Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Of Anxious Apprehensions & Confident Security

During the summer before my senior year in high school, a thief, or thieves, broke into my Mustang. And when I say “broke into,” I mean slashed the taut convertible roof on the driver side, reached through to unlock the door and stole my modest stereo and notably expensive speakers. Despite the damage to the roof, it was a “clean” theft, i.e. efficient and professional, according to the responding police officer. However, that fact did not ease my anger and frustration about the loss of the radio. My high school friends, pooling their allowances and minimum wage earnings, had purchased the stereo the previous summer for “our” Mustang to replace and modernize the outdated original AM/FM one. A gesture that both surprised and uplifted at a time when it was most needed. [For more on that, grab a copy of my personal narrative, Echoes From An Unexamined Life -]

Immaterial of the financial cost, there was the characteristic sense of violation that came with the break-in. Strangers had broken a personal, irreplaceable bond attached to the gifted stereo. There also was a sense of karma, as my friends and I - having left behind my recognizable car at our meeting place, believed to be a fairly secure location - had been doing a bit of our own typical youthful shenanigans, albeit harmless, involving toilet paper. Maybe that was true. Ironically, I had to call the police to report the theft...after having just evaded them.

Recently, my neighborhood has experienced a sporadic rash of car break-ins and vandalism, recalling to mind that incident. Tucked away in a fairly quiet hamlet of suburbia, this was unusual. What was not unusual was not being informed for months about the situation, either by the rental office staff or law enforcement, until a victimized neighbor took it upon themselves to do so. The worst part in some cases, according to another neighbor, is that only windows were smashed with nothing stolen - demonstrating an absolute wanton disregard for personal property by the perpetrators. In light of the circumstances, I since have noticed more foot traffic by other residents during my occasional, and no longer as tranquilly seclusive, midnight walks. In hindsight, it made sense as well why there seemingly had been an increase in police patrols in the area the last few months absent any context for the reason.

When he purchased the Mustang, my dad had informed me that there was a fairly easy, and non-destructive, way to break into a classic convertible. However, he did not instruct me in the actual procedure - either afraid I accidentally would share the secret or use the knowledge for more nefarious purposes. Bwahahahaha...and no fair reader, although having grown up in New York City, he had never been a member of any car thief guild; he knew, I assume, from a long career in the insurance industry. When I later locked my keys in the car - at the mall, of all embarrassing places - I eventually figured it out after a few attempts. Fortunately, no cops were around, or, understandably, my high school friends and I - wearing our customary attire like the metalhead hoodlums we admittedly were perceived to be - would have had to explain breaking into my own car.

[Read similar stories and much more in my personal narrative, Echoes From An Unexamined Life -]

©2016 Steve Sagarra

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