This isn’t the first time.
No. The first time was when I was nineteen and living in Ireland. They got into my downtown Dublin flat and stole, of all things, my electricity converters. They slipped in while the cleaning lady was in our kitchen and told her they were my friends. And then they took something so ridiculous that when I think about it now I can’t help but giggle. Obviously American. Obviously in my small writer’s workshop at Trinity University. However, obviously not my friends. I never figured out who it was. I moved on and forgave them anyway.
But I still felt violated.
This isn’t even the second time. The second time happened after I had been living back in Iowa for a couple of years. I secured an apartment for Cindy and I and life was good. I parked my car in an extremely public parking lot full of bright lights to make the night not as scary. I went out with a friend and when he dropped me off, nothing seemed amiss. I unlocked my door, got in the driver’s seat and noticed glass shards everywhere. As if in slow motion, I looked up to see that my passenger door’s window was gone. Shattered with the pool ball that I later found on the floor. They took my CD player, some music, and my jacket.
That time? I was just totally pissed off.
But tonight is a lot like that first experience in Ireland. I feel like a victim. I feel like someone uninvited let themselves into my personal spaces and took me.
My car was parked in my garage. I hadn’t been in or around my car for about twenty-four hours. Dawn and I decided to go to dinner. My car needed the brakes looked at so we were going to drive separately and I’d drop the Focus off at the mechanic on the way to the restaurant.
“This door’s open a little bit”, she said, and then opened and shut the passenger door.
“Weird”, I mused. I got in the driver’s seat, started the engine, and reached for my iPod like a habit.
It was gone. And so was the ’emergency ten bucks’ I had stuffed into the glove compartment. Nothing else had been messed with. My car is FULL of stuff. But only the iPod, the docking station it sits in, and the ten dollars were taken.
Material things…no big deal at all. Ever. All replaceable. No need to cry about it.
But the trust for my neighbors? My sense of security? Poof.
It seems so silly…but my iPod was so personal. I listen to songs a lot of people have never heard of. I listen to embarrassingly upbeat and funky stuff. I like music from all over the spectrum. I had a lot of lesbian music and old lady music and teenager music and heavy metal and country and rap. I’m sure the person flicking through my playlists right now is thinking “What a waste of criminal activity.” Also? Did you know that you can only sync your iPod with a certain number of computers? After that, it won’t open up on any other computer. At least, my old beautiful red iPod Nano first generation was built that way. She was maxed out. The poor bastard who took it is stuck with an eclectic mix of tunes that they would never dare play in front of anyone.
The real issue isn’t the electricity converters or the electronic devices or even the cash. The issue is that I feel robbed of a significant part of my person. I feel like people generally suck and there isn’t anything I can do about it. Except you, of course. You are wonderful. But you are also rare. You are a sparkling diamond in a veritable solar system of crap. I’m so glad you’re here.
Maybe you can make this better. Tell me to lock my doors, even when my car is in my garage. Even when I live among the elderly. Especially because just down the street live the hoodlums. LOCK THE DOORS, JEN. Always. Amen.
This makes me so sad. In Dublin, the doors were always locked. In that city with my Cindy? Doors always locked. Here? In a town of a few thousand on a good day? It was a crapshoot. My doors weren’t locked with any consistency. And certainly never when my car was parked in its own little cubby. Now, however…well, duh.
It’s just a bummer because I sometimes love living in this little bitty town. It used to make me feel like parts of the world were still good. Here, we are away from the bustle of the cities and every single person I meet when I’m out for a walk smile and say hello. Every. Single. One. Without fail. It’s freaking Mayberry here!
It used to be. Or maybe, I just thought it was.
It doesn’t matter. The reality and the illusion are both shattered. I’m going to bed now. And you can bet I’m going to lock up tight. Even if it breaks my heart that I have to. I have no choice, you see. They stole that choice.
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