Saturday, November 19, 2011

Like a Thief in the Late Afternoon

The day before yesterday, somebody stole a hat of mine that I really liked. It was wide-brimmed, straw, with a soft cloth band inside that caressed my forehead. It provided the perfect balance of ventilation and shade. My girls called it my "Grissom hat," after the character Gil Grissom on the TV show "CSI," who investigated crime scenes in the desert wearing a floppy straw hat that he somehow made look cool. I kept it in the trunk of my wife's car.

Did I mention that the thieves also stole the car?

Sometimes I bury the lede.

It was a bold crime, almost admirably audacious. Sometime between 2:30 and 5:00, somebody broke into and hot-wired our car while it was parked directly in front of Karen's busy office building. Daylight, people coming and going. Very gutsy. The car was a '96 Honda with more than 200,000 miles on it--the same car I wrote about last June--and wasn't worth much. But that model's one of the top three or four most commonly stolen cars because there's a huge black market for its parts. Although there's a small chance it'll be found, most likely it was chopped up before we realized it was gone. Honestly, it was approaching the age when repairs begin to cost more than a car is worth and we were talking about replacing it. But we would have liked to have done it on our terms.

Other than my hat, not much was in the car. They got Karen's iPod, GPS and favorite sunglasses. Guess what Santa's bringing, honey! We're most unnerved knowing that some dirtbag out there now has our names and address (via the car registration). I unplugged the garage door opener until I can figure out how to reprogram it. We're a little jumpier than usual. Dealing with cops, insurance and rentals disrupts life's pleasant routines.

Mostly we're a little sad. Not deeply sad, as if something had actually died, but it ("she") was the best car we ever owned and we'll miss her. Our family took a lot of trips and lived a lot of life in that car. We never got to say goodbye.

Where's Gil Grissom when you need him?


sligo said...

holy crap. life occasionally gets weird. need a ride, let me know.

Jim O'Kane said...

That stinks - - and you'd think that a veteran car like that would be less of a target for a car heist, but I guess it's the downside of owning a quality automobile. I used to have a '99 Ford Ranger that I think nobody would take even if I left the windows down and the keys in the ignition.

Sorry about your hat and Karen's tech. Stuff like this makes the world a bit more threatening. :(

Brian Fies said...

Thanks for the ride offer, Mike. We have a second car and insurance is paying for a rental, so we're good. But I sincerely appreciate it.

Jim, we didn't know we were buying a quality auto in '96! That stretch of Hondas just turned out to be durable and desirable enough that today they're an extremely stealable car. Who knew? And on balance, we figure the world's been very good to us.

I just wish you could still hang horse thieves.

ronnie said...

So sorry to hear this! I hate it when stuff like this happens. It's just so *mean*.

Hope the insurance process goes smoothly...

Namowal (Jennifer Bourne) said...

That's rotten that someone swiped your car. He's a dirtbag indeed. Years ago, when I still lived with my folks, someone stole an old-but-loved family car right out of our driveway. Like your car, it was getting old but still a family icon. I remember how weird it felt to have it suddenly vanish on us.

Sherwood Harrington said...

What ronnie said. Mean, indeed, not to mention a violation.

And I was in Santa Cruz County all day, in case you're wondering. Does Pastis have an alibi?

Brian Fies said...

Pastis is our prime suspect.