Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pondering the "Bad Apple" Theory.

I've spent practically all day today hanging out at the bridge run expo for the magazine, encouraging folks who walked by our booth to grab free issues, sign up for free subscriptions and enjoy our product.

Betwixt all my greeting and promoting, my phone died. (Surprise.) But since I carry my phone charger around with me at ALL times, I was prepared -- that is, until I realized how hard it is to find a plug inside the event hall of the Convention Center. I finally decided to hook my phone up in the bathroom. Then, I left it there.

"Where'd you plug your phone in?" inquired Cullen, one of my esteemed freelancers, who was helping me man the booth. When I told him, he was shocked I'd be so careless with my phone. In fact, he made me so paranoid that I went back and got my phone out of the bathroom.

"'Scuse me," I said to a few of the neighboring vendors, who were doling out bite-sized cookies, "but if you saw a phone charging in the restroom, would you steal it?"

"No, I wouldn't steal it," mused one girl thoughtfully. "But I wouldn't leave my phone in a bathroom either."

"So you think there's someone in this building -- i gestured around to the dorky-looking dads toting diaper bags, the moms in ponytails and the kids licking ice cream -- who would steal it?"

They nodded.

I asked a few other vendors, just for good measure. (And, because, as y'all know, I freaking love talking to strangers.) They all said pretty much the same thing.

"So, you don't think there's a chance we're in this building with nothing but good people?" I kept asking.

"No," they would all say. "There's always one bad person."

I find this information both interesting and disappointing. Perhaps, as a culture, we've been faced with too many tragedies to trust giant buildings full of people -- but if that is the case, why would we even be inside the Convention Center? Are our phones more valuable than our lives?

"I'm having quite the philosophical adventure," I told Cullen a while later, when I got back to our booth and explained to him what I'd just learned through the vendor grapevine.

He just shook his head at me. He's used to my antics. But it's like I said to the guy in the booth next to us: Writing is a dangerous profession. 90% of my inspiration comes from people. And you never know how people are going to interact with you.

Most of the time, I'm delighted at the kindness of strangers. Often enough, I suppose, that I'd consider leaving my phone unattended.

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  1. We are one in the same. I totally would have trusted humanity enough to leave my phone in the bathroom....depending on the setting. This sounds like it was pretty safe, though. Funny thought...miss that crazy brain!

  2. I miss you too! We gotta get drinks when you get back! ;)