I was trying to sleep, but I couldn’t. For some mysterious reason I was transported back to a day on the street, when my backpack was stolen. I’m in a house now, thank God. Now, what is a backpack? A couple of pieces of nylon stitched together. Throw in a couple of zippers and some straps and that is it. No big deal, right? What was in it? Some clothes, a couple of odds and ends and a pair of trekking boots, all second-hand. The whole deal was not worth a lot, in monetary value. Pity that the guy who took off with it did not realise that he ran away with my home.
Who the Ef steals a homeless person’s backpack? I’ll try to watch my language, but it will be hard. You see, every single item in there had been painstakingly chosen and served a specific purpose. Those were, in a very real sense, bare necessities, needed for survival on the street. Again, nothing really important or valuable to anybody but myself. Everything was worn and some of it was even dirty. So, why steal it?
Did a junky do it, who might have been able to flog it for just enough to get his next fix? That would not surprise me. If a newcomer to the street stole it, one who did not know yet that you can get most things you need, if you just ask, then at least it will have been put to good use. Not that I condone it! He could have asked me and I would have helped.
Many among you that read this will probably at some time or another have been robbed. It’s a plague these days. Or have you ever had your house broken into? Do you remember the outrage that you felt at the invasion of your privacy, quite apart from what was missing? Now, imagine coming to the place where you live and finding that the whole damn house and everything in it is gone. How do you think that feels? Can you conceive of the complete and utter rage you would experience? I went looking for my backpack in all the places, where I thought it could possibly show up. Thankfully for me and for him, I did not run into it and/or him. I was very far from being a happy chappy that day!
Luckily, the nice lady, who bought the backpack for me, had returned to Switzerland and I was spared the indignity of having to explain the loss to her. And in the weeks and months to come I would be repeatedly reminded of the theft, because whenever I needed a specific something I would know that yes I did have that, but no I did not have it anymore. Winter comes and I need decent footware. I had a lovely pair of trekking boots, which would have done admirably. I had to suffer cold until I could find or get another pair from somewhere. To top it off, they had been a gift from a now deceased friend, Rauli. To every item in that rucksack was attached a story and a lot of memories. All gone.
I had some sketches that I had made in there. Not art with a capital A, but still, I liked them. The sketch pad itself was a gift from an artist friend, who was not pleased, when I told him it had been stolen. Hey, just a load of junk, right? No big deal at all. What am I whining about, anyway? Not a lot, just some scattered remembrances. A-ny-way, I hope that my friends from the street can pass the wintertime under shelter. I miss ’em!