There was a strange event at Neptune yesterday. Or maybe not strange for somebody who has worked a lot of retail, but I have not, so to me it was strange. I caught a thief yesterday, and it wasn't your typical prototype. A man, probably 45 or so, with a little ten year old daughter (I'm assuming). Tried to pocket a rather obscure item – a G3 Onyx binding mount for switching it between skis. $69.99. Had it rolled into a magazine. We noticed it, and said something. He looked panicked, dropped it, and went outside. I went outside a yelled, "Sir, stop now." Told him to open up his pockets. He did, and he apologized. I looked him dead in the eye and told him to "never come back."
As the day went on, the incident lingered in my head. The why of it all. I don't understand. Why would a middle aged man come into a store with his daughter and steal a $70 binding adapter? Understand that I am not morally opposed to all stealing. I'm as liberal as they come on this one. If a mother has no job, no means of getting work, and has starving kids at home and tried to steal some pasta or something…well then I can justify that. That's survival, that's doing what she thinks needs to be done. There are other means to be sure, but I can understand the desperation. Or clothes if it's cold and you don't have adequate apparel to ward it off. These things I can wrap my head around. But a binding adapter? With your kid in tow? Why?
I didn't call the cops on the guy. Could have very easily, and I would have been in the right. But for some reason I couldn't. Perhaps that's my weakness, I don't know. Personally, I dislike cops, and I think when they get involved it escalates a situation to a level that starts to just create resentment, not real repentance. I know in my own life, when police get involved you start to focus more on that and less on the actual thing that might have landed you there in the first place. Getting shackled, degraded and treated like a dog will have that effect. This guy didn't deserve that. Because had I called the cops, the ramifications would have been severe. I'm assuming the daughter has a mother – perhaps the man's wife. I can't imagine how that conversation would have gone…"honey, I'm in trouble with the law because I tried to steal something and I brought our daughter along." That would have completely fucked up his life. Trust evaporated with the one who loves him. A family torn apart over a stupid $69.99 binding. A daughter embarrassed by her dad's actions. I did my best to keep the issue between me and him…to shield her from it. I hope it worked. A ten-year old daughter deserves to have a dad to look up to. She deserves that hero. I hope she still has it, and I hope this man can take it upon himself to realize that a cheap binding adapter isn't worth the loss of a daughter's adoration.
I showed mercy. I'm glad I did. I'm glad I have not lost the ability to do that.
Elaine and I went to Blue October last night. A very emotional show. We have more than a few songs of meaning for us by this band. The lead singer is schizophrenic and bi-polar and a lot of the songs deal with suicide and the feeling of hopelessness that goes along with it. He's walked the walk…you can just tell if you've been there yourself. At the show we signed up to volunteer for an organization that deals with this, called "Break-the-silence." Bringing suicide out into the open, making it something that people can talk about. I've been with people who sweep it under the carpet, like they are embarrassed by it. That's the worst thing you can do. It just leads to more loneliness, more hopelessness. It leads to more people dying.
People with mental illness are not bad people. Some of the most beautiful people in the world are impacted by them. They live normal lives but underneath there is a struggle. But they are not bad and they are not scary. That's stereotyping, and I have no place in my life for people who maintain these viewpoints.
Elaine and I are both very happy to be alive. We both know what it's like to be in that desperate place, and for some reason we are both here still. For me, it's my mom and dad. They are the reason I'm here today, they talked me back to sense, back from a dark place. Without them, I would not be married to the most amazing woman alive, I would not have a job I love, I would not be enjoying autumn walks thought the yellow aspens, walking hand-in-hand with my wife, smiling and laughing about the present, and planning a future together. So to mom and dad…thanks for being there at my moment of truth. For everything I accomplish from this day forward…it's on you. You are directly responsible for me being here today. And I believe that makes you the best parents who have ever lived.
The sun is rising. Elaine is asleep, recovering from a cold. Time to don the bike, run the dog, take care of myself a little bit before my wife wakes up, and then make her some soup and help her feel better. Pop a light comedy on the screen so she can just rest and be light. Do it gladly, cause I love her. I think maybe that's what life is all about. It sure feels right, as right as anything I've ever done.
Sorry for the bizarre nature of this post. It's just, this is life, and sometimes it's bigger than riding bikes through the woods.