I took the good weather on Saturday for a chance to spend the afternoon outside making some improvements to the small strips of soil that pass for 'landscaping' around my apartment. I put on my headphones and set my phone to vibrate in my pocket and was just getting into a good debris-clearing groove when a strange number with a northern Jersey area code interrupted me.
It was good George Flores calling from a post-office in Jersey City (outlet of the Holland tunnel from Manhattan) to tell me that a bag with my belongings had been turned in to his possession. Eureka! Sweet mother of luck, I thought, could it be the world has smiled on me and I'll be made whole except for the irrevocable loss of the trip to Bonaire?
Feeling no offense that he'd already gotten into my belongings to learn my identity, I encouraged him to keep digging and report out what else might still be in the bag. Well, there was a passport, some glasses, some other shit, (literally he said that), batteries, some prescription drugs....
I cut him off. No iPad? No digital camera? No. Damn it!
I suppose I might be grateful I'm getting anything back at all, but here's the thing -- what's being returned does me almost no good at this point. Two weeks since missing the trip, I'd already cancelled the passport and diving certification cards and spent the money to replace them as well as my prescription eyeglasses. Whoever first found my bag helped themselves to the fungible values contained within and did nothing to prevent me from sinking the cash to replace the items of no use to them.
I guess I'm expecting honor among thieves here, but if they were going to take my street valuables and return everything else, an anonymous email or text message certainly would have been possible and helped me to not lose the additional $500 or so it's taken to replace those things. Now it's just sentimental value (passport stamps?) and the modest utility of back-up pair of prescription glasses that would spur me to retrieve the bag. George Flores can't mail it to me since there's a passport involved, cancelled or not, so on top of everything there's the unpleasant errand of a special trip to Jersey City. I might just forget it.
Because I was at the point where I was moving on. This in some weird way, reopens the wounds and has sparked a second wave of anger. And for what? Because the thief wanted to feel better about themselves by returning my lost belongings after helping themselves to what they liked. Well guess what asshole? You don't get off that easy. You still stole from me and you didn't help mitigate any further losses on my part because you're a bad person who steals and you know what you did was wrong in every way so fuck you for bothering to return my bag at all. I wish you'd kept the whole thing and tried to sell the passport and gotten busted for treason and renditioned to Cuba where CIA interrogation experts tore out your teeth and toenails with pliers. So there, God and I both reject your attempt to make things right and that's the thanks you get for returning my bag, dickhead.