citizens. These are called griefers in the world of online games.

    But the most telling thing from the story is the testimony. Since you were not certain, your testimony is likely correct. The most assured witnesses are the ones most likely to be believed by the police and jury, but are also the ones most likely to be wrong. I recommend you ask the Metro authority for a copy of the surveillance tapes when you go to pick up the backpack . . . assuming it made it to lost and found and wasn’t blown up as a suspicious abandoned item.

  • Vas

    I don’t subscribe to the assumption that people are generally good, in fact i think the opposite is true. Lots of people are bad, I believe most people are bad, (I know bad is subjective but I’m looking at it as bad people = people working against my interest) While it’s a bummer that you had your device wrenched from your grip it’s not at all surprising. Perhaps in the future you may think twice before flaunting your comparative affluence in the face of the covetous masses. To be clear I’m not saying it was your fault or that you brought it upon yourself but… really you should be more aware of your surroundings and the potential for bad things to happen. Also your judgment and sense of loss mitigation seems a bit off as evidenced by your bolting after a relatively cheap device while abandoning a much more expensive one. People steal things because they can, and they generally look for easy targets, don’t be an easy target. This does not guarantee that you will not be a victim but it seriously decreases the odds that you will be the target of crime. I have been robbed myself and I was targeted because I was careless at the time, I showed my hand at the wrong time and I paid the price.

    The question that keeps coming to my mind is: didn’t anyone ever teach them not to steal?

    I’m sure someone did, and someone tried to teach me to love Jesus and I disregarded that lesson, so not every lesson taught is accepted as valid. Maybe you can explain to me why stealing is wrong, I have my own reasons for not stealing, (and I don’t) but why do you, (or any of you) think I shouldn’t? If a person can steal with no negative consequence then why should they refrain? Banks do it, insurance companies do it, churches do it, so why not individuals? It seems to me that stealing is a major force in our American economy, those who do it tend to succeed, granted at the expense of the whole, but so what, success is it’s own reward and who says I owe anyone anything anyway. The real trick is to monitor the trip point for consequences and try to stay on the side where the reward/consequence ratio is in your favor. This has proven itself a sound strategy on a macro scale and while it may have directly lead to our current economic hardship this hardship is mostly affecting individuals who are not perpetrating mass theft, while most corporate thieves benefit greatly, with the exception of the few who ignore the r/c ratio and get carried away.
    People suck, deal with it. Why in the world did you post about your personal loss on this site anyway? What does this have to do with atheist issues? I’m not scolding you I just honestly wonder why, I feel it must have some reason for being on this site but maybe I’m too dim just now to sus it out .

  • Casimir

    You need to be aware of your surroundings, which will prevent most incidents like that in the first place. And you should never run after a theif again. I knew a guy who ran after a burglar. He showed me the multiple stab wounds from a screwdriver the guy was carrying.

  • I hope that your laptop and bag were handed into lost and found and that will help restore your faith in humanity.

    As for your robber, some people’s parents just didn’t raise them right. He’s obviously one of them.

    It sucks being robbed. I remember how enraged I was when my ipod was stolen. Of course I also remember how amused I was when it was returned. Apparently the thief (thieves) didn’t like my taste in music!

    Edit: @ LKL: FISH?!?! People steal FISH? Wow I thought I’d heard everything. How the hell would you steal a fish? *wanders off muttering to self about crazy people*

  • David D.G.

    Jesse, I’m sorry that you were victimized. I’ve been burglarized a few times, but never robbed “in person” like that. I can understand how you would compulsively run after the guy who took your iPod, while contrarily abandoning much more stuff; righteous indignation isn’t always rational!

    The most important thing is that you were not seriously hurt (or worse!) in this incident. (Yes, your heel is sore, and your sense of security is probably shattered as well. But both will heal.) Another good thing is that, crazy as it was to go after the guy, at least you got your iPod back! (Even if the thief didn’t receive any punishment over this, at least he didn’t get away with the goods, either.) Here’s hoping that your fellow Metro riders were sympathetic enough (and smart enough) to turn in your other equipment, too.

    What with losing your job and now having this happen, I think that you’ve had enough misfortune for a while. Better luck in 2010!

