I’m not sure Phil and I ever came to a full agreement about the nature of Bandit’s kleptomania, but hopefully that makes it feel more organic, like a mystery of one’s own psyche that’s not fully knowable. One thing is inarguable: it was a compulsion she could not resist when it first surfaced, because even at this age, she understood her culture well enough to know the consequences.

I mentioned yesterday I was living with my goddaughter at the time. Her mother was an old college friend of mine who was going through a rough time, not least because of undiagnosed mono and other health issues, as we discovered later. And I was having trouble paying the rent while on my own, so we thought we’d help each other out. The platonic, non-traditional household had seemed like a good idea for a few months, but by December, we were starting to get on each other’s nerves, me on hers more than her on mine.

So now I had two important people in my life around whom I was often walking on eggshells. That might have inspired some of the social anxiety and ostracization that riddles this tale. More on that later.