Confessions of an Accidental Thief

The other night Drew and I were cuddling before bed. Somehow the conversation drifted to the types of soda we drank growing up and the silly things we did when the adults weren’t looking. In the wink of an eye I was little again.

Laramie, 1991. For the past year my family has lived in a trailer park. My favourite things about the neighbourhood are the indoor pool and recreation centre. To an eight-year-old there’s nothing better than spending an afternoon swimming or playing foosball in the rec room. When I have spare change I occasionally use it to buy soda or candy at the vending machines.

One day while I’m waiting for a friend alone by the pop machines I decide to play with the buttons on it. It’s fun to imagine that each button makes a different noise (although they don’t) and in my head I hear the ghost of a tune.

And then an orange soda tumbles out of the machine. I stop playing with the buttons and furtively look around. I don’t have any money with me and was not expecting this to happen. How am I supposed to pay for little metal can that wasn’t meant to be released?

There are no grown-ups around to tell me what to do and I have no idea how to find the adults who service the machines. Finally I decide to drink the soda as penance. I dislike the flavour but somehow it seems worse to let it go to waste. I never play with the pop machines again and for years feel a tinge of guilt for “stealing.”

Toronto, 2012. Drew laughs as I finish my tale. He grew up with kids who also figured out how to get free stuff from vending machines but he’s never known anyone who felt bad about it.

It’s funny to think about how early our personalities are fixed. 20+ years later I remain cautious about these things and still worry about taking more than my fair share…even accidentally.


Does anyone actually like orange soda? 😛

What childhood memory reminds you of a personality trait that you carried with you to adulthood?


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0 Responses to Confessions of an Accidental Thief

  1. tammy

    Very first memory: I’m 3, Rick is about 9 months. He is swinging a large plastic spoon at the toybox. I feel threatened (even though I remember thinking that he meant no harm) so I go play in another room.

    I still like to avoid fights, and just get along. With as much distance between the disagreeing parties as necessary.

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