    ~David D.G.

  • muggle

    Not to sound cynical but I fear that just give it back tactic is gonna work one hell of a lot better for a young, healthy male and, depending, even the young, healthy female than me. Of course, I wouldn’t have been able to catch him either.

    I don’t recommend doing it even for you. If my daughter did something like that, I’d go upside her head (figuratively speaking but perhaps with a light slap) and say, “What’s the matter with you, girl? Don’t you know you’re more valuable than the damned i-pod?”

    When I was younger, I was of Revyloution’s mindset. Still, somewhat am. I’m always thinking about how I can defend myself, if necessary. (Just tougher to imagine with my troubles walking; on the cane, I relished the cane as weapon bit but what am I going to do with a walker, run them over? Of course, now I’m always with the young, healthy daughter in tow.) But, bottom line, any human being is worth more than any thing though some human beings definitely make you doubt that. I lived in Colorado with their make my day law and thought the mentality that it was okay to kill someone over a stereo was totally fucked up.

    In addition to being prepared to defend myself always, I also keep things close where they can’t be easily snatched, and never, ever flash the cash in public. It always amazes me how panhandlers do so well. I never give. Not because I’m not charitable but because I always think what a perfect way to get someone to open their wallet and give you a peek at how much cash they’re caring. There’s a zillion organizations out there if you want to help people in need through which to do so. Pick one that appeals to you. I did once help a mother with a young child in dire straits who found the local mission locked against her but by sharing some of my meager groceries with her.

    That said, I’ve been working in building maintenance for the first time in my life for a little over two years now and it is an eye-opener as for as human nature goes and let me tell you, human nature ain’t nothing to brag about. I’m secretary to the building manager of a State office building. State workers are definitely paid enough to buy the small necessities but theft of soap and paper towels are common place. Especially given that to steal the soap, you actually have to bring in a container and stand there holding down the button to empty it into the container all while hoping no one catches you. Yet State workers steal soap. And paper towels. And newspapers from the blind woman who runs the newsstand in the lobby.

    Not only theft but when people are pissed at their boss, they take it out on the building. There are some real fucked up things that go on and purposely plugging up toilets are the least of it. Shitting in trash cans is one and, when I was grimacing over that one, my boss told me of one where they did in the sink and then smeared it around and plugged the sink up with paper towels. Ripping soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and toilet papers off walls are favorites but they’ll break anything they think they can get away with. Restrooms, probably because they can’t have cameras, are favorites.

    Human beings are some kind of fucked up and don’t trust them as far as you can throw them.

    That said, Jesse, I’m glad you’re okay. But don’t chase after them any more. An I-pod ain’t worth dying for, man.

  • Rev. Pyramid Head

    Eh, I tend to be a mild misanthrope (which, actually, kind of runs in the family considering that more than 97% of my family is the same way). I’ve had way too many encounters with awful people to have anything more than that…and had too much shit stolen.

    Like a few weeks ago, when someone stole a ancient, falling apart( with unwashable soot smudges on the surface…as well as horrific audio quality) Ipod with half of the screen dead from my jacket at a depression support group meeting (it also only lasts about 20 minutes when not plugged into my computer).

    I hope the rest of your stuff ends up in the Lost and Found and not stolen, though. Do you have a contact number in your bag (like, when labels say “If this item is found, please call such-and-such”)?

    Sorry if my grammar is horrible, but still sleep-deprived. :/

  • john locke

    The problem with that approach is he has very little incentive to stop. Sure you get your iphone back, but the next guy probably won’t. You really should have turned him into the police.

  • Heidi

    Where do all of you people live that you get robbed all the time?? That’s horrible! Granted, I’ve got nothing to steal, so maybe I just don’t look like a target.

  • llewelly

    Don’t we learn something like 90% of what we teach?

    Uh, doesn’t this imply you don’t know what you’re teaching the other 10% of the time?

  • medussa

    Glad you’re ok, Jesse.

    Poverty, desperation and a sense of everyone owing you something are some reasons for stealing, but on top of that, addiction will turn even law abiding and well raised kids/young adults into desperate assholes.
    It’s a huge motivator.

