The right and wrong of it

I took a Celebrity bathrobe from the last cruise we were on.  I could make excuses about it, but I won’t insult you by pretending it was acceptable behavior.  I admit it outright and you may remember I have confessed before about other vacation pilfering (see That’s the Word on the Street) so that must add up to some kind of virtue.  The thing is, I would never STEAL anything, and that means within my definition of taking something that doesn’t belong to me.  The Celebrity robe BELONGED to me.  I wore it every day for a week in our stateroom and on the balcony, lounging around drinking coffee and watching cruise ship TV, even while reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, my vacation novel of choice.  So naturally when it came time to pack our bags, I folded my Celebrity robe and searched for a way to transport it home.

OSV:  I’m taking this robe.  Do you think it’s okay if I do that?

HUSBAND:  Are you asking me if I think it’s stealing?

OSV:  It isn’t, right?  This is an ALL INCLUSIVE cruise.  That’s what we paid for.  Wouldn’t this robe be considered included?  I mean we paid a premium to be on this ship.

HUSBAND:  We got a great deal.  It’s one of the cheapest vacations we’ve taken.

OSV:  If you think I should feel guilty, you’ll have to work harder than that.  Besides, we’ve totally overtipped the cabin steward.  He’ll never sell us out.

HUSBAND:  If you’re afraid of being caught, then you know exactly what you’re doing.

We studied each other across the neatly made bed with the ocean waves lapping in the background.

OSV:  Well, the thing is, I don’t have any room in my suitcase.  I bought all those gauzy cotton separates in Puerto Rico.  Can you put it in yours?

Here Husband looked at me with a full and exhausted knowledge of what he signed on for when he said “I do.”

HUSBAND:  Hand it over.

OSV:  If you get questioned at Customs I will totally support you and say you packed it under duress.

HUSBAND:  If the Customs Agent is married he won’t need an explanation.

There was this movie years ago with Lindsay Crouse called House of Games in which she played an uptight therapist who gets conned by Joe Mantegna, and after her initial fury at being a victim discovers the thrill of the con.  Up until meeting Mantegna’s grifter she always saw a clear definition between right and wrong.  But once the gate blew open there was no reining herself in.  The movie ends with her stealing an expensive trinket from the purse of a nearby diner in a restaurant, and the look on her face shows the feeling of forbidden pleasure that comes with defying the rules of accepted moral behavior.  I don’t know why I’m telling you this because it’s nothing like my situation.  The Crouse character stole from a person and I only take things from corporations.  And we all know that despite Governor Mitt Romney’s assertion, corporations are not people.  But perhaps I’m being too kind to myself.

Let me backtrack and confess I really did identify a little with Lindsay Crouse in the movie.  I have always been a very good girl.  I’ve taken care of more sick and dying loved ones in my life than most people, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t put my children’s welfare before my own.  I get up early to squeeze fresh orange juice for my husband and brew Starbucks coffee, and I always tell the cashier when I’ve been undercharged, unless she’s too busy texting.  I have very few secrets and none would qualify as scandalous.  In fact, I was probably one of the last seniors in my high school class to lose their virginity, waiting as I did until the summer after graduation so there would be no school hall gossip and to make sure it would be a memorable experience with a boy I really liked and respected.  My only regret is that there were other people in the tent.

right 1 celebrity
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