FelonyNovember 4, 2004
I am terribly grumpy. And it's not just because of who our president will continue to be. (That couldn't be called grumpy, anyway. That's more like shell-shocked. Despondent.) I am not feeling eloquent enough to even try to address that. Go read Lala's take. I may be prejudiced, but I don't think that's why it made me feel a tiny bit better somehow.
I'm just grumpy because of a carpet cleaner. I had a company send a guy out to clean the one carpet in my old apartment. He was fine, and did an okay job. He left his file folder in my apartment, and called to ask when he could get it back. When I got the message, I was on the way to drop Bethany at the airport, and then I had to go to work. I told him I'd go to the old place at five in the morning after work, get the folder and leave it on the front porch. He could come pick it up any time after that. He said that was all right.
I got off work yesterday at five. I'd been up at that point for twenty-two hours. I got to my old apartment. Bethany had confirmed that she had seen the folder in my place when we had left, but she had assumed it was mine and hadn't said anything about it.
The folder was nowhere to be found. I thought, huh. It must be somewhere else. I was cleaning the tub when he had me sign the charge slip: maybe he had left it in the bathroom. I checked. Nope, no file folder, but the window was open, the sill was filthy, and the screen was on upside down and partially open. I then checked the living room -- the sliding glass door was unlocked, and the back gate was standing wide open.
Now. Okay. I wasn't technically living there anymore, and the only thing missing was his file folder. I can understand the motivation. Perhaps he was scared of getting in trouble at work if he didn't have his files. But it was a major lapse in good judgment, since now he's REALLY going to be in trouble.
And therein lies my Rachaelish problem. I called the cops and had them make an incident card. This is documentation, but less formal than a report. I didn't want to press felony burglary charges against the guy, since, as stated, I could understand the motivation and no damage was done.
But what I wanted was an apology from him. (I think I was a little naive about that -- someone who breaks in doesn't normally apologize later.) And not having to pay the carpet cleaning bill would have been nice, too. I was furious that someone had entered my old home (still full of the stuff that I'm not sure what to do with) without my permission, through the bathroom window. So I called his company and told them what had happened.
The manager was horrible. I really think she could have made it all go away by saying, "I'm so sorry. We'll figure out what went wrong, and we'll get back to you. I'm sure there's an explanation. But in the meantime, I'm so sorry."
Instead, she said, "So what you're saying to meeeee.... [Long, acrid pause.] Lemme get this straight. Someone broke into your house. And the only thing stolen was the file folder YOU say he left in your house."
"HE said he left it in my house."
"Whatever. What makes you think it was our employee?"
Golly, I don't know. It's true, there might be a horrible Oakland criminal on the loose who ransacks homes for cruddy-looking old file folders. Terrifying, isn't it? Fer fuck's sake. I believe that's just about what I told her, too (although I didn't swear). She said the owner would call me. He never did.
The cleaner dude, however, did call me. And that just made it worse. I answered, mistake number one. I should have let it go to voice mail. Mistake number two, I asked to know what he had been thinking, breaking into my home. He pled his innocence so well that I actually almost fell for it. He sounded so sad and offended that I would consider him able to commit such a crime that I got off the phone and drove to my old place to see if the files had fallen behind the bookcase. Of course, they hadn't. Then I just felt stupid. And taken.
But now my main problem is guilt. And while I know you'll all sigh and send me comments telling me I've done the right thing, really I'm not sure that I have. There was no damage to my place. He probably considered it vacant. He took nothing but his own property. Had he called me and said that it was imperative that he get his files back or his boss would kill him, I can see myself telling him to try to break in. Now he might lose his job, and I'm picturing him with four small kids in dirty clothes, and a crying wife who has to now work 19-hour days instead of the 14-hour ones she's been doing recently. Plus, he's sober and this will depress him enough to fall off the wagon onto a four-day binge. And his sick mother needs the operation he's been saving for. And his brother just died, leaving him responsible for his widow and nine more children.
You know, something like that.
It galls me that he lied to me, baldly, on the phone. It pisses me off that he broke into my place. But in the larger scheme, this doesn't really matter, and perhaps I just made someone's life really rough, for very little reason, because I was too tired to really think it through before making phone calls. I think that's what's eating me up.
Bah. Blerg. Ne'er a dull moment, nosireejimbobarooney. Bleha. (Try it, it's much more effective than a simple bleah.) Now, to get in my (MY) bathtub and swim off the grumps. My house! Oh! Yay!