There comes a day in every thief’s career when he must consider hanging it up; packing in for good the black gloves, black turtleneck, and other really cool, dark-colored apparel to which he is sartorially inclined. For me that day was today, after forgetting to tell your mom I was borrowing her minivan, whereupon your stepdad Trevor called the cops, who arrested me immediately.
To be perfectly candid, I am in no way proud to have filched something as trivial as my sister’s 16-year-old Honda Odyssey out of her carport in Olney, Maryland. Though you might say that I’ve been on something of an odyssey of my own these past three decades.
I will ignore you rolling your eyes when I tell you there wasn’t a safe in Stuttgart that I didn’t crack. I summered in San Sebastian, where the yachts of Europe’s well-heeled jet-set became veritable oysters for my shucking. Verily, this was well before I became a 57-year-old man.
And I’m sure your stepdad says otherwise, but I wasn’t all alone when I did this. Not physically anyway. Emotionally, mentally, psychologically… No, not those either dipshit.
I don’t know why you are laughing and saying “sure man, okay” when I relate to you that I had stunning paramours in every major city in Europe. Let me refine that statement to be more accurate: every major city in Europe except Vienna, where I was always completely, hideously alone. And to answer your question, yes, I have a nickname for my black turtleneck. It’s “blackie.”
Okay, so the points you are bringing up now, like how I could have stolen fewer things over the course of my career while also developing meaningful, long-lasting relationships is definitely something I’ve thought of before, smartass.
Look, I’ve spent my life as a seasoned purloiner of all things portable. Instead of making eggs in the morning for my spouse, I’ve stolen from the prolific House of Faberge. In lieu of dancing an elegant waltz, holding on to my lifelong partner’s familiar shoulders, I’ve done the daily tango of being Interpol’s most wanted man. Engaged? How about engaged in international intrigue! Why go through the effort of changing diapers when you can effortlessly taunt police inspectors with a recently used ashtray, in a plush hotel suite overlooking the Seine, while I am in a suite on the other side of the Seine, cackling to myself with no one else at all by my side, in no way ugly-crying that I’m in Paris and not in love.
Do I value anything aside from inanimate objects? Okay, so it’s clear that you haven’t read your Hegel, which I did from a rental car while staking out a small castle outside Dubrovnik for three straight weeks. If you had, you would know that to have a family is to agree to take part in an ethical life—and scaling a wall built during the Crusades after this rich dude drives his kids to school is hardly what I would call an ethical life—it’s more like a still life of sorrow and lament—a Cezanne of rotting grapes on the vine—which I stole from a man who loves his beautiful Croatian family!
I guess maybe I’m just not getting through to you about how great my life is. While you do a 9-to-5 and after work, meet your girlfriend for a romantic dinner, I’ll be comfortably retired in Monte Carlo, living out the rest of my days playing baccarat with soused contessas and not ruefully contemplating my own waning mortality.
And before you ask, I unfortunately will not be able to attend your wedding as I will be overseeing renovations to my private villa on Lake Como; I plan to have no dependencies whatsoever aside from a cellar full of fine Italian reds.
If that’s too far to come and visit, how about my third and actual current residence, in Gaithersburg, where I am altogether unaccompanied in a townhouse adjacent to what I consider to be an above-average teaching hospital. You, your wife, and your three cherub-faced children can come visit me there, if it’s more convenient for your family than holidaying on The Continent. Also, it’s a 12-minute bus ride from your mom’s house.
By the way, I meant to ask, can I borrow your bike?