Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Joseph Story

So I have a moral dilemma that keeps creeping up on me... I do not know if I handled the situation well or not. I do not know if I did the right thing... So here is the story:

A few years ago, I re-met a high school friend that introduced me to a new group of friends (all related through various.. party activities.. such as clubs and drugs).  In a time span of three months I visited a dozen houses of random potheads and drug-addicts.  Half were notably good places to relax and hang out, the other half tend to have their own stories of drama.  One being a girl who's mother was also her sister... She was a pretty girl, but, no thank you to associating with that household! The main hang-out would be an apartment in a shady neighborhood who's tenant worked as a manager for a group of web-designers; which sounds lucrative but its more of a free-lance thing. His family actually paid for the apartment.  He was a nice guy though, tried very hard to be good, which would end up with him being taken advantage of by his friends, regularly.

For every knuckle headed stoner, there were an intellectual or 'awakened' fellow among them.  I mingled with the group and got a long with the majority of them. I recall one particular man named Daniel who was studying psychology; he was very intellectual and debated well. If the entire experience with this group of friends meant anything to my life it was because I was able to associate with this man. However I fear the behavior of the group would take the better part of him down a few notches.. And there was one other notable fellow - whom our story involved intimately; Joseph.

I became really good buddies with Joe. Hung out all the time, talked a lot. And the other groovy people joined us often to discuss religion, philosophy, metaphysics, spirituality, etc, etc. We covered all the meta-topics of reality from animals to the universe.  Joe and I bounded based on shared beliefs more than anything else.  I was at his house every other day and I would be giving him rides to his needed destinations as often as I was available. He didn't work and was rather lazy to find work, but, I saw him as a good person so I gave him a hand when I could; meals, drinks, etc. I had no worries with spending money for him.

At one point I loaned him my tablet, because he didn't have a laptop or PC or smartphone. Call it first world sympathy.. Everyone should have some type of internet access! And it was fine, we hung out all the time, I used it when I needed it. He would bring it with him everywhere constantly, so I felt safe with him having it.  The tablet was a gift from my brother on Christmas.  I had my laptop and iphone so I didn't need to lug around a third piece of equipment all the time; the loan to Joe was nothing to me.  Until, after a few months, I wanted it back.

We were at the usual apartment hanging out and Joe wasn't there, which was odd.  I had told him the previous day to bring my tablet because I needed it for my vacation; didn't want to carry mt laptop onto a cruise ship.  I called and was ignored, no big deal, I'll see him the next day. We all hung out and partied like usual.

The next day I call and he seems dodgy "yeah I am busy today" again I think nothing of it, because he has been a good friend. But after two days I ask my friend, the one whom introduced me to the group, what was going on... after tireless neglect to answer me directly, I sherlock holmes him into confessing Joe has in fact broken my tablet.  We called Joe to have a discussion.  Joe said sorry and that he would fix it, I said it's okay I will fix it and you will pay me when ever you can.  Joe insisted he would fix it and would return it.  I said no problem, let's have fun now and we did. I believe we went to a club that night.

The following few days I wanted a follow-up on my tablet's condition; as though it were my hurt baby. Joe was again dodgy to give me specific details.

Another meeting was necessary...

"Joe, what happened to my tablet?"
"Somebody stole it the other day..."
"Was that after or before you were getting it fixed?"
"After it was fixed someone took it from my bad." He said lying to my face.
"Well, man, I am sorry but you have to help me pay for a new one. That was a gift from my brother and he is asking where it is..."
"Yeah man! Of course, I feel so bad having your tablet stolen.."
"Okay man, I know money is hard for you right now so just pay half and no worries, 100 dollars is all I want, okay?"
"Yes, thank you Nick! That is more than fair."

The next few weeks were a series of soft-harassment phone calls.

"Dude please just ask your parents for the money? Tell them what happened they will understand."
"Okay I will"

But then a few more days will pass with no response to my calls or text messages...

I went to his house, he seemed scared...

"Joe, give me 75 dollars, give me 50 dollars, give me something.... You borrowed my tablet for 6 months, got to it broken and stolen and all I am asking is for half, and now less than half for what it originally cost. That isn't very rude of me to do!"

"I know Nick but I don't have the money."

I began to think I was shit out of luck...

It was then another week later I saw Joe with a brand new Iphone 4S. I didn't make any outstanding comments, I merely again asked for the money that was owed to me... He said sorry, again, and that he didn't have it. 

Now many of you would think 'take the phone and hold it until he pays' or 'ask how he got a phone but didn't pay you back'. Well I don't know what kind of road I took but instead I decided to no longer be his friend instead... As if that would show him...

So, that was that, we were no longer friends.. I didn't hang out with him or the group of friends.. Because they did nothing to encourage Joe to pay me back either. Lousy beatniks.. Never having real jobs but always enough to get high and have fun... In fact, it was my experience with these dead-beats that encouraged me to actually get my life moving forward.  For two years I have told all my friends and family how I wanted to teach English abroad. And watching these stoners do nothing with their lives while debating how the world is so messed up, I couldn't stand to end up even partly like them. Yes some were smart and intelligent, but they were also lazy and unmotivated to do anything genuine with their lives.  I gave up hanging out with the group after a year of party-exploits and crude adventures.

Fast forward a few months I am getting ready to leave for Indonesia to begin my teaching.  To prepare for the trip I was getting vaccinations, dentist work and paper work filed.  One day after having my wisdom tooth pulled out, my friend was driving me to his house to hang out. 

I saw Joe at a bus stop. 

It all just fires in my brain "DO SOMETHING" - my friend knew the story of what happened and I said "dude that's the guy, let me out, I will walk from here."  He said "don't do anything stupid I will be waiting."  I get out of the car in the middle of the street and walk up to him. He sees me. He is nervous.

"Hey Joe! How you been man?"
"Good" One word response indicated extreme nervousness, like I was about to attack him.
"Oh cool you got your phone, can I see?"
He hands it to me. At which point I decided to instantly slam the phone screen first into the ground and walk away. I turn back a half-second to see him examine the phone.  I didn't know if I broke it but I walked towards my friend's house.  My heart was racing, I never did something like that before.."

I told my friend and he didn't really respond.

I was curious if his phone was in fact broken so I called a friend of mine who associated with Joe still.  He indicated that Joe has not posted on Facebook for a few days and there was no answer with his phone. I had surly broken his phone.

Yet, I didn't and do not know how to feel:

On one hand I feel even for the mistrust, dishonesty and shady behavior he expressed towards me when I tried to be a good friend to him.  On the other hand maybe I should of allowed 'karma' or his own conscious to take care of the 'revenge' and guilt he should have felt.

I do not know if what I did was 'right', but I also do not feel entirely 'wrong'.  It is a mixed bag.

I am definitely not happy about my decisions and maybe that should tell me something. What do you think? Did I do the right action, what would of been a better one if not?

As far as posting this testimony online I have no fear of ramifications.  If the other part decided make legal actions, I would happily oblige, granted his potential theft of my tablet was noted. Also, I am in Thailand now, and will probably be out of the country for several years. 

So, whether what I did was right or not, and while I am not happy, if Joe ever reads this:

"You got what you deserved fuck face."

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