I have never stolen anything. Okay, I take that back, or else I wouldn’t be writing this post. I have never stolen anything intentionally.
In elementary school, I remember my mom took me to the Dollar Store, and I found some toy ball. Five minutes down the road later, I realize I’m still holding said ball and immediately shout, “I took the ball!” My mom insisted we return to the store and return the ball. At least she believed me that I hadn’t tried to steal it. Which was true. I hadn’t.
I remember in high school some friends in my church youth group stole some things from Busch Gardens once. I felt deeply grieved and conflicted by these circumstances, both because of theft and because, hello, this was a church youth group outing. Where were our Christian values? Except I didn’t speak up. I was a Nicodemus (for my theologian readers).
Today, though, we need to discuss the sunglasses I may have stolen. You see, I’m just not sure if I did, and I want readers to let me know if I’m a thief or just a typical millennial opportunist.
I am a huge sunglass wearer. They are my aesthetic, I’ve realized. They’re even how I style my hair. Some people spend 30 minutes doing their hair. I spend 30 seconds and push my sunglasses up over whatever I’ve just styled. People have to remind me to take them off before I do Skype interviews.
For as much as I wear sunglasses, I’ve never invested in them. The most I spend is $15 at American Eagle, and that’s because there’s an established pair I really like there. Lately I’ve been into the ultraviolet lenses so people don’t know when I’m looking at them and I can take cool Instagrams of reflections in the lenses. It’s all about the ‘gram, you know!
Two months ago, my family took a trip to Scotland. At our departing airport, we had about three hours to hang out. I used the restroom and noticed by the sink a pair of sepia-lens, gold Ray-Ban aviators—which is, like, my ideal pair of glasses. No one else was at the sink. I looked around. Maybe they were on the commode. Very trusting they were.
I went on with my life. I grabbed dinner with my family. Twenty minutes before our flight took off, I returned to the bathroom. By the sink, the glasses remained. Hmm.
A year ago, my friend made a big deal that he snatched a pair of aviators from the private bathroom at his huge consulting firm job. He found them in the unisex bathroom and just took them. Cue a string of selfies featuring the snatched sunglasses (I use the word “snatched” to avoid the loaded term “stolen”).
Cut back to me in Dulles airport restroom: Do I take the sunglasses?
Well, surely someone else will take them if I don’t. They’ve been here three hours. Does the airport have lost and found? What if they left them on their layover? Which, surely, they did. They’re not going to fly back for aviators. They must assume they’re already gone. But they’re not gone. Do I take them?
Sunglasses in hand, I texted my friends what I had done. I figured I had twenty minutes before takeoff to revise my decision. Was a thief?
My one friend said to return them immediately. Find lost and found. But where is lost and found? Do airports have lost and found? Is that an assumed thing? Would the previous owner even contact lost and found? Would that help anyone?
My sunglass snatcher friend said, “Keep ‘em!”
My dad spotted me placing the sunglasses in my backpack. To be clear, I do not think he thinks or knows I took the aviators from the restroom. But my dad remarked: “I saw a pair of sunglasses in the bathroom. I think someone must’ve forgotten them.”
My brother piped up: “I saw that, too.”
“I didn’t see them,” I said as the rooster crowed.
“It’s bad luck,” my Negative Nancy friend texted.
“Well, we’re off to Scotland!” I thought.
I have to say, the sunglasses looked good on me. I told myself I wouldn’t wear them on the trip. I told myself I could return them when we passed through Dulles again on our return journey—if I felt guilty. Did I feel guilty? I’m writing this post so I guess I feel guilty.
However, I wore them almost every day of the trip starting on day three. My dad even commented they fit well on my face. “Did you buy them?” he asked.
Somehow, I avoided answering.
Back in Richmond, I continued wearing them to no reader’s surprise. Several friends commented. “When did you get Ray-Bans?”
I’m one of those people who always defers compliments and immediately screams the price so that others can follow my thrifting ways. “Free in the Dulles airport restroom!” I imagined saying.
Except I would say, “Thanks! I just got them. I didn’t buy them. Actually, I found them. In the bathroom. Of an airport. Do you think I should have returned them? Do you? But if you do, here are my counterarguments. What do you think about that, huh?”
Soon these sunglasses became known as my stolen sunglasses. I’m just not sure where that descriptor came from. I would be out with friends, and someone new would ask when I got Ray-Bans (!!), and a friend would shriek, “He stole them! I’m just kidding.”
But are you? Did I? Hmm?
While in Vancouver a month later, I took a series of selfies on top of a mountain featuring, you guessed it, my legally acquired sunglasses. (Right? It was legal?) Afterward, I flipped through my photos and realized the glasses were crooked on my face, practically ruining all the great shots of my jawline for my ex to pine over. Was this my penance?
The story drew to a close last week. While in the locker room at my local gym, I placed the glasses on a bench—and then I knocked them over. In one swoop, the right lenses shattered. The one with the Ray-Ban insignia! I briefly considered paying for a replacement lens, but they were stolen and crooked to begin with, so what was the point? And should I continue wearing an item that constantly reminds me of my sins on July 1, 2018 in the Dulles airport restroom?
No. So I’m back to wearing my non-stolen American Eagle Wayfarers.