Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Is It Really Stealing?

It's 2:30pm on Wednesday afternoon. My boss is out of the office today and I'm on my third cup of decaf Chai. The requisite International Coffees French Vanilla creamer and the two packets of Splenda in each cup have coated my tongue and my teeth. My eyelids start to droop.

Being on what I refer to as the "undiet", which means you listen to your body and eat what you want when you're hungry until you're satisfied, I decide that rather than eating some sugar laden snack that would only weigh me down more I would like to go for a walk.

Working in a building that is attached to one of the largest malls in the Portland Metro Area has it's advantages. One of which is easy access to Barnes & Noble. Whenever I'm craving creative impetus I head in their direction.

As I walk I promise myself that I will look at the writing journals. I know exactly where they are and walk directly to that section. Unfortunately, there is a waify librarianesque B&N employee with hippie roots lurking in front of the stand scanning all my precious magazines and literary journals.

I reach around her for the newest copy of TinHouse a local "quarterly which publishes fiction, poetry and essays by new and established writers." I browse through it briefly until a copy of Writer's Digest catches my eye. I decide to hold on to this gem as I look for more mental nourishment.

The employee is still scanning the magazines in my section so I decide to move to Current Events. There's a new issue of Utne. It's stories are intriguing, but not enough to spend the $5 it costs to actually buy the magazine and take it home to read it. I've only got $20 in my purse and I'm saving it for something really special.

Knowing Utne relatively well I begin my search for the free online access password. I find it within the first 20 pages and quickly commit it to memory. I put both magazines back and shuffle out of the store before anyone can catch on to what I've done. The sensors don't go off. No one comes running after me. I'm home free.

However, as I take my first step toward Old Navy to look for a new shirt for Tater it dawns on me that Utne is about social consciousness and responsible citizenship. That's what I like about it. I've even thought about trying to work there some day.

I decide not to compromise myself by using the password. Instead, I will try and remember the password until the next issue comes out and tell everyone because I think what they chose is funny, although it won't really be funny then. At least I'll get some use out of it that way.

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