Exploitation Depression

I was robbed yesterday. After a lovely birthday weekend getaway with my partner, we were on our way to our ferry in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and we were making good time, so we decided to stop and check out a little second-hand store I’d spotted a couple of days earlier. I should have known better when we parked around back (the only parking in the area) and it seemed we were parked in a residential driveway -one with trash all over and shady-looking people coming and going. But for some reason -maybe it’s because I try to see the good in people- I just assumed that there was lots of trash out back because the store must get a lot of donated goods and some are probably just crap… And those shady-looking characters? I just figured they were groundskeepers or janitorial staff or some sort of employees. It never struck me that the second-hand store was operating on the opposite side of a crack house.

When we entered the store, I asked the clerk if it was okay to park out back. She told me that it was no problem, and so we went ahead and browsed the store for 15 or 20 minutes. I ended up choosing just a couple small items and paid a total of $8.00 for my finds. ‘Score,’ I thought. ‘I’m so awesome at finding good deals and saving money.’ Little did I know at that moment that my $8.00 purchase was actually about to cost me hundreds of dollars and sink me into depression yet again.

When we returned to our car, my door was slightly ajar, even though I know we had locked the doors. My eyes darted from the door to the glove box, which was hanging open, and then my attention fell onto my laptop bag which had clearly been rifled through. I started to panic and my heart jumped into my throat. I threw the door open and checked underneath my bag, where I had hidden my iPod from view. The auxiliary cable was limp on the floor… My i Pod was gone. Luckily I had made a last-minute decision not to bring my laptop, so when I opened my bag I found everything in its place, (apparently thieves and crackheads have no use for calculators and algebra textbooks. Go figure). But my iPod! My $350 iPod! Mine! And now it’s in someone else’s hands, without my permission, and they will probably sell it for drug money ($20 maybe?) and they’ll get high and it will all be forgotten but I will still be without my iPod and will have to work approximately 15 hours to afford a new one… FIFTEEN HOURS! That’s what these lowlifes took from me. They sucked time out of my life; time that is the most precious commodity we have in this mortal world. Money is one thing, but I can never get back time that is lost, and I just lost an iPod AND 15 hours!

I was (and still am) devastated. I’ve been feeling depressed ever since it happened. It’s not so much that I no longer have my iPod, it’s that someone else just took it from me, as if they are entitled to what is mine and I am not; as if they have rights and I don’t. It was so frustrating to stand there like an idiot while the shop owner pounded on each of the three doors that guarded the crack shacks out back. A few people emerged from their dark, heavily-curtained holes. One girl was twitching and scratching profusely at her arms. Another man was rocking back and forth, stunned and stuttering. The third guy was yelling at the storekeeper. “You don’t know who did it! You can’t just start accusing us!”

I knew exactly who had done it, no question. It was the third guy -the one who was suddenly so defensive. He had been lurking outside when we first arrived, eyeing us up and down and glancing over at our car as we walked by him. Again, I blamed myself for my incredible naivety. I truly thought he was an honest guy who was probably just sizing us up to see who was parking in the driveway and making sure we weren’t leaving the premises to explore the town. Yes, I was that stupid. I was also stupid enough to leave something valuable in the car, even though I’ve had things stolen out of previous cars many times before. I took the time to hide my iPod, but not the time to unplug it and put it in my purse. I deserved this. I should have known better. I had made myself vulnerable and allowed myself to be exploited. That’s when the depression started.

I’m not depressed about losing my iPod, nor am I depressed to the point of suicide over something so trivial.I’m depressed that I live in a world where people take advantage of each other for their own selfish gain. I’m depressed that by having faith in people, I am the one who gets screwed. I’m depressed that I go to work and bust my ass, put on a happy face and kiss people’s asses just to make an honest buck, but others do nothing but sit on their ass and take advantage of good people who work hard for what they have. I’m depressed that I live in a world where everybody just seems to think of themselves rather than the good of their communities and fellow man.

My guard is back up now, and I am being incredibly hard on myself for not having prevented something that was so preventable. I am more determined than ever that I will not be taken advantage of again, but I know I cannot guarantee this. It all seems pointless. If I try to do the right thing and live lawfully and have faith in people, I get taken advantage of. But if I put my walls back up, trust no one and take advantage of people right back, my relationships will suffer and I will not be happy with who I am as a person. Incidents like this make me feel that I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. We live in a jungle where everybody is essentially out for their own best interests and their own survival, and if others have to suffer for it, tough luck. I don’t want to live in this world. I guess that’s the big reason why many people -including myself- get depressed and think of ending their life. Sometimes it seems that’s the only way out of a world where we are all at the mercy of being exploited by each other; trampled on; kicked around; disrespected. There are very few corners left on this planet where communities live in peace and everybody tries to love and look out for each other. I try to be optimistic, but as a realist, I know that we will never change our ways. It’s incredibly disheartening and it leaves me with little hope for this world. I am trying to look on the bright side and count my blessings, of which I have many. But sometimes all it takes is an incident like this to plunge me into depression once more and make me wonder, ‘what’s the point?’ You can work your whole life for something, and in an instant somebody else can just take it from you. The only thing that gets me through is the thought that someday I will move to one of these rare corners of the world where I can live the rest of my days in peace in a loving, caring community. One day I will escape the jungle.


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