Imagine waking up at 5:30a to get ready for work, stumble outside still half asleep and suddenly realize that you don’t remember where you parked your car. Expect, you do remember! And it is not there!
On the morning of Dec 20, 2011 my car was stolen. While the overall experience is something I have learned a great deal from, I can with great confidence tell you all that the moment I realized my car was gone will stand as one of the most surreal experiences of my life. At first I just told myself that I must have parked somewhere else, but I didn’t see it. Then I took my keys out and started hitting my alarm button so that I could follow the beep. But there was no beep. Then, by chance, I glanced across the street and noticed that another vehicle had had it’s windows broken out. It was at this time that I knew my car was gone. But not just my car, because I had just moved in to a new apartment a week earlier and hadn’t unpacked everything yet. Along with my vehicle went my iPod, a suitcase full of clothes, mostly suits and dress shirts, all my sunglasses, my reading glasses, my checkbook, and a plethora of other odds and ends that I knew I would never see again.
My insurance was quick to get me set-up with a rental car and I am still driving that little compact to this very day, 30 days later. I had accepted that my car was gone, and at the 25 day mark so did my insurance company. Apparently after 25 days they were able to call it a “total loss” and finally I could put this all behind me and find something new to buy and drive. I spoke with my insurance man and he told me they were ready to settle and that everything was good to go. Then three hours later I received another phone call. Unlike anything anyone could have predicted, the LAPD had found my vehicle parked in a red zone next to USC the night before. USC, which is ten minutes from my new apartment in Silver Lake, and five minutes from work. I was devastated, and immediately my OCD tendencies kicked in and I felt sick to my stomach over the idea of driving the car that someone else had had their way with for the previous month. I left work early and drove over to the tow yard where my car was being held and what I saw cleared my mind of any idea of driving the vehicle again. It wasn’t my car anymore. The windows had been busted out, bits and pieces had been pulled away, all the electronics were gone, garbage was everywhere, and even worse, it smelled really weird. I salvaged a few pieces of paper work and my reading glasses, said goodbye and walked away.
In hindsight, there is nothing I could have done to prevent the theft. The alarm was on, the windows were rolled up, and it was parked under a streetlight, but these guys knew what they were doing and they took something that did not belong to them. I know that as I stood in the street that morning, 29 years of life lessons raced through my body, and instead of being angry or sad, I just felt bad for the person that did this to me. I just kept thinking about what a sad life they must live and how lucky I was that I had people to turn to for support on such a strange day. In the grand scheme of life’s problems and all the challenges I will face throughout my years, this is merely one sentence in my life’s book, and really not that big of deal at all.
Last weekend, Switch found a replacement car: A 2012 Ford Fusion!