The big news of the week was supposed to be me publishing my first novel, The Changelings, in paperback form for the first time and offering the digital free on Kindle for a limited amount of time. (Today is actually the last day the Kindle version is free; after that, it goes back to its regular price.)
Unfortunately, the news changed on Thursday when my brand new iPad Air was stolen.
It happened like this: every Thursday, I volunteer at the Brea Library Bookstore, which means I set up a table, pull out the carts filled with books, and collect money from sales--all of which helps the library buy new books and run fun summer programs for kids. It gives me lots of free time, and this week, as I sat at the card table, I jotted down scenes for a new chapter of The Originals, my sequel to The Changelings. I didn't type it, thank God; for some reason, I had decided to hand-write it in a notebook. But I did have my ipad out, in order to read earlier notes and check things from the previous chapter.
At 5:48, I glanced at my ipad and thought, Well, time to close up the store. So I deserted my card table to fulfill my normal tasks of making change for the next volunteer and wheeling in the carts. I thought I put my ipad in my purse, mostly because, as I folded up the table, I noticed it wasn't there. However, when I went to look in my purse, it wasn't there. Everything else was: my wallet, my phone, my notebooks. No money was stolen. Just my ipad.
Maybe I absent-mindedly put it on a cart or on the bookshelf, I thought. It was a stretch, but I tried taking the carts out. Nothing. I even asked the librarians, but they didn't see my ipad magically floating around. I filled in a report at the police station--which, by the way, is in the same building complex as the library. The actual building was closed, but the call box was on, and I gave my complaint to the lady on the other end and, after waiting for about 40 minutes, a policeman came to file a report.
By this time, I was a little pissed, very annoyed, and weirdly fascinated. That's the writer in me. Every time I find myself in a new situation, I find myself making a mental log of details. I'd never interacted with the police before, not like this. I noticed the officer used his badge to open the door to the police box. I noticed he was young--I wondered if he was younger than me, a comparison which only made me feel old. He wrote in pencil, and that he asked me if I knew the day's date. He'd never been to the library, even though it was just around the corner, because worked the night shift when it was closed.
I learned many things that day. I learned that nobody knows who runs the security cameras in the building and that the bathrooms at the Brea Civic Center do get locked sometime before 7:30, which sucked since I hadn't used them since about 3:00 and I had to walk home. Oh, and apparently, the library does have lockers for its volunteers.
Now that it's all said and done, I just feel embarassed and a little bit sad. On the one hand, it's just an ipad. Most of my writing, the only thing I had of value on there, is backed up, either on the cloud or through email or on hard drive. I have this 5-year-old laptop I'm typing on now and my 4-year-old ipad 1, which will work in a pinch, even if half the Apps won't work on the outdated software and my documents keep crashing. I'm not without resources. But it was a birthday present from my dad, and that makes me sad, and it was a big investment of money (of which I have precious little), and that makes me sad.
And we live in a society where we have to assume that if you leave valuables unattended for a moment, they will be stolen, and that makes me sad. I've actually been volunteering at the library for three years and this is the first time I've had anything stolen, so on the whole, people are pretty trustworthy. That's probably why I let my guard down--because nothing had happened. And now I feel like a naive fool, like I'm going to be chided for not taking care of my things, like I'm going to be the cautionary tale for the library's volunteers.
So that's it, unless I recover my ipad, which I sort of doubt. Sorry this is so long. I just had to get it off my chest.