Today I was returning some clothes that I had ordered online but which turned out to be too small. Outside the nearest Post Office, parking is severely restricted because the city is prioritizing cycling. So, the only place to stop and jump out to pop something into the mailbox is big enough for just two cars. When I got there, there was already a car in that space and barely enough space for me. It was abutted, also, by a large trash dumpster.
Anyway, I parked at a bit of an angle with my driver’s side back end sticking out a bit by the dumpster. Because of this, when I got out of the car, I made sure to squeeze myself against my car so as not to be in the way of oncoming traffic. The trouble is that in doing so, I put my right hand up on the side of the car.
Unfortunately, I put my hand too close to the door frame. As I slammed the driver’s side door shut, I crushed my thumb into the jamb. In my mind, I said many rude things. Outwardly, I said “Ow!” Now my thumb is a lovely shade of blue and it still hurts like heck, many hours later.
But this is not the worst thing that happened today. After I had pulverized my thumb, I went on to do my shopping. I bought my groceries and then, with lots of fresh and frozen food in my car, I briefly stopped at another store to pick up a few non-grocery items. While I was there, I got a call from my niece who told me that her mom and dad had their car stolen today!
Now, you should understand that my sister and her husband have had more than their fair share of challenges to overcome this year. They were just getting themselves back to normal after the most recent problem when this happened. I couldn’t believe it. It’s as though the gods thought the story of Job was a fun one, so they keep raining down crises to see if anything will break them. “Oh, hip surgery wasn’t bad enough? Let’s try something else. Hmm, maybe we’ll stop going for physical pain and go for freedom of movement instead. Let’s take their car! Yeah. Good idea.” It seems that the thief must have noticed my sister drop her keys and took advantage of that momentary lapse. Both the car and the keys were taken.
I drove home immediately to put my food away, then went directly to my sister and brother-in-law’s house. By this time, they had filed a police report and a relative had driven them home. I mostly wanted to reassure myself that they were OK, and they were. While I was there, I was able to offer some assistance in calling the insurance company and to ensure that a friendly local handyman would come to change the lock on the door.
All of this is a long way of saying how much I resent thieves. I resent the thief who stole everything out of my car last year, I resent the thief who stole my oldest son’s family’s bikes out of their shed, I resent the thief who stole my younger son and his partner’s electronics in Las Vegas, and I resent the thief who took my sister and brother-in-law’s car today. All of those thieves are horrible people, and I don’t care how needy they may be. They don’t realize the ripple effects of their thefts, the numbers of people who become affected, and the self-blaming, insecurity, and mistrust that linger for many, many years.
My family will be ok, we will make do and carry on because that is what we do. But, these losses are not only material or financial. They chip away at the soul. Thieves take a lot more than stuff, and those things cannot be bought.
Oh, and by the way, the car that was stolen today was parked in a spot for the disabled. My brother-in-law’s walker was in the trunk. I wonder if there is a word for someone who steals a car from a disabled person’s parking space.