Monday, March 12, 2012

Stolen Moments

Other than the time the janitor threw my bike in the dumpster*, I’ve been leaving it unlocked and unattended in the school parking lot without incident for the past ten years. And during that same time, I’ve also been leaving my iPod (or the latest incarnation of it) out in plain sight of my staff and students as well.  Again, without incident. And while it would be a large financial loss, and major inconvenience, should either of them ever get stolen, I really don’t worry about such things.

But it seems like every other week I have to justify my seemingly carefree attitude to others, who stop me to question how I could not lock up my bike, hide my iPod, etc. And I always tell them the same thing: I’m too lazy. They usually shake their heads and offer a smug smile, seeming almost happy with the thought that someday, someone will steal my bike and teach me a lesson. But the truth is, I’m really just too lazy to explain the real reason to them. In fact, I’M the one with the lesson to teach.

You see, I believe this whole notion of security, be it a bike lock, home alarm system, handgun, or guard dog, only serves to make us feel more insecure. I know an ounce of prevention is supposed to be worth a pound of cure, but a cure isn’t worth much if you’re not sick. And living in fear that there are thieves and murderers lurking around every corner is, well, sort of sick to me. 

Do you know how much time I spend worrying about my stuff getting stolen? Absolutely none. But I bet many of you who DO make the effort to lock up your bikes or type in a pass codes to your alarm system then go on to worry about all the ways people could bypass your security measures to get at your stuff. Am I right? I don’t want to get too philosophical, but when you chain things up like that, you’re chaining yourself to them. As for me, I’m carefree and confident that my things will still be there when I get back (unless that damn janitor is around!)

So while you are lying in bed at night feeling “safe” that should a robber attempt to break in, your alarm will sound and scare them off, I’ll be in my bed sleeping soundly, since I’m not even thinking about robbers. Unlike my poor father-in-law, who will be up all night worrying about the robbers who are going to read this and then come rob me!

Point is, security is supposed to give you peace of mind, but I find more peace in not expecting the worst from people. Not that I think people are so wonderful and trustworthy, just that the jerks among us seem to take more interest in the things we protect rather than the things we let be. Think about “Wet Paint” signs. If people really wanted that freshly painted bench to go untouched until it dries, they’d be better off hanging a sign that says, “Touch Me!” And rather than posting that “NO TRESPASSING” sign, put one up that says, “Hey Kids, Skateboard Here!” and see what happens. So by locking up you’re stuff, what you’re really saying is, “I have stuff worth stealing.”

What it really comes down to is, I just don’t see the sense in worrying about all the things that could go wrong or might happen. I’d rather spend my time enjoying the things that are happening. Screw those people who say shit like, “If you gave up your daily trip to Dunkin Donuts, and saved the money instead, you’d have $1000 at the end of the year.” To me, if a two-dollar cup of coffee makes your day a little better, good for you! Enjoy it! Which is why, as much as I enjoy the freedom I feel while riding my bike, and as pissed as I’d be if someone stole it, I’m willing to take that chance rather than give up the real freedom of feeling truly secure.


*Every morning, I hop off my bike and let it fall into the tall grass that borders the school’s property. I am such a creature of habit, it usually winds up in the same spot in the same position every day. Which is why a few years ago, a new custodian at our school assumed the bike was abandoned. Every morning he’d drive in and see it laying in the grass, and after a few weeks, decided to do something about it. Namely, toss it in the dumpster! Luckily I retrieved it before the garbage truck did.


  1. i too am a firm believer in what you think about you bring about. i have not always thought like this as sure you remember. it really helps you stay positive and focused on the good and important things in our lives.son go ahead mike live in that world as i try to do everyday. and remember nothing left to do but smile smile smile.

  2. I stole this article!

  3. Now I know where to get a free bike.

  4. @Chris, yes! Mike, I am sposin that the crime rate where you teach is not very high.

  5. Your Blog got me thinking about 2 things. One, my mountain bike was stolen right in front of me at the rugby field while I was at practice. I told my coach I was concerned about a bunch of high school boys who were walking by, eyeing my bike. He said not to worry about it and they were just passing by. Two seconds later, as I was running down the field, I looked up and saw one boy hop on my bike and another boy hop on my roommate's bike. My coach ran as fast as he could after them but the bikes were faster and they got away. *I still look for my bike in New Haven when I am driving through town. Every time I see someone on a bike I search for the name on the side and color. *The second thing I thought about while reading your Blog was that I do not worry about stuff getting stolen etc.. I do, on the other hand, visualize worste case scenarios to the point of driving myself mad. *In the movie theatre I always look for the Exit signs and then imagine myself crawling through people to get out. While standing in line for a rollercoaster I see it derailing.While riding my bike I see my tire falling off while riding down hill.
    Yup, that's a problem.

  6. You people are all too funny! And Robin, the second part of what you said is all too true! I do the same thing, but usually only when the kids are involved. I swear, parenting should be called, "1000 Ways to Die" because I have no problem imagining dozens of ways Eli might manage to hurt himself with a cotton ball

  7. As cliché as it may sound, I believe that it is better to think one step ahead in protecting your home or property. We can never tell when incidents like break-ins and burglaries can happen to our homes. And that is the purpose of alarm systems. They are our first line of protection or defense. And without it, it would make us vulnerable to intruders

  8. You seem to be a very reasonable man, Mike. You have a good point; installing a security system in your house may only provoke burglars to break in to your house. However, installing a security system in your house can also make them think twice, or even give them reasons to avoid your house if they see that it is equipped with an alarm system. It’s okay to live carefree and secure, as you said, but you should also employ preventive measures to avoid unfortunate incidents.