Monday, July 20, 2009

Discovering a Theft

1. Midnight, downtown, Saturday night: Get in your car and realize that the overhead light has been turned off.
2. Notice the forgotten and now stale package of gummy peach slices from April that had been stowed in your center console has been found and ripped open, its contents strewn about.
3. See that your purse, left under the passenger seat, is on the seat, dumped out.
4. Acknowledge that your car has been broken into and your wallet and other items have been stolen, but you’re not quite sure what.
5. Drive directly to the police station.
6. Speak with the officer on duty and report what you do, and do not, know about the circumstances.
7. Go with the officer to your car and look everything over. Open the tailgate and tell the officer, with embarrassment, that everything seems fine back there, that it actually looked like this before the theft. The back of the station wagon, filled with baking supplies and evidence of a transient life, likely scared the thief away.
8. Try to remember exactly what was in your purse in the first place.
9. Fill out a form for the FBI in the event of identity theft, and receive a voucher for a no-fee replacement license.
10. Remember as you drive home that your camera was also in the purse, and it’s gone, along with precious photos you won’t get back.
11. Figure out how you’ll survive without your debit or credit cards until they can be replaced. Tell yourself you’ll deal with the medical and dental insurance cards on Monday.
12. Go on-line to see if there’s been any activity on your cards.
13. 1:00 a.m.: Send your credit union an on-line message about the theft, because they only answer the phone during business hours.
14. Take the dog for a walk and figure out how to address this problem in the morning. The dog poops on a neighbor’s yard and you don’t have a bag. Go get a bag to scoop up the poop and think out loud that this is symbolic for the way this night, if not recent life, has gone.
15. Go to bed though it is hard to sleep. You wake up feeling stupid and vulnerable for leaving your car’s sun roof open just enough.
16. Sunday morning: decide that you’re going to have a good day. Take your $9.00 in quarters and buy a little bit of gas for the car, and take a ride in the sunshine with that notorious sun roof wide open.
17. Sunday evening: Tonight’s the night to let your sister buy that dinner she’s been promising you. Acknowledge that most of the difficulty with the theft is the loss of valuable gift cards, the replacement of credit and i.d. cards, and the inconvenience of having to make all those calls. That can wait until Monday morning.
18. E-mail your boss to tell him what Monday morning is going to be like. He writes back and generously says to do what I have to do to get the world back in order.
19. Monday morning: drive to the police station to get a replacement voucher for the replacement license, since you can’t find the original.
20. Go to DMV where the woman who calls “Number 17” is actually very friendly and happy to help. I was the only one there and there was no sign of people holding numbers 16 or 18, but I took my deli-tag to the counter none-the-less! (Note to self: always go to DMV on a Monday morning.)
21. Temporary replacement license in hand, go back to work where you’ll spend the rest of the morning on the phone, getting your world back in order.
22. Have lunch with your friends, grateful for the simple things, as if nothing has happened.

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