Thursday, October 15, 2015

Why having my wallet and phone stolen probably wont make me more cautious.

“So Alexa, you’ve gotten both your wallet and phone stolen now, are you going to be more careful?”

Probably not!

When I moved to small town Homer, Alaska back in 2009 on sort of a whim, that is a story that really warrants its own blog post or maybe even its own book,  I was shocked to learn some of the things that are just commonplace in small towns.  The most notable, which when I tell you will either be shocking to a point of disbelief or raise absolutely no alertness, which is completely telling of whether you grew up in a town of more or less than 5,000 people respectively.  People leave their keys in the ignition and often times leave their car running when they go to the grocery store.  I was shocked which grouped me with the former- my high school alone had almost that many people.  And when you live in a big city or even a substantial town you just seem to have this wall up against people which seems normal until you don’t have to do that anymore and it seems fundamentally insane.  Not saying that there aren’t places that you don’t need to possess a high level of paranoia, but what I am saying is that I don’t want to live there. Over the better part of the last decade I have really slipped into the latter group. I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve taken my keys out of my RV in the last 19 months and I usually only close windows in accordance with temperature.  So now I’ve gotten my wallet stolen (from an art show in Chicago early this summer) and my phone out of my RV this weekend.  In both cases, I feel like I had taken a higher level of precaution than I typically do.   By chance, an art show friend of mine who lives in the bay area had been present at both the Chicago show and this Houston one, and in my Sunday morning I-don’t-have-a-phone-OMG-how-ever-will-I-survive-the-next-48-hours fluster I went to grieve and jokingly blame him for my misfortune.  He told me that I’d brought my “Island habits to the big city” and it just doesn’t work. Then he told me about one time in the Bay Area that his car had been broken into, with nothing inside, just so that they could pop the truck and see if there was anything in there.  Which I think just goes to show that there is no amount of precaution that can be taken in big cities that will deter a criminal, maybe short of a rabid German shepherd in the front seat, but who wants to ride around with a rabid German shepherd? Is it really worth it? I think not. 
What I think is that there are consequences to being ever paranoid, and there are certainly consequences to having your guard down – obviously, I was without a driver’s license for 2 months and sans phone for nearly 72 hours (gasp), but I don’t think the payoff is worth it for me. I’ll take my chances being trusting within reason and following my intuition.  The few people that I can think of from my past that were skeptical of everyone else and thought 100% of strangers were out to get them were two of the worst people I’ve ever known. One was this girl I lived with for a year who had lived in NYC (no I’m not talking about you Emily) and she was uncomfortable letting people from stay with us. I have had probably 50 experiences with couchsurfing over the years and every single one has been positive, and yet she was still so paranoid of, dear I say it, a stranger sleeping on our couch for one night and possibly using our toilet.  She was one of the craziest, most delusional, and downright sociopathic people I’ve ever met and I think that led her to being scared of other because she was someone who others needed to be scared of her.  Also, a guy I knew for a few months at the end of college was just a straight up terrible person but he looked like Laird Hamilton and it was a weird time in my life.  And he legitimately thought that everyone on the planet was out to get him, and that was because he WAS out to get everyone else.   I’m not saying that if you’re skeptical of strangers that you’re a bad person, there are a million reasons why good people could have been wronged by and are subsequently skeptical of strangers, but in my experience the people who stand out in my mind of being particularly paranoid of ALL strangers, were indeed terrible people. 
It’s natural to be scared of, say, someone breaking into your house with a gun, I’m pretty sure that whether you’re trusting or scared of strangers, this is a scary idea to you.  It is, however, unlikely that this will ever happen to either skeptical guy or trusting guy, but does being skeptical really lessen your chances of this undesirable situation? Or does being scared of this your whole life take more from you than the slight advantage you might have over skeptical guy if this were to ever occur?  I guess we’ll never know.  But I think my conclusion is that I’m unwilling to miss out on the benefits that I gain by being generally trusting of people with the hopes that I avoid a possible, but unlikely adverse situation.   I think the most logical step for me is to take my island habits back to the island where I once again can leave my keys in the ignition with my windows wide open while I’m at Mana Foods without thinking twice about someone stealing my Maui cruiser for a joyride.    

1 comment:

  1. Hola, Alexa!
    I recently returned from 3 weeks in Morocco. On my last night in Marrakech (my all time fav city), I had my iPhone 6 + stolen by a pickpocket - probably when I bent over to give some remaining Moroccan coins to beggar.....ironically, I was more angry at myself than the pickpocket, if only because I had not taken even the basic precautions in a city where pickpocketing is an art form.....bottom line: phones are easier to replace than a body part luv your posts.....I am now in a somewhat similar situation as an author....I promote my books constantly in the hope that someone will not only LIKE my work, but also PURCHASE them. In my situation, I have less urgency than you due to a comfortable life style based on 50 years of previous work. Che!