When we drag ourselves into work, we are sometimes lulled into complacency since we often spend just as much time at the restaurant as we do at our home. It’s easy to look at our place of employment as a second home, albeit a dirty halfway house kind of home that we hate being at and can’t wait to escape. For four years I have worked at The Club and every day that I go in, I take my bag and deposit it in the coatroom. It’s where all the employees leave their belongings. It’s down the hallway from the restrooms but pretty much out of sight. During the summer months, the coatroom is non-occupied and it turns into a catch all for server uniforms, bags and random crap that has no other place to be stored. We put our things in there, turn out the light, shut the door and assume that no one will go into it. Well, last Wednesday night someone did go into it. A low-life thieving asshole went into that coat closet and rifled through bags and stole a wallet with $230, a set of blue-tooth speakers, three bottles of cologne and an iPad. That iPad belonged to me. The only thing that is in my hand more often than my iPad is vodka so it was a pretty traumatic experience for me. It’s like mourning the death of a loved one and going through the five stages of grief.
Denial: When Jose came back from the subway to tell us that he realized his wallet had been stolen, we all rushed downstairs to check on our things. “No, way did they take anything from my bag,” I thought as I bounded down the stairs. As soon as I flipped the light on, I saw my bag on the hanger, limp and open. I looked inside to see only leftover candy bar wrappers and an old dirty apron. My iPad had been stolen. I carried my bag upstairs, clutching it to to my chest as my mind raced trying to think of all the things on the iPad that were now in the hands of someone else. “I don’t need to change my passwords right now, we’ll find it. It’ll be okay,” I thought. I could not believe it. Over and over again, I looked in the bag thinking that maybe the iPad was in some mysterious pocket that I had never noticed before. Each time I looked, I was disappointed. I could not believe I had been a victim of crime.
Anger: “God dammit! Fuck! Shit! Are you freaking kidding me? This sucks!” We called the cops and two of them arrived half an hour later from the 13th Precinct. I swear to God one of them had jelly donut breath. Their apathy reminded me of myself when the day before someone ordered a salad that always comes with walnuts but she told me to make sure we didn’t accidentally switch the almonds for walnuts because she’s allergic to walnuts but not almonds. As Lorinda described the suspicious man she saw coming from the direction of the coatroom, the cops did not bother to write down her very detailed account. I wanted to cram a box of donuts down their throats, but not just any box of donuts; a donut box made of crushed glass that had no donuts in it. “No, of course I don’t know the serial number, officer. I don’t have it memorized.” They told me I could tell the detective the next day. When we went to the office to look at the surveillance video, we learned that no one had ever bothered to put a DVD in the machine to record. Cameras, cameras everywhere but not a one to record on. “God dammit! Fuck! Shit! Are you freaking kidding me? This sucks!”
Bargaining: Okay, if I get my iPad back I will never bring it to work with me again. True, we don’t really have any place to store our things and we were foolish to assume that simply putting them in an unlocked closet was safe enough, but I will never do it again, I promise. If I get my iPad back, I will stop watching porn on it and only go to websites that promote good family values, like Chick-fil-A or One Million Moms. I will use my iPad for good. If I get my iPad back, I will never again take a photo of my shift meal and post it on my Facebook page. (Okay, I will totally still do that because I get some busted ass shift meals and the world needs to see that shit.)
Depression: I spent 48 hours being sad. “Why me?” I proclaimed. “What did I ever do to deserve such bad karma?” (“Umm, you write a blog called The Bitchy Waiter and make fun of people behind their back,” said everyone.) I cried. Not only because I lost some things that I may never get back since I don’t know how the fucking iCloud works and the Lost My iPad app is kinda useless for a wi-fi device that is locked down, but because I felt so violated. It made me hate people even more which I did not think was possible. I felt so disillusioned. When I was 15 years old, our house was broken into. I’ll never forget what it felt like walking inside and seeing all of our closet doors and drawers open and then looking at the Christmas tree and seeing it barren. We had bought my mom a microwave oven for Christmas (hey, it was 1982 so it was a huge deal) and it was gone with all the other presents. I felt sick about it for weeks. I just couldn’t shake the feeling then and that’s how I felt again.
Acceptance: Okay, my iPad is gone. The police don’t give a shit about petty larceny even though petty larceny is for something that is worth less than $500 and my iPad was worth $600. I have to accept that those lazy fucks from the 13th Precinct are not going to do anything about it. “You have no witnesses, no suspects and no surveillance video, so the case is closed,” they told me when I called two days later to obtain a police report number. “But I have my serial number that I was supposed to give to a detective,” I protested. “You declined that opportunity on the night of the crime,” I was told. “I didn’t decline, I had to go home and find it.” “Well, the case is closed. If you see something in any surveillance video, call us and maybe we will reopen it.” I have to accept that I am responsible for looking at the surveillance video of the building next door. I have to accept that they are going to ignore the detailed description that Lorinda gave them of the suspect who was 5’9″, with dark hair, fit, wearing an olive colored t-shirt and blue jeans that she saw coming from the direction of the coat room at 11:04. I have to accept that the owner of The Club doesn’t care that he never supplied us with the lockers he once talked about getting and that “this is a lesson to us all to not leave valuables in an unsafe area.” My iPad is gone. It sucks but I accept it.
I feel a little better today than I did when it first happened. I will file an insurance claim and pay the deductible and buy a new iPad eventually. Some of you are probably saying I deserved to have it stolen for taking it to work, but I have to remind you that most of us in New York City do not have cars. When we leave our apartments in the morning, we take everything we will need for the rest of the day. We don’t have cars to leave our things in. I took my iPad to work with me because I used to use it on my 45 minute commute to and from work. I wrote on it or read the books I downloaded.
In the future, when I go to work my valuables will be kept under lock and key because there are people in this world who don’t care about other people’s belongings. They are horrible awful people and they suck. Some of those horrible awful people sneak into coatrooms and steal things, some of them own and operate clubs that servers work in and some of them are police officers at the 13th Precinct.