Saturday, October 10, 2009

Acrobatic Vandalism At The Halfway Point

(Note: This blog WOULD have ordinarily been published last night (Saturday morning, for you guys) right after I wrote it, but as you will soon find out, that was an impossibility...and I now find myself at an Internet cafe across from campus 1, sharing last night's escapade with you all...)

Seven weeks ago today, amongst the spectacular staff of Singapore Airlines, I left for Vietnam. Seven weeks from now, my semester here will be complete, and I will be free to travel home or continue to frolick through Asia if I so desire to. And about one hundred and seventy minutes ago, on this otherwise really good Saturday in Can Tho, I came home to find that my laptop had been stolen.

I took all the necessary precautions that I always take before leaving the house for dinner: made sure that the door was slammed shut, and also secured the extra "cautionary" lock through the two tiny metal loops, bolted into both of my front doors, about a centimeter away from one another. Apparently, though, these measures of safety were not enough, because my beautiful, two-month-old SONY Vaio laptop was swiped clean from the living room desk (along with the $30 charger I purchased four days ago, as the original had been destroyed in last week's flood) without any sign of resistance or struggle.

The part that's unsettling and mind-boggling is trying to figure out how this thief made his/her way into my home. There are only two possible conclusions that one can come to: (a) either the cleaning lady, who's the only other person on campus 1 to possess a set of keys to House 6 besides Christine and myself, is the culprit or (b) the @$$hole came in through the bathroom ceiling, located on the second floor of my condo...

There are no windows in this lavatory; just barely enough room to fit myself and the toilet. It's a very narrow space, about fifteen feet high, four feet long and two feet wide, adorned with ugly, chipped white tiling that runs about one-third the way up the walls and the rest is covered in poorly-applied sky blue paint. At the ceiling, there is a one by one and a half foot opening. Don't ask me where it leads, because I couldn't tell you; all I know is that when I wake up in the morning and relieve myself of all the previous day's liquids, I am greeted with a most unpleasantly warm wind, cruelly smacking me across the face, as if my first alarm clock didn't accomplish the impressive task of getting my lazy bum out of bed. So, conclusion: this mysterious hole leads to the outside world, and is thus a welcoming entrance for a tiny, acrobatic Vietnamese man (or woman) whose tricks and trades of making his way through this impossibly small orifice would probably impress even that of a well-trained Wringling Brothers circus monkey.

I contacted Chi, the head of the English department, and informed her of the crisis at hand (my Dutch neighbor had also left his laptop on my kitchen table, so there was not one but two thousand-dollar pieces of equipment now missing.) Chi was extremely apologetic and said she'd be right over. Within half an hour, there were five uniformed policemen, one professor from the English department and Chi searching frantically through my house like scavengers, as perplexed and upset by the situation as I was, but just as unsucessful in discovering any clues. After an hour of watching the policemen and Chi converse in a language that I couldn't understand, I was ready to crack open a Tiger. And that's exactly what I did (plus several more) once they all left.

I'm mad at this person for not only stealing my most prized possession, but because he/she has stolen something else from me: memories. Pictures that I didn't publish on Facebook, sentimental text messages from someone who I'll leave nameless that I didn't back up on my hard drive. Pieces of my past that I can never retrieve, beause this son of a you-know-what thought my laptop would be much better off sold on the Black Market - come to think of it, it's probably already started its long, bumpy journey to Saigon on the back of some '95 Ford pick-up amongst squaking chickens and freshly cut purple livers on ice.

Dear laptop,

I know we only had the pleasure of knowing each other for two months, but that time spent together was precious to me. You were there for me when I needed you most, and I was there to chase the little bugs out from under your keys with my ball point pen, and squish mosquitoes to death on your black screen. I'm sorry I wasn't a better friend and couldn't have saved you from a hellish fate, but please know that you will be missed...and if I'm ever sitting on the bowl in the future and happen to look upward, spotting the peeking, black-hair'ed head of this sneaky, acrobatic vandal, I will be sure to flip him/her the bird in remembrance of you...R.I.P.

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