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The Heist

So the crime.

Short version: yesterday, after coming home from the store, apparently I left my purse in the car.

Then, this morning, shortly after pushing the Remote Starter on my car so that it would be warmer than the 17-degree morning, our phone rang. That was odd, but I figured that it was maybe my brother needing a ride to school, or the people who are working on our house, telling us that they couldn’t come today or something. I answered and immediately, a man started talking.

‘Hi, I live on (street up from our street) and this morning, I was taking my son to school and I noticed all this stuff in the road?’ At this point, I was about to interrupt and tell him that he had the wrong number, but he continued, ‘So I checked it out and saw that there was a purse and a checkbook and stuff and that’s how I got your number.’

I immediately scanned to the table where I put my purse. It was empty.

‘There’s no money or nothing, but there’s some cards and stuff, and I thought you should know and maybe want the purse?’

‘Was there a wallet there?’ I stammered, still in shock.

‘No, no wallet, nothing but some cards and a checkbook. I can show you were I found everything.’

I thanked him, got his address, told him that I’d be right there, and raced out the door.

My car door was ajar when I got outside. Either I hadn’t locked the door (unlikely) or the seatbelt stopped the door from latching when I closed it (has happened in the past).

I was still confused, but I somehow made the three blocks to the guy’s house. He met me outside and I was shaking by that point. He showed me where he found everything and I thanked him and went back home. Esteban called the police while I sat there shaking, trying to remember everything that was in the purse and discern how exactly it happened. Each minute that passed came with memory of another thing that was now gone. My little red Tupperware pill container with all the Advil liqui-gels in it. Cash. Cards. My asthma inhaler. The $30 gift card from Bath and Body Works. My brand new Aveda Lip Saver. The photo of Joel and Cheri’s baby when she was a day old, wearing the Winnie the Pooh layette that I gave her. My Lane Bryant platinum card. My Prescriptives lip gloss in Pillow. Three other Prescriptives things in colors I couldn’t remember. My security access card to get into work. The gift card from World Market that still had about $90 on it. My insurance cards. My Urban Decay compact. My Love My Body card from The Body Shop. My business cards. My old driver’s license with my maiden name on it and the cute picture of me tilting my head like I’m Sarah Rue or something. My library card. My mofo library card.

I called work and told them that I’d be late because some asshole stole my purse. Esteban didn’t want me to call and cancel any of my credit cards, hoping to use the open accounts to trap the thieves somehow, like this was a Case of the Missing Jackie O Wallet in an Encyclopedia Brown book, but since I had a debit card in there, I called the bank and canceled it anyway. Then I decided to just screw that and called the rest of them, since it took an hour for the police to get there. Probably because this was so minimal a crime. I mean, no one got hurt or anything. I just felt stupid and victimized. Which I suppose I was.

Finally, Officers Francis and Christian arrived, took my statement, looked around, gave me their theory on what the perps wanted, which was money for drugs or alcohol and that they’d use the cards at a gas station where they could slide them into the card reader to get the gas, since they were likely male and the cards were in my name, unless they got their girlfriends to help them with the fraud. Whatever, Lenny Brisco. Then we went to the scene of the purse dumping, where we found one of my Listerine oral care strip packs, crushed, and also my gel micro-tip pen, exploded into a million pieces and a giant black ink puddle, complete with tire marks stamped all the way up the street. I suggested that maybe they should have, you know, investigated that clue, as don’t they have some kind of tire database, as suggested on CSI? And then they could derive a complex profile of our faceless criminal and tell me that he was 5’9′, straight (because no gay man nor a woman would keep the wallet and $30 in cash and ditch the Kate Spade bag out the window) and had eaten curry for dinner? And Officers Francis and Christian just laughed, in their exceptionally tall manner. Because lawd’s sakes alive, they were tall. I am not a short girl, and man, I felt like I was twelve years old next to those guys. Esteban, however, felt really old, as when he gave Officer Christian his birth date, the officer laughed and then said that his birth date was the same, only the year was 1980. Good god, our policeman watches TRL. But then, hey, he’s 25 and man, when did we get to be so geritol?

