Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stealing

i was participating in a sport-camp, (i was between 8 and 10) together with a friend from my class, and one day we had an event at a school, where everyone was playing outside and someone had left her bag somewhere on the floor near a wall while playing - so me and the other guys, we were 3 or 4, were curious and saw an opportunity to simply take the bag and look what was inside; there was money in it and we took it - so we basically stole from another child

this was very exciting to us, to share this secret crime - like: wow, i cannot believe we did this!

So, another day - or was it the same day? - at the same location, same scenario. We noticed again a bag lying there, again near a wall, while everyone was busy playing. its interesting, because there was no need for money, to steal it, - or was there? i don't remember if i had pocket-money, but i don't think so - i just had my food and drinks from home, which i perceived as being less fortunate than the kids who actually received money from their parents. Anyways, we got greedy and went for the bag - though, this time we got caught: the bag was a trap - it was placed there on purpose as 'bait'. So we bit.

We were brought before the adults that were responsible - i had great fear, and was looking for possible lies i could tell to denie i had taken the monay from the previous bag, for which they had no actual proof - though my schoolfriend stupidly said: 'i didn't take the money - and i don't care about it, so here you can have my money.' Obviosuly the teacher/adult asked: 'then why do you offer to give your money?' - I was like: damn, now we're fucked and realised i could not avoid the consequences - mostly i feared my parents being told i had stolen something (imagine: their son already engaging in criminal activity! - that would have been beyond the 'bad' things i did at home for which i would receive very harsh punishments.) But 'fortunately for me' they didn't tell our parents - but the kids that had set up the trap kept keeping an eye on us as those that could not be trusted, and gave us meaningfull looks as we would arrive in the mornings at sports-camp: this was particularly painfull, and allmost a reason to not come anymore - suddenly being the 'scum' - it was interesting to expereince, because being 'the bad guy' didn't fit with my self-image very well - i was like: stop rubbing it in my face, can we please forget and pretend nothing happened? the shame-expereince was interesting: i wasn't feeling shame about what i had done, but because of how people saw me - if i would have gotten away with it, i would have seen the act as completely justified and a great expereince

don't remember what happened afterwards

i did experience myself as less than other children when it came to money (second time i write 'moeny') - not having money to spend, even though my needs were taken care of, i could not buy the extra's the others had acces to and felt less than - allmost like an experience of 'poverty'. This was simply because this was the regime at home: you don't give money easily to a child, even though my parents certainly never had financial problems and were actually just as elite as any middle-class. 'A child cannot handle money.' so if there was no explicit nessecity for me to need money ('because our parents provided us everything'), there was no reason to give me any. So this explains my curiosity towards money - i don't remember when exactly but at one point we started receiving 'our sunday': a very small amount of pieces (20 franks) which we were allowed to save - i asked for this because i saw it on television, that it existed, so therefore i asked my mom, if we could have the same system at home - so from then on we each had our 'spaarpot' (savings-pot) in which we collected our weekly coins. It took years before the amount of money saved in this way amounted to anything: after two years, i had maybe 1000 or 2000 franks of my own, which i probably spend on toys if on anything, but i remember being extremely cautious on how and if i will spend this moeny (!) because of how extremely long it had taken me to save that amount of money (for a working adult it takes perhaps 4-7 hours labour to collect this sum, if they have the minimum wage).

i also remember running upstairs before i would go to art-class in the weekends, to put some coins into a pocket in my hat, with which i would buy a little bag of chips. So, one day while leaving the house with my father, my hat fell of my head or something and the coins rolled out - because i felt i needed to hide the fact i was spening the 'precious money i was given' on bags of chips, as if the money wasn't really my own - this i also expereinced when being in zwitserland - i wrote about this in a blogpost a while back ( http://gabrielietsanders.blogspot.com/2 ... ained.html ) - where i was for the first time in my life trusted with a considerable amount of money (swiss franks) - becasue parents were advised to give a minimum sum of money to the chidren.

It was known that eventually at the end of our stay we would be allowed to visit a swiss shop to 'spend our money' - and everyone did indeed spend all their money, - but i didn't buy one thing for myself, because of feeling it wasn't really my mondy (!!) to spend, only buying stuff for my family, and then 'bragging' about what a good person i was, because look, i placed others before me. So - i spend the money, because i felt i had to and becuse i knew i couldnt keep it anyways on return, so i bought some stuff for the family and gave back the spare swiss franks to my parents.

This remins me of the bible-story of the merchant and his three sons - where each son is given 'talents' (money). One son receives 1 talent, the others one 2, the third one 3. Then the merchant leaves them and asks to be given the talents back upon return. The sons who received the 2 and 3 talents invested those in a bussyness-like manner and made profit seperately. The son with the one talent burried his one talent in fear of wasting it, to ensure he would be able to return the money.
Upon return the merchant is given the talents back he gave to the suns, plus the profit they made on it - and he speaks good words of these suns who invested their talents and made profit. The one sun who 'humbly' returns the one talent he burried - is judged in the story as being the stagnant one, who didn't dare to take a risk and who actually acted out of self-interest.

To me this 'morality' - when hearing this story - was like 'backwards'. I didn't relate at all: to me the self-interest was in those who had risked to lose all the money that was not theirs, through investing it in bussyness. To me, the one who burried his talent, was the one making the right/responsible descision.

ok - dinner time