North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts
No science today.
Some butthole stole my computer last week.
I feel the panic in your own chest as you hug your device to you.
Out of my car it was taken. From the trunk.
A Dell laptop. And the bag it was in.
But I don’t know how it was stolen because there was no sign of a break-in. Did I simply leave it on the sidewalk? What magic was used to unburden me of my laptop? What did I do that made stealing my laptop so easy? So I’ve spent some time victim-shaming and blaming.
“I shouldn’t have left it in the car.”
“I should have double-checked the doors.”
“Did I leave it out in the open?”
Then I thought, “Wait, a minute, some butthole stole my stuff. He or she is the one to blame. I’m not at fault!”
All the same, it happened.
My cortisol (a stress hormone) levels have been high since it was it was stolen. High as I change all my passwords including for my way-too-many email accounts (including a VERY old Yahoo account), credit cards, checking/savings accounts, Netflix, Twitter, Pandora…aaahhhh!!! Cortisol races and slams its fist into my heart as I file a fraud alert with the credit agencies. Cortisol grabs my intestines like an octopus and wrenches them as I file for a credit freeze to prevent accounts from being opened in my name. I am treating this as identity theft as though the thieves were able to access my social security number, my mother’s maiden name, my middle school transcripts, and a blood sample from my favorite childhood pet (Whisky, a dog who has been dead for some time). Cortisol makes me wish I had more deodorant as I consider a new laptop. And cortisol makes me want to pitch Windows 8 out the window because it’s a blood-soaked nightmare of non-intuitiveness (bring back Windows 7 you jerkfaces!).
When I lay in bed and consider worst-case scenarios to lull me to sleep, like my house being on fire and me trapped in my bedroom, I consider what I would grab as I scrambled across my rooftop in my boxer briefs. The two things are my laptop and my cellphone. I have no pets, spouse, or children to hold me back. Everything else is replaceable except my physical photographs, which are on the other side of the house. These electronics are, possibly sadly?, the priorities of my life outside of my car. They are my identity. They are my work, my social life, my succors, and my habits. I am a naturalist and believe in the power of nature, but I need my technology.
Now I’ve lost immense time retrieving backed-up data and re-configuring my computer and doing the innumerable things you have to do that you don’t realize are so innumerable and that you have to do them until you have to do them. Like writing confusing sentences.
But the computer is really only a loss of convenience and time and money.
Two irreplaceable items were lost. My old, hardback copy of Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us. I was reading it again and annotating it. Sure, I can get another copy but not of my notes or this aged piece. Its yellowed dust jacket, that I had removed, sits on the shelf; now forever empty of its knowledge.
The other irreplaceable are two pages of a letter I was writing to Duley (besties since kindergarten over 30 years ago!). Sorry Duley! I still write letters. Number 2 mechanical pencil. Bic 0.7mm lead only. Yellow legal pads.
So my computer was stolen by some jerkfaced butthole. Fortunately, jerkfaced buttholes are only a small percentage of the population. 99.98% are decent folks.
After computer shopping all day Monday morning, which made me want to jump into a barrel of burly and rabid wolverines and roll down a hill of depressed porcupines, I went to Five Guys in Peabody to salve my soul. Double cheeseburger. Mayo, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, raw onions, and pickles. Know what? It’s an extra pickles kind of day. Extra pickles. A Five-Guys employee walked up and asked me if I needed anything. Maybe he saw it on my face. At first I said, “Thank you, but I’m good.” Then, “Actually, you know what, I think it’s an extra pickles kind of day.” A few minutes later extra pickles arrived. I asked him how much I owed and he said, “Nah, don’t worry about it.” Maybe that’s Five Guys policy anyway, but that small kindness was a piece of wreckage to cling to in a sea of cortisol. No computer needed.
FYI: what do you do if you think your identity is stolen? This government document is extremely useful.