September 10, 2007

When you live in a large city, the chance is great that you will have some act of violence or crime committed on you or your personal property.  While there is no perfect guarantee of this, the chances are greater than if you lived in a rural subdivision.  So, with the conveniences of living within a large city, there are obviously associated risks.  Crime will happen, and may involve you.  My brushes with crime have been, so far, limited to my car.  The first incident occurred in 2004, with the breaking of my door lock and the theft of my stereo system.  Soon after, someone apparently tried to steal it.  In 2005, another attempted theft of … something, I guess … prompted a thief to break the driver’s side window.  Since then, I’ve just left my doors unlocked.  There is no longer anything of any remote value within the confines of the vehicle, and I would rather not have to replace anymore glass on my car.  Honestly, given the look and appearance of my car, I am really surprised that someone will look at it and say, ‘this person must have something of value within the vehicle, just look at it!’ 

I say this because – well, my car is just special.  It is almost 10 years old.  It is dented from various “mishaps.”  The passenger side door will only partially open.  Half the hubcaps have been removed.  My fuel tank door may or may not completely shut – it really depends on the mood.  Of course, there was that fender bender I was involved with, while sitting at a toll booth, that has banged up the rear, in which the trunk will close, but still has open gaps in the back.  As mentioned earlier, my driver’s side no longer has a functioning lock, and there is no radio.  I can’t even imagine the thought that goes through a criminal’s mind when they look at this car, in all his glory, and decides “this is worth the risk.”

I would never think that would happen.  However, it happened again last night. 

I woke up this morning, prepared myself for work, and walked out to my car.  Just outside of the driver’s side door, there was a large collection of what looked like the contents of someone’s purse.  Receipts, loose change, a few lighters, chapstick, breath mints, a set of pliers (well, mostly from one’s purse) and other random things.  It took me a moment to really piece things together, but I then started recognizing these contents.  Those were my lighters, my receipts, my chapstick and breath mints.  Then I realized, someone broke into my car again.  I opened my door, and it had been ransacked.  Papers everywhere.  All the contents of my glove box, completely scattered, as well as everything in my back seat and console.  I was pissed.  Dumbfounded.  I sat down, and almost started to cry.  The feeling of that kind of personal violation is overwhelming.  You feel unsafe.  You feel taken advantage of.  All these thoughts were running through my head…for a moment, and then I realized – what the hell could they have taken?  I started playing, in my mind, how the crime would have played out.  The perpetrator opens the door, but no lights come on (oh, did I forget to mention that my dome light does not work?).  Even so – the sheer darkness does not deter the criminal.  He or she starts ransacking the car.  First – radio.  Damn.  No radio.  Then, money.  Ooh, 3 dimes, and a bunch of pennies.  Still no score.  Wait, maybe there is something in the glovebox….papers, pictures…what the hell?  A sock?  Shit.  Hold on, console.  Pliers?  Okay, what else…chapstick?  A broken lighter?  This is bullshit!

That thought made me forget about the obvious violation of my personal property and I started laughing.  My neighbor was coming out into the parking lot at that point, and asked me what was so funny…”someone broke into this thing (pointing to my car) and actually thought they were going to score something.”  She looked at me for a moment, as if she were thinking I had gone mad (and who knows, maybe I had), and then just said “well, at least they didn’t take your car!”

I guess that’s true, but to be quite honest – if someone took a look at the heap of mess that I just described and thought, I would like to have this, then I’d honestly have to say that they may actually need it more than I do.  The very thought of someone stealing this embarrassment of a vehicle is just laughable, but in the end, if someone actually does decide to take it, then they are obviously in dire straits. 

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