I'm up at 2:30 in the morning, tapping on my computer keys in a darkened room while my dog snores beside me. I found out today (or yesterday, if you're counting) that the credit cards I had stolen from my wallet in DC, and which I immediately cancelled, were used to clear out my checking account. If you're reading this, you bastard, I hope you know how much your actions have the power to hurt other people. I traveled to this conference to learn how to help people, how to bring money and education and health care to the vulnerable ones who need it most, and I'm repaid with scorn.
It's not a lot of money to most people, maybe. But two months' salary for me, and now I'm again left scrabbling, bootless, on a graveled cliff leading down to a ravine. Yes, I know generally these things get worked out. I hope and believe it will be--but in the meantime, how much time? How many hours spent on hold? How many calls to faceless bureaucrats? How much anxiety and stress and dependence on the kindness of strangers?
Another season, another disaster. I've canceled my last two bank accounts for fraud of exactly this sort--an online database hacked, a credit-card number stolen. It feels like life is this endless wrestle for simple boredom, for peace--for the storms to calm and for clear sailing across a pleasant patch of sea. There's always a sense of blaming the victim. Could I have done more? Of course. I could have backed up my hard drive in triplicate. I could have kept my purse closer. I could have set up a third bank account exclusively for this trip and only carried that card with me, in a money pocket hugging my skin.
But in truth, my only crime was eating lunch at a crowded tourist destination, for flashing my fancy computer in public and making someone believe I had more money than I do. I'm supposed to be blogging with answers to questions, rather than with questions themselves. But sometimes I don't have answers. Maybe never.
This, too, is a part of travel, if this is meant to be a travel blog. All travel involves risk. And not just literal travel but figurative--we're all journeying through life. It'd be easier, sure, to barricade ourselves inside of our houses and never step outdoors. Is the reward worth the risk? Often I believe yes. Some days I believe no.
Tonight, Mr. Rochester lost his eyesight. But he gets his Jane Eyre back. There's a time for weeping and a time for laughing. It'll cycle back around, I know, the meek shall inherit the earth, and it's just money, after all. But it feels like an endless battle, when the yoke is supposedly easy, and the burden allegedly light.