Just the other day, as the kids and I headed to our car parked outside the library, my son darted ahead then stopped dead in his tracks. He whipped back around to me and yelled, “MOM! THERE’S SOMEONE IN OUR CAR!”
We drive the same car as half of our state and have been known, as an entire family, to circle around another person’s vehicle before realizing it is not ours. That said, for a split second I figured he was just looking at the wrong one.
Nope. In my drivers seat, as though his stupid face belonged there, sat a man I’d never seen in my life. He immediately jumped out saying, “oh my god! Is this your car? I was waiting for my buddy! He has the same car seat for his kid. Oh man! I’m sorry!”
I forgot to lock it. I never forget to lock it. I got distracted and walked away.
Because I was still recovering from the cortisol spike of finding A GOD DAMN STRANGER SITTING IN MY CAR, I stood there in disbelief as he stammered on. He stepped aside as I ducked into my car and observed two things:
1. Judging by my open glove box, this bag of dicks is TOTALLY RIPPING ME OFF.
2. My car is so littered with my kids shit that I have no idea if he took anything and what it might be. (I’m also sorry he didn’t get deeper into the job and contract Ebola from its source: under my child’s car seat)
I emerged from the car wearing my patented “I’m castrating you with my eye beams” face. He decided that would be the point at which he needed to up his lying game what with my children’s stares boring holes in him and the realization that I wasn’t buying his bullshit.
He pulled out of his pocket what I can only assume was a phone he lifted from the last car he planted his skanky ass in and proceeded to “make a phone call”.
“You own this car?” he asked, balls ablaze.
I rolled my eyes back into my skull and dryly answered, “YES.”
“Hey. So, what was that license plate again? Yup. That’s it. You’re sure this is the one? She says she owns it. Do you have those repo papers? Well she’s standing here with her two kids. Ok. Well, she says she owns it. I’m not touching it. Ok. Bye.”
“That was a stellar performance but you’re full of shit. On top of that, if you were legit repoing my car, which is NOT EVEN A REMOTE POSSIBILITY, there’s no reason to be IN MY CAR.”
He followed up his last performance with a new one of shock that I was accusing such a stand up citizen of lying through his teeth. As he tried to concoct his next move, the owners of the car parked next to mine returned. Initially they started to slip into their car and ignore the confrontation that was occurring until I loudly spoke the words, “I’m telling you that I’m INCREDIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE finding someone I DON’T KNOW SITTING IN MY CAR.”
As though I’d pressed rewind, the couple instantly got out of their car to check in.
“You don’t know him?
“No. I’ve never seen him in my life.”
“Are these your children?”
As I involve them in deciphering what the fuck just happened, the thieving pile of horseshit began walking away turning around every few feet to watch me.
I should have called the police right then. I don’t know why I didn’t. I still couldn’t really wrap my brain around what had just happened and my iphone, which has apparently been beamed with a self destruct laser since the new ones were released, was only a couple battery percentages away from dead.
I should have taken his photo. I take photos of EVERYTHING. I choked. But who knows. Maybe if I had whipped out my phone he’d have choked me.
The couple stayed as I scanned my car to see if he’d taken anything or left anything behind. At that point, I didn’t think so. When I told them I was fine and heading a block away to where I knew I could track down an officer, they left.
I realized the next day, he made off with my son’s ipod. The one that never leaves the house but happened to the day before and I forgot. The one he’s meticulously cared for for the last three years. The one with hilarious voice memos of him belting unrelenting nonsense until his father or I lose it and yell in the background “GO OUTSIDE IF YOU HAVE TO DO THAT!”
Since that day, I’ve lost track of how many times my 3 year old has asked if I locked the car.
“Mama, I’m sawy that man was in our car. I’m sawy. If I see him, I’m gonna fight him. I’m gonna pinch him. With a baseball bat. He’s not nice.”
This past summer, I dragged four kids to the beach a block away in our rusty old wagon. I made it halfway before I realized I had forgotten the lock to secure it at the top of the stairs. Turning back with the cast of the Little Rascals in tow was not an option and what sort of wet fart steals a child’s wagon?
A wet fart walked through my neighborhood that day. Two hours later when four hot, hungry, and tired kids trudged to the top of the stairs, it was gone. My 9 year old, who can not process injustice whatsoever, bursts into tears and shouts, “WHEN I FIND WHO STOLE IT, I’M GOING TO STEAL THEIR EYES!”
(I swear my children are not being raised in the mafia.)
In the grand scheme of things, I’m lucky these are the worst offenses my kids have experienced. As Louis CK has brilliantly pointed out, only in this country are we afforded the luxury of deciding when our children find out about what soul sucking pit the world can be. I’ve had simple discussions with my son about what war is. He doesn’t live in a neighborhood torn apart by bombs. The only time we’ve spoken about rape is when I’ve said, “uh, that’s not how you spell the word ‘wrap’.”
“what does it spell?”
“Do you want some hot chocolate?”
It’s true. We are very, very, very, fortunate people.
But it doesn’t mean I don’t hope someone pinches those scumbags with a baseball bat. And steals their eyes.