Friday, February 10, 2012

A Puzzle That Won't Be Fixed

This afternoon, I saw my life crash down around me
In the middle of the fabric section at Walmart.
Funny place to leave sharp shards of a life.
As I leaned down to pick them up,
Toss them into my bag,
I noticed the faces of my college friends in one,
My high school clique in another.
The generic face of someone I've never met,
Topped by strawberry blonde hair.
A glimmer of a bad date,
And another of a good date gone bad.
A mother who can (but won't) support her daughter.
A sliver of school drew blood from my fingertips
And tears from my eyes.
I had worked so hard to pick all those pieces up,
And put them back in the shape of my life,
But they kept slipping though my fingertips,
Slicing the flesh,
Before I could get them over my purse.
I finally realized I wouldn't get them all,
So I left some of the most unimportant pieces behind.
Now I'm sitting here at this desk,
Examining them.
Which ones fit where?
I can't seem to find the school piece,
But I'm sure I grabbed it.
And without that piece,
The piece with my friends evaporates.
The sharpest shard,
The one with my mother's face on it
Leaves no room for the school piece.
Some glass,
Like the large one with the generic face,
Seem to overlap much of the other pieces.
And then I saw the shape of my life:
A compass.
My compass is broken.
I've lost my direction.
I don't know how I've managed to get home;
Or is this my home?
It certainly feels more like a prison,
The screens on the windows acting as bars.
The piece that had been missing since before the break in the store
Now stares up at me,
Laughing as I grasp frantically at the pieces,
Cutting myself even more,
Just looking for that school.
He should be happy about that.
And then I see the needle.
The bent metal that reflects the familiar blonde hair and brown eyes.
The best friend long gone.
She smiles,
Nodding towards the piece that overlaps,
Then looking up toward the heavens,
And I get it...
I think.



There were two of them tonight. Two. And it wasn't even busy. So they screwed up my conversion. And on of them called me a bitch. Signs of shoplifting:

  1. Well, I won't tell you all of them, for those of you looking to get ideas. But I will tell you what got my attention tonight. The first girls had large, open bags.
  2. They also looked like they "shopped" at higher end stores, but they were looking in clearance for a gift. 
  3. When someone takes a certain number of clothes into the fitting room, then comes out with less than what they went in with.
Anyway, the first two exhibited the first two signs as well as others, the last one exhibited the third sign. While I followed the first  two around, they noticed that I was watching them, then went to the counter with an item, to do a price check, called me a bitch, and left without buying.
The second lady that came in was visibly upset, but she had some bags on her as well. She took six items into the fitting room, and came out with five, and gave me four. I checked her room for the last item, a pair of black sweatpants that I had set in there when I started the room for her. I asked her about them in a lower voice, like, "Hey, I noticed you didn't leave those pants in the room. Did they work out for you?"  She told me she had already put them back, and I told her that I didn't see her come out of the fitting room, but I must have missed it. She still told me she didn't have them, so I stopped asking, and continued following her. When the last customer had left, she pulled them out of her bag, along with the hanger, apologized several times, and gave them back. I told her that it was okay, that it "takes a lot to give things back." "I'll never come back," she said. She quickly exited the store without another word. She continued to look back to see if I was still watching her, and she looked remorseful, so I hope what I said and my trust in her to do the right thing had an effect on her.
The one thing that I wonder when shoplifters come in is do they steal because they need the clothing, or because they need something to pay the bills, or to trade for drugs? It's the same question that we asked at the service project that I went to to serve the homeless.The question was do panhandlers really need the money? So what if they need the drugs? That is what they need at the moment. Maybe they need to clothe their children. Maybe they need new, clean clothes for a job interview. Maybe they need a coat to stay warm.
Then I think about it some more. And there are agencies that help with those things. A person shouldn't have to resort to crime to make their lives work. And resorting to crime, often makes their lives worse, makes it harder to get a job.
Anyway... just my musings. Maybe that's something I can do with my life.