THE NOT-SO-FINE ART OF SHOPLIFTING

Yesterday started in much the same way that most of this past week started. I’ve been working in the city most of the day this past week, so I was lucky enough to join the morning workforce en route to New York City from my adopted corner of New Jersey.
First day, it was exciting. Second day, a little less exciting. Third day, three delays later, it already sucked. I’ve been taking the train to Newark, then transferring to a line that carries me to New York Penn Station. The ride’s not too bad in and of itself, but I’m quickly realizing how commuting is a vast waste of time for humanity. I’ve been lucky enough to work at home with only a few extended work-related trips a year for way too long, and this past week was my wake up call. It sucks! I’m not a morning newspaper reader, the train’s too loud to listen to my iPod without killing my ears, and I’m too groggy to want to read a book that early in the morning.
The job location is on Park Ave. South between 25th and 26th St. It’s a a 20-minute walk from NY Penn Station, and I’ve been trying to take different routes during each walk to and from the building. It’s kinda different to walk around the city as well. Most if not all of my time is usually on my bike, racing around without paying too much attention to my surroundings, but walking allows me to really get in and notice every subtle crack in the city’s wall. So I’ve been appreciating that aspect of this newfound daily commute. I’ve gone to three different delis for a bagel, three different Starbucks for coffee, and even found one street that seems to be THE place for buying large in-house potted plants in Manhattan.
I’m still bored though. The commute sucks, the job is a job, and I’ve basically relegated myself to accepting the fact that I’m entering into one small part of my life that’s necessary for the time being. Kinda like a hunting season verses a season of rest. Sometimes I get to kick back and do what I want, sometimes I have to “hunt.” Yeah, I know, bad analogy, bear with me, it gets more bearable. No, I’m not bear hunting.
So I’m owning up to being a responsible adult for the time being, it doesn’t mean I have to like it, or fall into some pre-ordained role of get up, commute, work, come home, drink beer and watch “Joey” on NBC. It means I can make my life fun and exhilarating in subtle new ways that aren’t expected of me, and so naturally, I’ve turned to shoplifting!
Remember those three Starbucks I mentioned visiting? Well, as it turns out, Starbucks doesn’t really seem to care enough to put cameras into any of their shops. Baristas also don’t care too much about what’s happening outside of the coffee bar when they’ve got a morning rush going on. (Like I said, I’ve been noticing new things.)
On my third day, I happened across a Starbucks at 6th Ave. and 30th St, or somewhere really close to that. The coffee bar is in the back of the store. Their product section is at the front of the store, near the door, 30 feet away from anyone working behind the coffee bar. The store was busy when I entered, but I bought a coffee and sat down in the corner, adjacent to a point of purchase display of 1 pound coffee bags. There was a New York Post on the table, and I thumbed through it haphazardly. Then I realized I was sitting with my back to about 75 1-pound bags of coffee, with nothing between me, the coffee and the door. I grabbed the Post, folded it around two bags of organic blend and walked out of the store acting like nothing had happened. I crossed 6th Ave. and continued on to work. When I got to work, I put the coffee in my bag and smirked inwardly.
Yes, I’m commuting to work, and yes, I’m dressing up early in the morning to go to work, and yes, I’m sitting in front of a computer all day and rushing to a train station so I can sit for another hour and a half, but at least I’m shoplifting somewhere there in the middle of this giant societal prescription. And man, that feels good….