A Thief, A Strip Club, and Socks

I chased down a thief the other day.

Let me lead with this quote by yours truly: “Apathy is the price-tag of safety at the cost of humanity.” Remember this.

A group of us were warming up for a workout outside of the gym when we heard shouting that a man had stolen from someone’s vehicle. I could hear the alarm, and I could see the man running away with something under his arm. He dashed across Midway at four in the afternoon.

Let me tell you something about Midway at four in the afternoon: it is deadly. Everyone’s blood pressure is at peak capacity while navigating the five lane highway that is in much need of repair.

I glanced around at the extremely in-shape and large men around me. Everyone apathetically watched the man get further away. I watched the men around me’s expressions before I said internally: “Oh okay, I guess it will be me.”

And I took off running after him. I didn’t run very quickly, because A) Midway at four in the afternoon and B) I’m nursing an Achilles injury. But still, I set off after this man in what can only be called a loping manner.

I made it across the street (praise to whatever you believe in above) to the strip club (99 cent wings on Thursdays!). There was a man standing outside watching the events take place. As he flicked his cigarette to the ground, he called out to me: “He went that way.” And he motioned around the back of the building. I know the parking lot has one entrance and one exit but there is a fence leading to a government owned parking lot directly behind it. The parking lot is empty, and I launched myself up over the fence to see if I could see him.

Some interjections here: I never felt in danger. Even though I was alone, this man looked like a coward. Not in the sense that every thief is a coward, because they are, but in the sense that he was running and actually scared. If he had walked away calmly, I would have said, “That man has a gun. Look at him go.” If he had acted deranged, I would have said, “That man is a psychotic drug addict. Look at him go.”

My original intent was to keep eyes on him until the cops arrived. I would stay far away but keep him in view. Imagine my surprise when I hop down from the fence and turn around to see him placing the package on the ground next to the car.

“Look, man, it’s right here. I’ll leave it here. It’s cool, man, it’s cool.”

At this point, I realize that some bloke from the gym had followed me along with one of the other women. Upon later discussion, they both said “Well, we couldn’t let you go off on your own to be murdered.” The man picks up the package while I have a slight argument with the thief because my adrenaline is meh, decently spiked.

“What the fuck, man. Why?”

“I just needed to get my baby brother a present for his birthday.”

Now I feel like an asshole.

“Well, that’s why you buy it! You don’t steal!”

He is rapidly walking away, and for some reason I am following him out of the parking lot, peeved at myself for running after someone who stole and who was making me feel like shit for lecturing him for stealing.

“I can’t believe you’d be against a present for a kid, man, what kind of woman are you?”

Oh, I dunno, dude, a 5’3” girl who just chased you down an alley for STEALING?!

Then I notice his waistband.

“Alright, dude, and the socks.”

“These are my socks.”

“Tucked into the front of your waistband with the tags still on them? Get the fuck out, man, give me the fucking socks.”

“My brother’s birthday!”

He was grumbling as he handed over the socks. Then he speed-walked away from there. He was in his mid forties.

Turns out? He stole from TJ Maxx. I can’t tell you how disappointed I would’ve been had I been murdered by a thief of the capitalist empire. I would’ve haunted that place so hard out of fury for my death over a pair of fancy socks and a kid’s remote controlled car.

But back to my quote. Think about it. I was the only one who ran after him. When I spoke to dozens of people afterwards, they all said about the same thing: “I dunno, man, not my problem.” Excuse me? Not your problem? Whatever happened to citizen’s arrest (Andy Griffith Show reference, FTW)? Whatever happened to upholding society for its betterment?! For its future?! WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO MEN TAKING OFF AFTER THE BAD GUY?! Give me all of your excuses about safety and I’ll leave you with that quote again.

“Apathy is the price-tag of safety at the cost of humanity.”

I understand that everyone is out to CYOA (cover your own ass), and “I’ve got kids!” but who DOESN’T have kids at this point? Jesus, none of the men standing around at the gym have kids. Maybe that’s why they don’t care about the edges of our society crumbling into an apathetic sea of selfishness.

I am so disappointed in the thief, in the men at my gym (not Dan and Liz, thanks for making sure I didn’t get murdered in an alleyway) for watching a small woman chase after a thief, and in myself for making sure TJ Maxx didn’t lose their profit margin and for not taking that man back to TJ Maxx and buying him the damn presents. Disappointment all around. Let’s all be better, shall we?

Fuck, dude, socks and an RC car?

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