On a rare day of respite from the furnace-like heat-wave of the past couple weeks, cygnoir and I left the house this afternoon to find that my car had been stolen. Going, gone, nothing there. A few heart-skips later, we called the polis and waited two hours too long to have them come by the house for a report, which never came. Handful of trail mix and gargantuan cup of tea later, we decided to abort and take the claim to them. But her car was also gone. The city, this time, had it from a minute “hazard” violation. This means that some terribly picky homeowner had her vehicle impounded because her bumper was in a block of red that bordered their driveway. This kind of thing happens all the time in San Francisco. Except we never let our bumpers stick out if we can help it. Nor did she this time. But San Franciscans are picky. They’re not happy with a warning note, as we plaster to windshields so often in our neighborhood. They want justice.
Shock and awe. MUNI ride to Bryant and the car yard, skirting a man who pulled down his pants in front of us and literally shit all over the sidewalk, then kept on walking right on down the road. Paid the ridiculous holding and administration fees and then off, driving again, to the police station to file the claim. The dealership told me when I bought the car that it was the #1 color, make, and model stolen within San Francisco limits. Its parts are worth ten times that of the car itself on the black market. But it’s never been stolen until now, ten years on. I keep the seats clear of tempting items, I have an alarm system, and I’m careful about where I park it. I’m mindful of these things, but sometimes it doesn’t matter. This was directly in front of my house, must have been in the middle of the night. And while we have a garage, we share it with our housemates.
Both the police and my insurance company were concerned about the nature in which the car disappeared. Just one week before, it was in the shop getting repaired after some unaccountable Marin Country twat entered our private work parking lot and destroyed the front of the Acura without leaving a note. The repairs were worth thousands and I had just gotten it back, shinyclean. As for the heist, there was no broken glass. My alarm system cuts the engine when active. It was absolutely locked and alarmed, as per usual. The police said that some professionals use tow trucks to remove their quarry, but how coincidental is it that my keys were just in the possession of who-knows and a week later, for the first time in a decade, it gets stolen cleanly from directly in front of my house? Without implicating anyone explicitly, there will certainly be an investigation taking place.
I lost some personal things from within the car, it’s true. Dozens of CDs, mostly made redundant by the digital revolution; some ornaments that I’ve loved greatly; my wool tartan blanket from the trunk. Other things as well, but nothing monumentally devastating. Nor is the loss of the car. I’ve been oddly calm for much of the day, though a little miffed at the frustration of it all: mostly regarding monetary expenditure and knowing I’ll need a daily commuter that does what the Acura has done for years. She was in great condition, and she’s the only one I’ve ever had. I mean, the bastards just got away with a topped-up $50 tank of gas. What a waste.
But I’ve taken some things from this experience, and I believe they’re for the better. I’m upset that something like this happened, and I certainly feel violated. But I simply cannot plug into the mindset of unconscionable assholery that plans and executes robberies like this. And as they go, this was a minor one. I still have everything I need, and the best things in my life are immaterial. There is a prevalent feeling that I do my very best to be good and kind to the world, and that I don’t deserve such treatment from others who don’t even know me. But I’m comfortable knowing that the world is not good and bad – it just is. We can be good and feel good and hope to brush up with mostly good by our choices great and small…and bad will still happen. It’s how we choose to deal with that adversity that makes us who we are. And shouting and stomping and hating my fellow humankind – which I often do, anyway – won’t help me here. In fact, I’m shrugging it off and realizing that it comes down to this: I have not a single problem hoping that the bastards who took the car make a wrong move in their lives of crime and selfishness get their brains dashed out upon the very windshield which they pilfered. I’d have not a single regret about it. The world needs less of them. But all the hoping and cursing in the world won’t get it back, and I can go on feeling much lighter, thankful that I live a good life with good people around me. It’s the closest thing to rolling with the punches that I know how to do.
And I’ll miss the Acura, and I won’t expect to see her or any of the sundries within ever again. They’ll probably find the steering column and seats ripped out somewhere in the East Bay. But we had some good times, and I loved zipping around in her. Now, as a Taurean control-freak, I do my best to let it go and look ahead to other transport, to other rides, and the fact that I’m lucky enough to do so. You can take my car, but you’ll never take…my Fritos.
