Is there a fun kind of lying awake?
Is there a way of posting any lucid thoughts when you are seriously sleep-deprived and you are weaning your baby, which has you lopsided physically and emotionally?
A thief broke into my neighbor's house a week ago, while she was away. They took a bunch of stuff and then moved on to the next house, the house behind my house. There, they were surprised and chased off by a guest who was sleeping in the living room. The guest was too disoriented for pursuit, but he probably saved my friend's house from being ransacked, since she was also out of town.
It did not escape our notice that both of the people who were robbed or had a robbery attempt made on them, were out of town.
I went through the seventeen stages of post-robbery trauma, admittedly in proxy, since I wasn't actually robbed: curdling stomach juices, adrenaline, fear, apathy, anger, betrayal, ice-cream cravings, acceptance, squinty-eyed looks at all the men of a certain age who might have run off with a pocketful of money, the cessation of the squinty-eyed looks, returning to saying hi cheerily to everyone, and gossip. Well, it's not really gossip, but I spoke a lot with my Goan neighbor, Maria, about it. Since she knows almost no English and I know only a few words (and counting!) of Konkani, our discussions are very limited. We click our tongues a lot, and shake our heads. "This man is very bad," I say, and she shakes her head. "This no good," she says. "This first time. This seven years foreigners coming, no thief." And we click our tongues and shake our heads.
Then, last night when I was up with the boy in my house who has never slept through the night and hopefully will before he ages even one more month, there was another robbery.
I heard shouting, and then I saw running, and there were flashlights, and more shouting, and more running, and pretty soon all the neighbors were gathering on the road and in front of my house. There was a lot of yelling, and a description from the old man who had seen the thieves and shouted first, and then a repeat description, and then lots of questions about which way they ran, and then their route was described a few hundred times. Then real progress! In their flight they had dropped the laptop that they stole! And also, they had left their shoes behind.
Lots more shouting. Finally, I toddled back to bed. It was about 3:00 in the morning. Did I mention that I am on single-parent duty for the next couple of weeks?
We have changed the locks on our doors.
I was so shocked after the first theft. And then I wondered why I was so shocked. As though I don't know that the world is full of grasping, full of people with less, people with a broken conscience, people who need drugs, people who will steal tools from a non-profit organization, people who will walk away with the guitar of someone who tried to help them. Last night I was shocked at the thief's boldness in coming back to the same place, and walking into a house with people in it, but more, I noticed how the whole thing was bringing the light into sharper relief.
There is a great decency in this village. Everyone expresses concern, people have been in tears because this has happened here. And then, in the middle of the night, the people in the area banded together to try and figure out what to do, to shout and race uselessly into the jungle, searching, to commiserate, to shake their heads and cluck, and to simply be together. It's the kind of thing they totally take for granted, but I don't, because it's not every place that has everyone from the elderly to the very young rushing towards the scene of the crime to do whatever they can to help. You more often find people retreating behind locked doors and watching behind their blinds as the police arrive.