Thursday, August 07, 2003

"What kind of sick bitch steals the ice cube trays?"--Tom Arnold in "True Lies":

As I write this, I'm more than a little creeped out. (And no, not just because I find myself quoting the former Mr. Barr.)

My car was broken into last night. At first, I thought that the glove compartment had fallen open, because its contents were strewn on the passenger side floor. Then I realized that my seats were pushed back, my armrest was upended, my emergency flashlight was smashed and its batteries flung about, and--the kicker--my ashtray was ajar and its cigarette lighter was missing.

What the fuck?

I live in an ostensibly safe neighborhood--whatever that means--but this is the eighteenth time that my building's garage has been broken into in the twelve years that I've lived here. This incident is particularly unnerving because: 1) It's the first time my car has been hit, and 2) There were no signs of forced entry.

Now, I drive a thirteen year old tan Topaz. My friends call it "the county vehicle"; my brother calls it, "that piece of crap you embarass us with." It's a litmus test in my social circle: my pals who are lawyers, teachers, and architects gibe, "Did you lose a bet?", while my writer and actor cohorts ask, "Can I get a ride?"

The thing is, I like my little car. I love to get dressed up, but I can't get worked up over the vehicle in which I'm seen. The Topaz--or "the Paz", as I've affectionately dubbed it--is delightfully utilitarian. It's perfect for lugging props to and from rehearsal, and if phad thai leaks through its to-go box and onto the floor mats, it just doesn't matter.

So, why, in a garage filled with new model BMWs, Acuras, and a gorgeous vintage Mercedes, would someone spend the time and effort to trash what's clearly an inferior auto with nothing of value inside? (It sports *a tape deck* for God's sake.)

The police officer who took the report believes it's an inside job. This isn't the first break-in we've experienced where there were no signs of forced entry. As he put it, "You live on a main road with nothing *but* cars parked outside. Why bother breaking into your building to steal when there's so much to steal right outside?"

Why, indeed. I know that this is, thankfully, just a property crime. But I also know that some sick fuck--possibly an acquaintance--is walking around with my cigarette lighter. It's never been used--I don't smoke--but I sure as hell hope they get burned.

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