At BC it seems like people feel completely comfortable leaving their possessions unattended. Whether it’s in the library, the dining hall or even in Hillside, I feel like I’m always seeing abandoned laptops and neglected jackets. It’s weird to be living in a community in which nobody steals anything, but it’s even weirder that people feel completely safe leaving their stuff lying around. What’s going to happen when you leave the BC bubble? You have to wonder how many BC alumni leave their laptops unattended in their local Starbucks while they go to the bathroom and then are shocked when they find it’s been stolen. This would never happen in the Fitz 2 study lounge!!!
Occasionally I’ll go to my local Seven Eleven for a late night snack (2 glazed donuts shoved down my throat in rapid succession) and I’ll see that someone has left their car running outside. One of these days I’m going to climb right into one of those cars, drive it to a parking lot five blocks away and then just leave it there. I don’t want to damage it or even steal it. I just want to mess with whoever’s car it is, because you deserve to be messed with if you leave your car running outside a Seven Eleven.
Most people at BC are too smart to leave their car running outside a Seven Eleven. But they would probably do it if they thought that someone else would “watch it” for them while they ran inside. This phenomenon is completely inexplicable to me but also something that I find myself becoming a part of quite frequently: we fear that untrustworthy strangers will steal our worldly possessions, so we single out one stranger and deem him or her trustworthy enough to safeguard said possessions. In reality, the only thing keeping them from running off with all of our stuff is a completely meaningless and non-binding verbal agreement, an agreement that we somehow convince ourselves they aren’t going to break. In some bizarre attempt to heed our parents’ warnings that our things will be stolen if we leave them lying around, we ask someone else to watch them for us while we go peruse the snacks in the vending machine.
Someone just did it to me a second ago. Hey, uh, will you be here for a while? Do you think you could watch my stuff for a minute? I had no idea I looked so friendly. I’ve been perfecting my serial killer face for years, in hopes that I might prevent would-be mental patients from targeting me and talking to me on the subway for 8 stops. Clearly all my efforts have been for naught and I look like the kind of person you would trust to protect your 17-inch MacBook Pro from the hoards of kleptomaniacs who apparently frequent Corcoran Commons. You don’t know me! I could be a psychopath! I could have lampshades made out of human skin! It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it’s told.
Would you trust Buffalo Bill with your Tory Burch tote bag?
So how do you decide whom in the airport terminal (or cafeteria or coffee shop) will be the chosen one, the sentinel who will guard the hidden temple that is your Northface backpack? Easy: you look at their stuff. If they are wearing/carrying many of the same items as you, they will probably not want to steal yours. Essentially, you pick a person who looks like they go/went to BC. I do this. You do this. We all do this. There’s no moral to this story. I don’t think it’s reasonable to say that we should stop doing it. I just think that we should think about how weird and hilarious it is that we are happy to trust complete strangers with our things, solely based on their appearance and a non-binding verbal agreement. How do you know this person isn’t a total serial killer? Instead of watching your stuff they could take it all back to their basement murder chamber and just SMELL IT. Like, extensively. Who knows what could happen? Even Charles Manson was pretty cute in his youth. I guess what I’m saying is that strangers are strangers, regardless of how normal they look. We should probably just make the extra effort and carry our backpack to the bathroom.