    Really glad you’re ok.

  • Revyloution

    muggle, I have a feeling that if we lived in the same town, we would have coffee every Sunday morning.

    The old adage “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is always a good mentality to have.

    Being a pro-gun guy, I really cringe when I go to gun shows. The general mentality is they all plan on shooting anyone that steals from their vegetable garden. I love your sentiment about human beings worth more than things. My thoughts exactly.

    Your stories about the office building don’t surprise me. People can be just as amazing as they can be miserable. Humanity contains our greatest hopes and our worst fears.

  • I still assert that prisons should be mental institutions because I still believe that criminals are mentally ill. They may not have been that way when they were born, but at the time of the crime, they certainly were.

    Criminals, the way I see it, should be locked in prison until it’s determined that they are safe to be let into society, and there should be continuous rehabilitation sessions to get them there. Sometimes rehabilitation merely means education, but it would certainly be different for every person. Just putting someone in jail, and throwing away the key seems to be counterproductive.

    I’m glad your okay though Jesse, and I hope you do find your other stuff.

  • Elis

    I’m glad you weren’t hurt and hope you recover your other items.

    Assumption that people are generally good – momentarily shaken.

    In my case the assumption that people are good is permanently shaken. I’ve been the victim of theft so many times that I no longer believe people are naturally good.

  • AxeGrrl

    Sarah wrote:

    Edit: @ LKL: FISH?!?! People steal FISH? Wow I thought I’d heard everything. How the hell would you steal a fish? *wanders off muttering to self about crazy people*

    That was my reaction too!

    I’d be fascinated to hear exactly how they do it…..hopefully it involves a water-filled ziplock bag and not a ‘personal storage’ method used by drug smugglers.

  • Bob

    FWIW, walk-by snatchings of train riders’ iPhones & iPods is all the rage, at least along the Green Line of the Chicago el.

    Advice: Stay aware of your surroundings. No weapon or martial art will keep you safe if you’re not paying attention to your environment. Paying attention is the easiest way to avoid the need for violent reaction. Also, if you carry a weapon, know how to use it otherwise it’s liable to be taken from you and used against you. Guns especially.

    Keep the shiny toys under wraps or close to the vest, and replace those “please steal my Apple(tm) gear” white-corded earbuds for something in basic low-visibility generic black. Sometimes Apple’s design panache is an absolute liability.

    I have a hard time justifying the use of lethal force in defense of property, though the notion that the thief should have the holy living shit beat out of them holds some attraction, at least on the surface. I doubt that’s the right approach though.

  • LKL

    @ Heidi: I went 19 years without ever having anything stolen from me in Portland,OR. I went to Corvallis for school, and had my bike stolen my sophomore year – bike thefts were very high there, enough to be remarked on by just about everyone. I saw the police grab a guy off of the quad with a two-foot long pair of lock snips under his jacket in the middle of the quad, at lunchtime. Not a lot of other stuff got stolen, though there were some other ugly social events.

    I transferred to Humboldt County, and learned not to leave *anything* in a locked car, ever. No, the police don’t do squat. When I had all of my clothes stolen, I called the police and they said, “We’ll mail you a report to fill out.” I got it in the mail about two months later.

    “…Don’t you know you’re more valuable than the damned i-pod?”

    It’s not about the effing ipod. At this point, I’d like to beat the shit out of the person who stole all of my *underwear*. It’s the principle of the thing: It is just not ok to go around taking other people’s stuff, whether it’s a shiny pebble that they found on the beach, an ipod, a car, or a child.

    And, yes: a pair of angel fish from the tank in the waiting room. ‘Cause, you know, whoever it was really *needed* those fish more than the folks who sit around waiting for medical care.

  • LKL

    Not quite 19 years in Portland. I graduated from high school and went to college at the usual age.

  • Captain Werewolf

    I’ve stolen before (maybe less than $100 worth of stuff in my life), but not because I was hungry or desperate (most theft is really not because of need). I did it for the same reasons other people do: immaturity, the thrill of getting caught, feeling smarter than the store owner, whatever. It’s all completely self-centered, a little “fuck you” to society. Childish, like vandalism. Obviously, I don’t steal anymore, but I remember how easy the guilt was to rationalize away.

