Sunday, July 12, 2009
to catch a thief
I would like to start this blog entry with a very simple question (although I fear your answer may not be that forthcoming) Question; When is the last time you stole something? Just to remind you what it means to steal, here is the Oxford dictionary's description....
verb ( past stole |stōl|; past part. stolen |ˈstōlən|)
1 [ trans. ] take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it : thieves stole her bicycle | [ intrans. ] she was found guilty of stealing from her employers
O.K. now that that is out of the way we can proceed...or rather I can (I'm starting to sound like a trial lawyer...sorry)
When I was about eleven I snuck up to London with my friend (who we will call John) because that really was his name.We didn't tell anyone we were going to the big city, we just went. We also didn't really plan anything, we just went from museum to museum.It wasn't that we were into learning or anything(we were eleven for Gods sakes) it was that the gift shops we were after, easy pray for out thieving little fingers.
On this occasion we happened to be in the Victoria and Albert Museum or was it the Natural History Museum, I forget. It doesn't matter.We found ourselves in the bookstore, slash, gift store. John and I started to wander separately around the store. I actually found a few books that I got lost in, and yes I really was drinking in all the 'stuff' but I couldn't tell John, I felt it would let him down somehow. The next thing I know, I was awakened from my million mile away dreams by a big nasty hairy hand on my shoulder 'Do you know this young man' the gorilla in a uniform asked?'pointing to John with his other ape like hand, 'Yes Yes ' I stuttered. 'Come along with me sonny' the ape barked(O.K. I'm not sure apes bark, but you know what I mean) We were led to a small stale cream coloured room at the back of the store. Its at times like this that you really notice that one have a heart pumping away.Mine at this point was working overtime. The prime 'evil' asked us to empty our bags.THANK GOD IN HEAVEN, I didn't have any stolen goods from the boring educational book store.No pillage, haul, spoils, ill-gotten gains, pickings; informal swag. NOTHING...TOTALLY EMPTY HANDED....John on the other hand had enough literature to open a small library(a kind of Victoria and Albert bookstore 'EAST' East of London, that is...thats where we lived).I'm not sure I will ever forget the look on Johns face as they called his parents. I on the other hand felt pure and clean (maybe even a little smug with a pinch of innocent written beautifully across my stupid young face) and not really in the same league as John.I was a free man (boy).It was a long journey home I can tell you (and as you know, I am). I felt I should take some of the blame of my friends shoulders, but I couldn't. I didn't really steal things. I really didn't. Poor John, he didn't even want the stupid books.Why do we steal things we don't really want.Well, John, went on to steal many many more things ,and well, I just didn't ....until now.
Ever since I have been coming to Paris (22 years) I have had my eye (both of them in fact) on some really old beautiful gates (photo above) I fell in love with these gates from the moment I saw them. And who wouldn't.They are old, weathered and very very beautiful.The sad thing is ,that in there day they must have been very grand gates, to what was a very beautiful house.The house is long gone and the property has a nasty concrete block wall around it.But the splendid gates remain.....So what do I do? I walk past 'my' gates at least twice a week and wonder how I can remove them and install them in my posession .If I don't take them, they will just rot and fade away, like the house.I know it would be wrong to take them, because they do not belong to me, but if I just sit by (or in this case walk by) they will crumble and be gone forever.I think really hard about what to do. I think what would be the best situation for the gates and me.I think what would John have done.I think I know the answer.
So when is the last time you stole something?
GROIN UPDATE: (for those that care)