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Car break-ins, revisited

July 18, 2013

A couple of people have asked me about the writing sample I used for my application. Please enjoy my story.

Anyone who has befriended a dancer knows that we don’t have much time for a social life. My Friday nights are usually cut short because of Saturday morning rehearsals. It was one such Saturday rehearsal that made me grumpy, but I didn’t know that there was greater drama hiding around the corner.

Sweaty and hungry from 3 hours of dance, at 1:00 pm I grumbled and walked to my car in Osborne Village. I was juggling a dance costume, stacks of DVDs (I work in video; this is totally normal), a coffee mug, and an awkward purse.

I dumped these items in my car, frustrated that my stack of DVDs wouldn’t stand up. My grumpiness turned to shock when I reached for the driver’s door handle. I could see through the window… What is that? Broken glass?!?

Though I had not noticed immediately, it became suddenly clear that my passenger front door window had been smashed. The CD slot and glove box were open, obviously rifled through. My car is like a giant purse: a collection of odd, useful-maybe-someday objects. Tupperware containers, the cutest rainbow umbrella ever, a spool of thread, a clamp… Miraculously, nothing was taken. The thief didn’t want my Sufjan Stevens CD?

When I called my dad to tell him the news, he asked about the trunk and my stomach dropped. I had a tripod in there, worth probably about $1500. I approached the trunk with dread, unlocked it, lifted the lid slowly… and sighed when I saw the tripod sitting there innocently.

The 2001 Honda Civic has an interesting feature. There is a trunk release near the driver’s seat, but it has a lock. As soon as I bought the car, I locked it and grew accustomed having to park and turn off the car every time I needed to get into the trunk. Not convenient for quick drop-offs, but all the eye-rolls my friends gave me were worth it in the end: that trunk is locked down, the best tool for a videographer on the go.

What a learning experience! Yeah, your day was bad, but you’re lucky the car wasn’t stolen, or anyone injured.

However, that strange feeling of accomplishment, like you’ve had a life experience that is minorly significant? It fades pretty fast. For me, it diminished as soon as I had to drive with shards of safety glass on the seat next to me. I had carefully plucked any remaining bits from the window, but the fear of glass flying in my eyes remained with me on the 20-minute ride home. The guy at the shop says I’ll be finding glass bits for years.

A busted window is more than an inconvenience. One week and one large deductible later, I can finally rejoin my friends at all the cool parties. I learned that being unable to securely lock your car makes me into even more of a shut-in (on the days I’m not at rehearsal).

So, tonight, I guess I’ll just have to sit at home and watch Twin Peaks. Shucks, so much for a social life.

Posting this reminds me…

Two weeks ago I was walking down Arthur Street. It was about 9 pm, not dark out, not deserted.

I passed a patch of broken safety glass near the curb. A few meters away, I could see a man standing by his SUV, standing in his own pile of broken glass, looking forlorn.

My heart went out to him – I had just experienced the same thing one month ago.

My mom taught me to be cautious here, but I regularly discover that this area is safer than it seems.

My building (RRC’s residence) is tucked kiddie corner to the cop shop (at least for a few months more). There are multiple SafeWalk programs around, and our security (full of really great people) works 24/7 to ensure our safety.

But still, violence and theft occur here. I have been very lucky so far (not to jinx it), with the warm weather and abundant events drawing crowds to the area. It seems to me that what makes streets unsafe is leaving them empty.

In my mind, by being here and being active outside of my building, I am preventing possible crimes. The more people who walk with me, the better.

Also, thanks, Mom, for looking out for me.