Ol’ Bessie, modeled by the inimitable hermiston a few years back in West Marin.
23 Responses to “Transportation Reconciliation.”
June 22nd, 2008 at 9:45 pm
i feel your pain. i truly do. i have had two vehicles stolen. one was a motorcycle, suzuki 850GL (recovered). the other was a nissan king cab pickup 4-wheel drive, with camper shell and kayak rack (not recovered).
the maddening thing was that the day after it was stolen, my ex saw it coming off a freeway next to where he worked, then later getting back onto the freeway. he called the sheriff as the initial report was with the county. they said since it was getting onto the freeway it was CHP jurisdiction. he called the CHP. they said since it already had mexican plates on it (he could see them. they had been put on by the thieves) and was getting on the freeway a mere eight miles from the border, to forget about it.
may your next ride give you as much reliability and pride of ownership as your acura.
June 22nd, 2008 at 10:03 pm
As a fellow Acura owner, I sympathize. That car has served me well.
June 22nd, 2008 at 10:41 pm
i'm so sorry
must be the area. we had the del sol stolen out of the front of our driveway and found a month later completely stripped. the police also told us that the car was very likely targeted, as probably yours was. 🙁
June 22nd, 2008 at 11:16 pm
Going, gone, nothing there.
regrets and empathy!
You can take my car, but you'll never take…my Fritos.
…I can go on feeling much lighter, thankful that I live a good life with good people around me.
But I simply cannot plug into the mindset of unconscionable assholery that plans and executes robberies like this.
I still have everything I need, and the best things in my life are immaterial.
But I'm comfortable knowing that the world is not good and bad – it just is. We can be good and feel good and hope to brush up with mostly good by our choices great and small…and bad will still happen. It's how we choose to deal with that adversity that makes us who we are.
my compliments sir…
June 22nd, 2008 at 11:53 pm
I am sorry for your loss. 🙁 I have had my car broken into, though not stolen.
I applaud the way you are handling it.
June 23rd, 2008 at 12:23 am
101 lashes in the town square would fix up your thieves.
June 23rd, 2008 at 12:36 am
*shakes tiny fist at people who are deliberately bad to other people* arrggh
Also, an oddness, I went to see Stevie Wonder tonight in a car *just like this one* (my ex-bf's Acura – same color, too). Freakish. Anyway, I know you will miss it, but I am also glad you are practicing letting go. It's a goodness, with which to combat the previous badness.
June 23rd, 2008 at 2:54 am
A beautiful car. I'm sorry to hear she has gone. But comforted because you've taken it so well.
June 23rd, 2008 at 4:59 am
That is rotten luck, and must feel horribly intrusive as well as irritating.
Perhaps it is time to buy a boat!
June 23rd, 2008 at 5:22 am
Why do bad things ALWAYS happen to cars when they have a full tank of gas? Granted, I've never had a car anyone would want to steal, but they always seem to break down beyond repair right after I've filled them up.
**skirting a man who pulled down his pants in front of us and literally shit all over the sidewalk, then kept on walking right on down the road….
Um…well, that's unsanitary.
**But all the hoping and cursing in the world won't get it back, and I can go on feeling much lighter, thankful that I live a good life with good people around me. It's the closest thing to rolling with the punches that I know how to do.
Jeez, I have no idea how you manage to stay so positive. Yet another reason it sucks for this to have happened to you guys.
**You can take my car, but you'll never take…my Fritos.
Most quotable line from my friends list this weekend.
I wish I had a trophy to give you…or a new car.
June 23rd, 2008 at 5:39 am
Crap. I'm very sorry.
You want another tartan blanket, you just let us know. 🙂
June 23rd, 2008 at 7:24 am
Poop – sorry to hear it. What a waste of a perfectly delightful Sunday in perfectly delightful company. I identify heavily with your next to last paragraph there. I felt very much the same way after getting held at gunpoint.
June 23rd, 2008 at 9:59 am
Dude, I am so sorry to hear about this. Hey, if you need a commuting buddy (that you know, leaves the city at 7:15 in the a.m.) give me a buzz.
