I wrote this last week. It sort of forced it's way out of me while the kids were in class. It's not meant to be related to any particular subject; I just thought I'd share.
We didn't know it at the time, but a stranger was downstairs opening the window, climbing over our kitchen table, walking through the darkened house holding my cute purple purse and my husband's laptop bag. We were all upstairs, asleep, except when I heard the bump I thought was one of the cats, which even in my half-awakened state I recognized as a very uncatlike sound. I was groggy and I am well-aware that I'm on the protective side when it comes to my house and my space, so I dismissed the noise as my usual semi-paranoia and went back to sleep.
It wasn't until ten o'clock, when I'd been up for three hours, that I realized someone had been there. And it wasn't till the policeman came to take the report that I knew how the burglar had gotten in.
The worst part is not losing the stuff, and I'm already beginning to get over the fact that someone was in our house while we were sleeping. We were safe; there had been no confrontation, no trauma, no heart-stopping fear. What bugs me right now is that my checkbook and my little notepad are “out there” with my words in them, words that I have written.
Someone could be examining my habits, where I've been shopping, training, eating. What I've ordered, where I've been, the things I was considering writing about, my observations of the people I know and love... My words, even just those little ones, are gone. That is a little bit of my energy, my identity, me, taken away, probably just thrown away. Damn! At least it was only the last few weeks of checks. It was a pretty new check register because I'd just ordered a new box of checks (again—damn!). Otherwise he (she?) would have even more of an idea of who I am, how often I eat out, what I wear, how much electricity my family uses, when I write neatly, when I scribble, how much my husband earns.
I have to admit, the idea of someone going through my checkbook is intriguing, the idea of taking a delicious nonjudgmental peek into the life of an unsuspecting person. What does it all add up to? What do those things say about me? How fun it could be to spy on someone, find out bits of what her lifestyle is like, what she likes to do on weekends and where she buys her bras.
The truth is, though, our burglar couldn't care less; he bought bus passes with my credit card and is most likely just looking for his next fix, the poor guy (or gal—I want to try to imagine a woman doing this for some weird reason). This is the work of a desperate uncreative person.
Often, a writer is a spy, absorbing seemingly useless information in order to learn about the human mind and soul for use later in building and taking care of her characters. But then, it is as a writer whose words have been stolen away in the night that I feel so terribly violated. More than as a homeowner, or as a woman with a purse, and at this moment more even than as a mother (though only because, thank heavens, my children were only several feet on either side of me at the time and are safe).
I wish I could have my driver's license and my newly purchased roll of stamps back, but I'd also enjoy it if this thief would mail me something written about her experience, perhaps a character study based on the information in my purse, or what it felt like when she looked at the laptop she had stolen and realized it was a piece of junk.