Tuesday, September 7, 2004
quote du jour:
"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion... I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I need someone to throw me a buoy... I'm sinking in a big ol' vat of crazy.

Without a doubt, the last week has yielded at least one big story.

Wednesday afternoon, Jessie came to town. We met downtown to see a few sights that needed seeing. We then decided to take in dinner and a movie. Our vehicles were parked in what I thought was a moderately safe place -- near a convention hotel with a lot of folks around. In the name of convenience, I left my truck parked there and we took her car.

The movie (The Door in the Floor) was pretty good. Dinner, however, was a bit problematic. It wasn't anything major, just that a few (desired) menu items weren't available and it took them three tries to get my drink order correct. However, things took a turn for the better when the waiter discounted the tab 20% for our troubles.

When we had left that "moderately safe" downtown parking lot about 6:45 p.m., there were probably 30 vehicles there. When we turned the corner heading to the lot on our way to pick up my truck... there were none.

My firsts thoughts were innocent enough. As we made a lap around the lot, we noticed a sign that said the lot was property of the hotel and that unauthorized vehicles would be towed. I figured that I was the unlucky winner of a tow and I was pretty pissed about it... Pissed at myself for getting into such a situation and pissed at the hotel for towing my truck. Of all the people... why tow me?

I went in and checked with the desk clerk at the hotel. He informed me that the hotel doesn't record the license plates of registered guests (so he wouldn't know an "unauthorized vehicle" if he saw one) and that the hotel hadn't had any vehicle towed that night. Uh-oh. The clerk called the police officer working hotel security to meet me.

As the officer called each of the authorized tow companies in the city on his cell phone, we made the walk back towards the parking lot. As we got closer to where my truck had been parked, we began to run out of companies that could have towed my truck. By the time we made it to the lot, there was only one real option left as to where it had gone.

"I think your truck was right here," the officer said as he looked down at a pile of broken glass. Yes, children... That's right. Some bitches stole my truck.

I'm actually proud of myself for how I handled the whole ordeal. I was calm and level headed. Of course, I'm pretty good at handling ordeals as they come at me... it's the aftermath that usually throws me off course. I filed a report. They "called all cars" and put a description of my truck out to all officers. Of course, I didn't get my hopes up. There is an average of 4 or 5 vehicles stolen in the metro area every day. I figured that I'd seen my truck -- and everything in it -- for the last time.

It was late and during dinner, I had been tired... But there was no way I could do any sleeping after the excitement of the evening. I was totally wired. I paced the room when I was standing and practically paced the chair when I was sitting. In lieu of sleep, Jessie & I drove out to see my dad, who was on duty as a police officer in a neighboring community.

After we rehashed the entire evening and he bitched about aspects of his work and I bitched about aspects of mine and we bored the living hell out of Jessie, it was 2:30 a.m. She had to be at work the next morning and I needed a car. We knew we could take care of both in Smallville as my mom temporarily has two cars (she's trying to sell one). So, we headed in that direction. Sleep finally took over around 5 a.m.

* * * * *

I'd long since had the wheels of insurance claims in motion when I got word through a friend Thursday afternoon that my ride had been found. It seems that the police found my truck abandoned, called my work trying to find me, one of the guys on duty then called a friend of mine who called me to see how bad the damage was. It's funny how communication works sometimes.

A call to the police department confirmed that they had found my truck and it had been towed to the impound yard. Jessie & I rushed to make the hour and a half trip back to Franklin to pick it up before the yard closed for the day. After forking over $138 in tow, storage & administrative fees, we got to lay eyes on Leroy the Wonder Truck. At first, I was sorry that it had been found.

The truck was, for the most part, okay. The front passenger window had been busted out to gain entry, my six-disc changer was ripped out and my CD case with 40-some-odd CDs was gone. The Wal-Mart sack I'd been using for a trash bag was dumped in the floor and anything that had been in the truck somehow ended up in the passenger floor board. Broken glass was in every spot you ever knew existed in a vehicle and some spots that you didn't. As an added bonus, they left me with the remnants of the BBQ chips, the tupperwear container of Skittles and the K-mart soda that they had brought with them while joy riding in Leroy.

Seriously, I was not nearly as happy as I should have been on the ride from the impound yard. I even told the insurance man as much on the phone. "I know you're happy, but if they ever steal it from me again," I told him. "I hope they take it somewhere and burn it." Sure, I was probably shooting my mouth of just a bit... But having someone break into your truck, litter it up, steal stuff out of it and then dump it in the ghetto sort of makes you feel like crap. At first, my truck didn't feel like mine anymore... it was soiled... it was tainted... it had bad juju.

The bad juju started to slip away as I spent a handful of quarters at the carwash vacuuming the broken glass, Skittles and chips from my truck. Conditions improved even more when I had the glass replaced Friday. When they are able to replace the plastic molding ripped out when the bitches stole my CD changer and then replace the changer itself... Well, maybe then everything will feel back to normal. At least, that's what I'm shooting for.

* * * * *

In the end, I know that I'm blessed in many ways. For starters, I had an overwhelming urge to take my camera out of my truck before we left for dinner. I'm glad I listened to that urge. That was a $500 decision in my favor. Also, they did find my truck in one piece. Although the karma wasn't all good when I was reunited with Leroy, I can only imagine how frustrating the process would be if insurance had to purchase a vehicle to replace it. And, in the end, it's all just stuff. Stuff can be replaced. It sucks monkey balls to have someone steal it... but everyone lives to see another day. And although it's sometimes a hard reality to see, that's all that really matters.

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