June 23rd, 2008 at 10:04 am
sympathy and letting go
I had my car stolen from my friend's driveway where I was staying overnight. 11 yr old Honda Accord, suburban Toronto. There was no major problem until the cops found my abandoned car 29 days later, one day before I would have been paid the car's value by the insurance company, all joy-rided out and the airbags ($$$) missing. But because the car was found inside 30 days, it ended up being a complete insurance nightmare, to the point where I consulted a lawyer about suing a multi-billion dollar insurance company and wrote a letter to my Senator (Clinton, who never answered). I hope for your sake that your car never appears again. If it does, tell them you don't want it (it will never run the same again) and take the cash value instead, if they let you (they didn't give me that choice). Best of luck.
June 23rd, 2008 at 12:39 pm
Re: sympathy and letting go
Friends of mine had their car stolen and then used in some kind of heist – they were pretty shocked to see their four-wheeled friend on the six o'clock news….
June 23rd, 2008 at 12:13 pm
bumflaps. at least you didn't leave any favourite books or anything in there.
i'm not going to mention this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0242423/ 🙂
June 23rd, 2008 at 2:26 pm
Damn that's sore. I'm sure their actions will come back on them at some point!
We called the polis
Ah how there's a fine word. Oh, how the polis hate being called that. How does that sound without the Scottish accent to it?
June 23rd, 2008 at 3:51 pm
You can take my car, but you'll never take…my Fritos.
Yer going to Hell, y'know that?
June 24th, 2008 at 5:23 am
That was a bit jolting to read the day after I discovered I'd left my car unlocked overnight…
Here's to hoping you'll find a new, reliable four-wheeled friend soon!
June 25th, 2008 at 8:48 pm
O, d. Ive been off the journal and didnt even read this until now. I am so very sorry. 🙁
A pox on them.
June 29th, 2008 at 7:43 pm
Sad to hear you lost your car. If you're like most people, cars cease being utilitarian devices and become part of the family. You spend more time with them than you realize and if you've owned the car that long, you became intimately familiar with every quirk, every odd noise, every shimmy. It's oddly comforting to drive/ride in your own car because, well, damnit, it's YOURS.
I had my car stolen a couple of years back. Out of my parking spot, alarm intact. I was initially peeved beyond words. The gendarmerie were surprisingly sympathetic and offered some suggestions on working with the insurance, etc. I was pretty sullen for a couple of days until my officer called me on the following Tuesday morning to say my car had been found – sort of. In fact, the perpetrators had stumbled on some of the cities finest while out at play in MY car. A chase ensued and the perps got their rich and delish rewards, but moreso than I could have ever hoped… you see, they were good thieves, but lousy drivers. Rounding a bend too fast, physics took over and they hit a sturdy oak tree at something over 75mph. Driver was cut in half and died on the spot. Front passenger mostly went through the window, but his right arm and right leg from the knee down stayed in the car; he bled out noisily and painfully within a few minutes. Rear passenger #1 was ejected, flying "several dozen feet" before hitting another tree. Spine crushed just below the neck (now, two years later, he is still a quad and will only be a burden on his family for the foreseeable future). Rear passenger #2 was pinned in the wreckage as it burned. According to 'my' officer, he was screaming for help when the cops arrived, but they couldn't reach him in time. He burned alive.
What a pity.
Less than a week after stealing my car, three felons died pretty gruesomely, and a fourth will live out his days staring down at his useless body (that it was useful before the wreck). I'd say justice was particularly swift and vibrant for me.
Insurance replaced my car on Thursday afternoon.
July 6th, 2008 at 2:56 am
I never seem to get a chance to read LJ any more so this post slipped past me.
What a pain to waste your day like that. I think your take on how to react is perfect, the car must hold so many great memories for you, but thankfully you still have them.
I will not forget racing down SF hills in with you in the Acura.
Hope you don't have to commute by bus for too long.
July 28th, 2008 at 12:49 pm
At least I haven't died yet; otherwise, you would've lost an irreplaceable mirror ornament made out of my fingerbones.