identity-theftA few weeks back, it might even be a month now, a friend’s car was broken into. My backpack was inside of the car along with my old laptop, my Kindle, my iPod, my headphones and my writing notebook.

I would say that more than anything the writing notebook has cause me problems. There was no actual writing in the notebook, it was where I planned everything and the place where all of my notes from over the last two or two and a half years were contained. While the monetary value of the item itself was around twenty-five dollars (it was a nice fucking notebook) the item itself had value in that it was where a lot of my new ideas came into play and started out.

Some of the things I remember and some of them I have noted down somewhere else in an earlier version of the book or in word documents or even in little notes I made in my phone. But that notebook was more or less the central hub for all of that stuff. It was the main thing I used to plan stories out, diagram characters and dream up ideas.

Without it I’ve had to make some adjustments. It really took some time, because I felt like there was so much there I could have really used that just can’t be easily replaced. But there’s another way to look at all of this too. A lot of the ideas I had were stagnant. I hadn’t written a lot in a long time. When you go from throwing down one thousand words a day easily to doing none, something is taking place that you have to watch.

So the experience has changed a few of the things I do now. I don’t leave my laptop or backpack in the car unless I am right next to the car getting gas or something. Restaurants, stores, or whatever. Unless they can explain to me what will happen if my stuff is stolen in their parking lot (as in who will buy me a new one) I’m not leaving it in the car. The other things I have started doing is using a cloud based note taking service to keep all of my notes in. I chose Evernote because it had a free trial, but I’m sure that all of these kinds of things are mostly the same. I’m able to take notes and get to them from almost anywhere that I am now.

The last thing I am changing is the places I will go. I’m going to be more selective about the places I will go and while that might sounds like a strange thing to say it does have an effect on things. You pretty much walk around thinking “it won’t happen to me” but if you know there’s been trouble in a place before and you know that it could happen again, why expose yourself to it?

The holidays are especially bad for theft. The same night our stuff was stolen another person had their window busted out and their car broken into. Another friend of mine ordered a gift for her fiancée and the package was stolen after delivery. People feel the need to take things that don’t belong to them and they don’t care about the consequences for themselves (if they’re caught, which is doubtful) or others. 

I’d ask that everyone out there look out for yourself and your belongings. Make sure that you pay attention to your surroundings an be weary of dark parking lots and leaving your car in places that aren’t attended by security guards. It might be extra work to be vigilant, but it could save you from having to shell out a ton of money down the line.

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