Saturday, September 25, 2010

Susan's Shusho Blog: The Vacant House

I walk by an empty house on the street where I live. I know the house is empty because my friend moved out two weeks ago. I walk by and I am curious. I see some things resting on the window sill. I wonder if my friend left some things behind. I try the door and it is unlocked. I walk in. I see that the things on the window sill are model trains. I surmise that the landlord has found a place for his collection, now that the house is vacant.

I feel drawn to walk through the other rooms in the house. I see a new phone book on the kitchen table. I need a new phone book. I am a yellow pages junkie. Going on line is not nearly as compelling for me as "letting my fingers do the shopping." I pick up the phone book and I think I will take it with me. Then something happens. I am physically uncomfortable. The space is pressing in on me. I do not belong here. I walk out the door and down the street to my home. I leave the phone book behind.

Phone books, of course, are not considered valuable. What if there had been cash on the kitchen table, or a diamond ring? I would have gasped and I would have told the landlord. Of course I would not take something of value, but what is the principle here? I was tempted to take something that was not given . It is as simple as that. The value or lack of value of the phone book begs the question.

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