Monday, May 21, 2007

crime report 5/22/07, with commentary

I was going to write about New York this weekend. I was going to write about my dad's birthday dinner at Klee and running into Perez Hilton at Company on Saturday night. I was going to write about my insane new couture boots that I saw in Vogue a last month and then bought on mega double-secret sale on a rainy Saturday afternoon. About how a salesgirl in SoHo finally convinced me to embrace leggings and admit to myself that while I feel silly wearing them, they do make my legs look a million miles long. About the unbelievable intensity that is stage seats for Spring Awakening and the unbelievably fun dorkiness that is going to hear one of the actor's bands later that night at a ratty club in that sketchy part of the West 30s.

But I'm not going to, because when I went out to my car this morning I found the window smashed in and my CDs and an ancient laptop wrapped in a sheet both missing.

And so I'm really, really pissed off.

I'm really, really pissed off that a mere six weeks after moving and two weeks after getting groped and having strangers call me a bigot when I wrote about it, my car was broken into.

I'm really, really pissed at myself. It's not like I'm some hick who just moved to the Big City. How stupid was I to leave anything remotely of value in my car parked in Columbia Heights? Very, that's how stupid. Very, very, very stupid. No excuse. I should have known better. Of course, that laptop was utterly virus-ridden and virtually inoperable. I had grand dreams of refurbishing it and giving it to charity. Now I just really hope that the thief tries to use it before he hocks it. Maybe he'll use it to try to charge a (stolen) iPod, or maybe his pacemaker. That'd be swell.

I'm really, really pissed off that I'm just supposed to accept things like this as reality, because there's a voice in my head telling me that this is what living in a city means and if I can't deal then there's always the burbs. I hate this voice. It's the same voice I used with my mother when we were having brunch yesterday in Hell's Kitchen and she asked if I'd ever consider not living in a city. It's contemptful and disbelieving and while I'm not happy that I used it with my mother, having it saw in my head as I fume this morning does not seem fair payback.

I'm really, really pissed that today it feels like either/or, baby. Today feels like a day where nuance is a no-show and it feels like a choice between living in a safe space where a girl can take for granted that her car will remain where she parked it but where everyone looks the same and thinks the same and eats the same and takes the same mundane pleasures in the same pathetic things, or living in a dynamic community with the smell of jerk chicken and the sounds of bossa nova wafting over the streets, coming from homes full of people with whom I have nothing in common but who are mostly very, very good people, except the ones who yell and grab and rob without a care in the world.

I'm trying to stay focused on the office worker from the Baptist church who came out to meet me as I stared blankly at the gaping hole where my window used to be. I'd rather think about his kindness when he told me how he tried to report the break-in to the police when he first saw it on Saturday morning (yes-- Saturday morning) than that utterly stupid DCPD law that only an owner can report a break-in. Sadly, I already knew this. Way to encourage neighborhood friendliness and civil society, right?

And I'm really trying not to let this crap ruin memories of a wonderful weekend. Truth be told, insurance (which I pay an obscene amount for) will cover the damage and I don't care about the laptop. The CDs-- well, that hurt. I had every mix CD I've made or received since college taken. No two ways about it, that blows. Somehow I doubt that the thief listens to the Decemberists or the Polyphonic Spree, like, ever. But yes, I know that it's a miracle that my car was even still there, much less relatively intact. Lordy, I spent the train ride back yesterday reading What is the What. You have no idea how much I hate myself for even whining about CDs and a broken window right now.

Which, of course, makes me hate this thief even more. For committing an act against me that led to me feeling guilty for feeling angry.

Got that? No? Yeah, me neither.

Mostly, I'm just tired. I am thoroughly tired of constantly defending my lifestyle and my neighborhood, and to be honest, I'm tired of defending it to myself. I'm utterly sick of the round-robin cycle of gentifiers' woes and yuppie guilt and of so hopelessly embodying the cliche of the entitled white gentrifier. Of the voice in my head reminding me that this is really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, and of the second voice counterarguing that hey, maybe it could have been worse but it is still most certainly not okay what happened. Someone robbed me, I'm arguing with myself and I'm so very over all of it.


Jo said...

Oh I'm so sorry. That's horrible. And you have every right to feel angry. The burbs aren't that bad. Really.

A Unique Alias said...

I grew up in a very surburban area, almost even rural in that there were no big chain restaurants or big merch clearing houses like Walmart or Target (not that there were many of those back then anyway), and my car got broken into one night.

I also had all of my CDs in the car, and they nabbed that along with my piece of shit stereo. These things do happen, and it does serve as a reminder to never, ever leave anything of value in your car no matter where you're parking it.

I understand the feelings you're having, but don't let some bad apples spoil the whole bunch. Keep your head screwed on tight and enjoy the good parts, or else you will end up "going out" to the Cheesecake Factory for special dinners.

Marci said...

Uh, Dear EJ -

Please show us your boots. Please. And also maybe mention the cost. Please.

(and thank you),
Baby Banana

E :) said...

I'm so sorry to hear that EJ. Everyone will tell you "thank goodness you're ok," but really it still stings. I lived for 14 months in DC with just a birthday package stolen, and I get home to Brisbane, Australia, and have my wallet pick pocketed. I feel your pain.

Anyhow, I hope you had a great weekend in NY.

Oneqler said...
Car Ins

S said...

that sucks.

but mainly i'm commenting to say i miss you. already.

that's all.

but i do have a window now, and a secretary. awwww yeah.

Kristin said...

It's such a feeling of violation. Seriously, thief, what are you going to do with my mixed CDs? Are you happy with the Ella Fitzgerald, Liz Phair, Cowboy Junkie combination? Is that what you were hoping for when you broke into my car?!

Empathy only gets you so far... Let me know if you need copies of anything. I do listen to the Decemberists and Polyphonic Spree. I actually have a friend in latter It won't bring back your sense of peace, but I'll do what I can.

Oh, and let me know if I can take you out for a drink to commiserate.

Lillian said...

Oy vey. That just sucks--a lot. Don't worry about feeling crappy about this, because it's certainly a crappy situation. I'm so sorry that it happened.

On a lighter sure as hell gives you an excuse to get a stiff drink sometime this week, yes? :) Go on, raise a glass to your health while imagining the perp getting kicked in the shins by a bunch of 8-year-olds.