We drove back home and I made myself a crumpet for breakfast. When life shits on your morning, sometimes the only logical remedy is a toasted crumpet. I know. It doesn’t make any sense, but it works. Then I realized that I had no money (because it was stolen) and no way to get any (because it was also stolen), so Esteban and I found an ATM and he gave me some money from his account. Then I went to Starbucks, got a mocha, and life started feeling a little more kind. I realized that I should probably at very least get a new driver’s license, so I went right to the DMV, after checking my makeup by habit (although then realized that I was carrying around an empty purse with no makeup because IT WAS STOLEN) and then made best friends forever with the DMV lady after I complimented her Egyptian cartouche necklace. Because I had nothing with my picture or my signature (because it was’ you know), they looked up my electronic picture, in which I look like I am fifty years old, have eighteen cats, and work in a women’s prison, and just printed off another copy of that one for $4. So after all of that, I still ended up with my hideous driver’s license picture. It was kind of reassuring, though. It was almost like I got back something else.

In a bit of DMV absurdity, I could have then taken that brand new picture id, paid another $4, surrendered the old one and then got a new picture taken. However, I would have had to wait another half an hour and I was already three hours late for work.

Looking on the bright side of things, this could have been much much worse. My iPod, my camera, and my phone, some or all of which can be found at any given time inside my purse, were all in the house. And I got the Kate Spade back. So, save for dealing with the bureaucracy, it is not so bad.

However, when I got to work, annoying coworker was absolutely gleaming. I kid you not. She immediately started grilling me on what happened, barely able to restrain her glee. She’s always had a lot of resentment for whatever reason and I’m sure the schadenfreude was overwhelming.

For instance, awhile back, someone had admired my wallet and asked where I got it and how much it cost. When I told them, she immediately prairie-dogged (because she eavesdrops constantly) and tried to make me feel guilty for spending so much on a wallet for myself. And it’s not like it’s Prada or something, but she’s got some of the same Midwestern cheapass tendencies that the rest of the area has. Spend a dollar to save a penny, that kind of thing that is just stupid. Why buy a quality leather wallet for $90 if you can get something from the Wal-Mart for $4.87 that’s ‘just as good’?

As she quizzed me about my morning, she practically salivated and then said ‘Goes to show ya’ you should never leave your purse in the car.’

You think?

I know. It was a mistake. I don’t normally do it and I don’t know how I did last night, only that I was carrying other things in and probably thought I’d grab it when I went back outside to put salt on the ice. But fuck, I KNOW I shouldn’t have done that, and yeah, I’m stupid, ok? Are you happy? Look, the world is punishing me for my stupidity by stealing my stuff. Are you fucking satisfied? Do you really need something bad to happen to someone else to make yourself feel better?

She then sat down to soak in her self-righteous ignorance. I said nothing, but apparently, she wasn’t finished. She had more bloviating from the other side of the wall.

‘I suppose they took that $90 wallet too?’

‘Yes, they just left the purse.’

She tsk tsked, and then said, ‘See? You spent $90 on a wallet and now look where that got you.’

I had had it. So what was that saying exactly? That this was some sort of karmic comeuppance for being frivolous? That someone stole my purse out of my car because I owned a $90 wallet? Not that I need to validate this, but the wallet was a souvenir from Las Vegas. Most people spend a lot more than that on stupid tschotzkes that you never look at again’ I spent it on something that I used every day and enjoyed every time I used it. That’s a wiser use of money than buying a bunch of Las Vegas shot glasses for $13 a piece.


Finally, I said, ‘Well, I had gotten ink on the red wallet, so now I can just get a new one without the ink.’

‘You’re kidding! You’re going to spend ninety dollars again?’

‘Why wouldn’t I? They saved me money when they threw the $160 purse out the window,’ I replied casually.

That pretty much shut her up.

So, to sum up, it wasn’t that bad. They didn’t take anything else out of my car. The CDs are all still there. They didn’t touch the console where my sunglasses and cache of stamps live. They didn’t pop the trunk and take off with anything in there. They just grabbed the purse and went. It could have been so much worse, and instead, a little hassle, a little humility, a little less trust, but otherwise, pretty unscathed.

Until I find out that I’ve somehow taken out seven hundred new credit cards in the next month and have quite the internet porn addiction.

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