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20 things I’ve stolen

  1. I took an extra napkin from a Taco Bell for unspecified use “later.”

  2. I sat on a bench on a hot day, enjoying the breeze as the man next to me fanned himself.

  3. I read the headlines of a newspaper that was for sale in a kiosk box.

  4. I divided a single-serving DingDong in two, and had it for dessert on two consecutive days.

  5. I listened all the way through to a Metallica song emanating from my neighbor’s radio, but closed my window when the commercial came on.

  6. I remembered the movie times in my newspaper from the day before so I wouldn’t have to buy a copy of the paper today.

  7. When a friend’s cat chose my lap to sit in, I petted it, precisely to discourage it from moving to the lap of its rightful owner.

  8. I said “What a long, strange trip it’s been” without air quotes.

  9. On the Amtrak “quiet car,” I listened to a man in the seat ahead of me explaining to the bored woman next to him how he gets such a great shine on his shoes. I have since used his technique, successfully.

  10. I have stared carefully at reproductions of great paintings.

  11. I asked for and received a “tasting spoon” of mint pistachio ice cream, anticipating, correctly, that I would not like it.

  12. I smelled the aromatherapy candles through their wrappings at the Stop ‘n’ Shop.

  13. Frequently have I browsed stores with absolutely no intent to purchase. On some such occasions, I have felt fabrics I did not intend to buy.

  14. I placed a bag on the seat next to me on the subway.

  15. I continued to wear in public running shoes after the Nike “swoosh” wore off.

  16. In a Italian restaurant, I entered their “win a free lunch” contest by putting into the jar a business card from a job I had recently left, with my new phone number written in by hand.

  17. I have retold the joke about the man who meets a pirate in a bar without ever once explicitly acknowledging that I was not its author.

  18. I gazed with lust at another man’s bikini-clad wife.

  19. I deeply inhaled the smell of popcorn in a movie theater, but I did not buy any.

  20. One late summer evening, I purposefully and with intent committed to memory the purple of the clouds. That I still remember the edge of the chill was unpremeditated, however.

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