My house got robbed. It was an adventure!
On Friday night I rocked up to my front door at around midnight. Walking my bike up the footpath to my front porch, I got a bit distracted by a light left on in the house, but there’s a fair bit of traffic coming through my house from day to day so it’s not an aberration for lights to be left on accidentally. As I sometimes have the attention span of a five-year-old riding a pony with a balloon in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other, I was distracted from the lights by a rather sizable web that had been built across my verandah by a huntsman spider (who packed up in the frenzy of post-robbery recovery and moved itself to the power lines above the footpath). I headed into the house to get my camera so I could take pictures of the spider and any possibly dead things which were caught in its web – right through the front door which I hadn’t had to unlock myself. The front loungeroom was torn apart – cushions pulled off of couches, cabinets and shelves stripped of the objects they stored, drawers open and their contents spilled out onto the floor. My first four thoughts were as follows:
1. I have an enemy I don’t know about and s/he is looking for incriminating documents (of which I have many).
2. Richard left the lights on…and accidentally overturned everything else in the house.
3. There was an earthquake.
4. Somebody I know knows where I live and came and took my stuff.
It did not occur to me that perhaps I had been randomly robbed. Most of this was probably because my computer was still on my desk, the only thing in the room that was still in its right place. Someone (a conscientious, considerate robber) must have known that I spend more time with my computer than with any other person or activity in my life and that to lose it would be a small death.
But mostly it was just cos they saw the camera, took it, and bolted. In a move of underdog bravery, the camera sacrificed itself for the better good. My stuff acts in solidarity.
So of course there was the frantic calling of friends whilst standing alone on the street across from the park spinning round in circles so that no one could take me by surprise and steal me too. And then friends showing up and letting me talk rapidly and nervously and make bad jokes to distract myself from feeling violated and sick and other such things. And then police showing up and being tall and lovely and looking through the house to make sure it hadn’t suddenly turned into a junkie squat. And then Ilana riding her bike from St Kilda and being disappointed that she hadn’t beaten the police to the task of securing the premises. And then a big fucken photo shoot of my robbedness.
Good times were had by all. Including the cop who came to photograph the scene of the crime – he didn’t so much care for my cabinet of sex toys which had been opened and ransacked, and chose to close the top door of the cabinet for his photos. I suppose he found the sparkly pink dildos to be extraneous to the required evidence.
I am an avid nester and my relationships to domesticity are very active and intentional constructions. My current abode was the thing that started to make me feel rooted here in Australia, that gave me some consistency and some personal connection to space. That was really safe for me, and nothing ever really called me to question that feeling of security until someone kicked open the door and made off with something shiny. It’s amazing how much that changed my relationship to the space – I felt completely alienated from all of the familiar routes and habits I made through that house over the last few months when I finally went in to check out the ruckus.
As much as we want to separate the private from the public by building walls and delineating spaces, those boundaries are arbitrary and penetrable. While of course I’m going to continue to try to develop my relationship to that space – even photographing and cleaning up the whole ordeal adusted my sense of what had gone on – I think I’ll have greater consideration for the fact that walls are built and taken down everywhere, all the time, and that the value I assign to my personal space does not necessarily apply to the reality of kicked-in doors or broken windows.
My current four thoughts are as follows:
1. I feel blind without my camera. Abby Winters, here I come.
2. I need some curtains.
3. There was an earthquake.
4. ‘Domestic’ is not tantamount to ‘safe’. But most of the time, it’s damned close.