You will likely never read this, but it's important to me to write it. Bear with me.
You are welcome to return my 5-year-old HP laptop with a pretty cool array of stickers on the lid, my Swiss Army nylon messenger-style carrying case, cords, pin drives, leather notepad, and my little Moleskine notebook full of journal entries and notes from my recent 30th wedding anniversary visit to Greece and England. I'd be most appreciative if you'd do this. Soon.
I imagine those items don't mean a thing to you. Likely, you just grabbed what you figured might be worth something after you broke out my VW's passenger-side door window. I imagine you threw whatever wasn't considered sellable in the trash somewhere. Too bad for you that I had my laptop locked and password-protected. And I immediately changed all passwords and deactivated any accounts you might have any remote possibility of accessing. But what was easy-come, easy-go junk to you meant something to me.
By the way, your petty crime has cost me upwards of $900 (so far) to cover an insurance deductible and the cost of replacing the car window (which did not meet my car insurance deductible). You are indebted to me for that. But you also have cost me quite a bit of time, lost work, and emotional energy. You are indebted to me for these, too. What took you 15 seconds to steal has taken me days to recover--and I'm still not back to square one.
While I had most of my computer work backed up to an external hard drive, my most recent and open projects were lost. I was thinking about this as I carefully reconstructed a time-sensitive project today at work. I made the project better than ever just to spite you. But you don't care about any of that.
Really, of all that you stole, I will be able to recover most of it and your act of vandalism will soon be nothing but a footnote of mild grief. I'll move on.
And you? Will you just move on? Or, will what you've done eventually haunt you? Whenever I've done something wrong, it bothers my conscience and I usually come clean in confession and, whenever possible, restitution. I know what it means to feel the weight of guilt, I know what it means to be forgiven, and I know what it means to make things right in restitution. I hope you find that--sooner than later.
Only one thing of mine you took that I cannot recover. My little black Moleskine notebook had precious things in it I will not be able to recover. It had ideas. It had insights. It had reflections. It had simple notes and prompts to myself. It had four pages on which I wrote about walking through the ancient Agora in Athens, Greece. It had several pages of reflections from my experience of being on the streets amid the Greek protests in Athens on October 20th and of talking with protesters at St. Paul's Cathedral in London a few days later. It had three pages in reflection on visiting the home of 18th-century reformer John Wesley on New Road in London. It had a few drawings. It contained several poems I was working on (or that were working on me). Even at that, my notebook wasn't even half full. All that's stuff I can't reconstruct or recover.
So, again, if you should read this and if, per chance, you still have my little black notebook lying around somewhere, I'd appreciate you returning it.
I don't know what will happen to you. I filed a police report. The laptop serial number is in their files. I suppose if you were careless or sloppy or novice in your thievery, law enforcement authorities will nab you sooner or later. Though, I'm not sure they take this level of crime very seriously. If they do find you and if you're interested in talking, I'd like that. Contact me.
Whatever happens in the days ahead, I have a suggestion for something you can do with your time (assuming you don't work and assuming you can read): Read my stuff--both what's in my Moleskine and whatever you might find on the laptop (should you somehow gain access to its contents). There's some pretty good stuff in there, if I do say so myself. Who knows what you might learn and use for your own benefit?
Well, that's about all I have to say for now. Gotta get back to recovering a bit more of what you stole. I hope you eventually recover whatever it is you lost that you are trying to get back by taking other people's stuff.
John Franklin Hay