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Up until recently I’ve been relatively lucky in the arena of theft. As a long-time resident of a crime-filled city, I’ve had very few things stolen, but all of those instances have been within the last six months. I’ve had three sets of bike lights lifted, my car broken into twice, my bike stolen, my checking account drained, and my entire security deposit commandeered by my crappy ex-landlord. Ugh. And yet, I’ve experienced a tremendous amount of generosity in return that far exceeds what I’ve lost. I’ve gotten everything back somehow, and then some.

I’ve been trying to figure out the patterns. In some instances, what I get has been as a direct result of the things taken. When my bike was stolen, a guy I was dating custom built one to replace it. When my account was drained, friends came to the rescue, sweeping me away to dinner parties, fun evenings out, and even the beach. My bank replaced all of my money pretty quickly anyway. Partly I think I’m getting more because I’m better at asking for help than I used to be, but also fate seems to have steered me at the right time into a small minority of DC residents who are very generous, giving, and kind-hearted.

One of my friends said recently that mediocre people don’t exists in DC. People here are either incredibly wonderful, or really awful. I’m of a mind to agree. If I had to classify, I’d say a good 70% of the people here are utter D-bags, here to make money or a name for themselves, but the 30% who are awesome are really, really awesome, and they come to DC to make a difference, to change America for the better. A prime example, and by far the best gift I have received, is that of housing, the most sought-after commodity in the district. Good friends in my neighborhood are allowing me to sublet a room for almost nothing in order to save up for my next apartment. One of these friends is part of the DC “Burning” community; this refers to people who are part of the greater Burning Man culture. One of the nine principles burners live by is giving. What a difference that is making in my life. It’s truly a generous gift to let someone share your space.

All of my losses have resulted in gifts, and generous ones. Perhaps I needed to have things taken in order to remember how fortunate I’ve been, having kicked aside the gravel to find the diamonds hidden beneath. So thank you, friends. Thanks for the meals, the kindness, the housing, and thank you mostly for caring enough to make the bad seem like just a sidestep in a joyful life.

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