    Now, I never had the inclination or the balls to rob somebody–it was always shoplifting and the like. It’s easier to talk yourself into it when you don’t have to look the victim in the face. I’ve also been mugged before, once at knife-point, and it sucks. I don’t think it’s so much people being irrational or whatever, even when they don’t seem to gain anything from the endeavor. It’s more like they just haven’t been inculcated with the right kinds of social behaviors. The guy that steals the ipod is, to me, like the guy that kicks a dog. Neither action is “irrational,” they’re just fucked up because they’re inappropriate in the society we live in.

    [reading over this post, it looks like I’m taking a moral relativist stance or something; for the record I think that theft, mugging, and dog-kicking are really bad things, I just think most people tend to make moral decisions more or less intuitively, and this “intuition” is strongly influenced by patterns of behavior, upbringing, etc.]

  • JP

    When your understandable anger has subsided, you might try to consider the whole episode from a purely rationalist perspective… and brush up on your evolutionary biology at the same time.

    Theft and other forms of ‘cheating’ are classic strategies in game theory. In any predominantly co-operative society, the best (i.e. least costly) strategy for a certain frequency of individuals is to ‘cheat’, rather than conform to the rules of the game (i.e. work for their money). In other words, depending on the likelihood and severity of punishment, it is always worth taking the gamble of committing crime for some people in a society. This is why no society can ever eliminate crime – unless there is a 100% chance of being punished by death, it will always be profitable for some individuals to cheat.

  • Captain Werewolf

    JP: I agree that there are plenty of rational reasons to cheat (ie, steal). I would add, though, that some people have plenty to lose and little to gain and still cheat. For many, it’s a compulsion, a habit, or a form of entertainment, not a rational decision.

  • muggle

    Eh, Revyloution, it must be hat. That sounds totally cool but I’m shyer in person than I am on-line, unless I get mad or totally relate to what you’re saying or… um, never mind. I have trouble making friends in person but, yes, I’d agree. We click on a lot.

    supercheetah, I wish someone who mattered was listening to your ideas! Terrific. I think you’ve got something there. For all the lip service we give rehabilitation, we don’t see much of what your saying. Instead we get stuff like Colson’s nonsense.

    Heidi, I never have been actually (unless you count scumbag ex-husbands) but it might just be the attitude. I do get rather in your face. Less than a year ago, I did have to turn that cane around and threaten a young punk who decided it’d be a good idea to push a middle-aged Grandma on a cane around. Don’t know but that I might be in jail for assault but her companion had more sense than she did and pulled her away before it came to blows — and I was not going to be shoved a second time. Fortunately, I was seated at the time — on a bus, where she thought she’d shove me off so her young healthy butt could sit. In the handicapped seat at the front of the bus, no less. If you’re ever in this neck of the woods, stay off the #55, Albany-Schenectady route. You need a weapon on that mother fucker.

    Don’t test it. If I had to I might just run you over with that rolling walker. My lower lims suck but I’ll pit my upper body strength against near anyone short of a gym fanatic. It’s pretty damned good despite arthritis in shoulders, neck and spine. If I’m sitting, I probably could swing that thing!

    Don’t worry. I’ve never actually hurt anyone. I sprayed pepper spray once on a bus when a guy shoved his knee into my back (didn’t want anyone sitting next to him on a packed bus, fuck him, I ain’t standing when there’s a seat) but he was taller than I figured and I missed his eyes. Should have seen the room that suddenly cleared around us and he left me the fuck alone rest of the way home. Could be because I kept the pepper spray out and properly aimed the rest of the way.

    I also had a vicious black cat who was convinced that she had to live up to movie stereotypes for 18 1/2 years. That little New York bitch not only beat up two Dobermans and a German Shepherd but scared away two burglars that I know of so (and one more that I suspect but can’t be sure about), no, I was never burlglered either. She was fucking psycho! I still miss her and she’s been dead 14 years. I fear I’ll be like Mr. Bojangles in that respect.

    Um, where do I live for this kind of stuff? Denver and Albany, NY. Missed Albany the whole time I lived in Denver. What can I say, this is home.

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