Monday, January 7, 2008

It's not your grandmother's town anymore...

I just wrote a comment to a friend who was a victim of credit card fraud. I wrote the fact that my grandmother never locked her house a day in her life, and never took the keys out of the ignition of her car. Naively, I thought I still lived in that world. It was such a rude awakening the day after Christmas when I took my trash to the road and found my car gone.

My grandmother's town didn't even have a police department. On the odd chance something happened, they called the next town over and they sent a patrol car. My grandmother's most pressing problem as mayor of that town was getting running water to every house in town. Many people still relied on well water. They never had to deal with crime of any sort other than the out-of-towners speeding through downtown on their way to an Auburn football game.

Imagine my shock, when already numb from the holidays, I walked out to find my beloved Honda CR-V gone! The nicest car I had ever owned. I stood there a few minutes as this was all processed by my somewhat dimwitted brain. Stolen car? Here? It forever changed my virgin view on crime and punishment. No longer would I go to sleep with my keys in my front and back door. Everyone who walked by my house looked suspicious when they once looked harmless. I began to take notice of my possessions and my very acute lack of money and ability to replace them. I was a victim of one of the hardest lessons in life: that people will want and take what you have. It is a lesson I hope I don't have to learn again and that I hated to have to learn in the first place. It felt like the first time I realized there was no Santa when I caught my father bringing in the gifts midnight Christmas eve. I am 35 years old and still just becoming an adult. Let's hope my more senile years prove more forgiving. I don't think I can take many more lessons like that. It's not your grandmother's town anymore. 


marykay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynette said...

I hope your car is in good shape. Most of us expect that most people are good decent folks. I think we all go along that way until someone steals from us or does us some other harm that makes us put up our defenses again.

Upsy-Downsy said...


This is the first time I have left a comment on your blog. I have been following it for a couple of months...I really enjoy reading about you, your life, and your friends.

I do agree with you about towns not being safe any longer (or for quite awhile). I used to live in a very small town in the west (5,000 population. And even up until about 1983 or so...we used to go to bed at night with both inside doors left wide open so we could get a cross breeze in the hot summer nights. Of course we locked the screen doors.

I just shudder now at the thought of us doing that. But those were the "good ole days" and everyone was the "salt of the earth" type of people. What went wrong?

Jenni said...

Just don't let adult cynicism replace that childlike innocence. You're a trusting person. That's not entirely a bad thing. Temper it with wisdom. You know things like this can happen and you are prepared now. It doesn't mean you have to hold everyone suspect.


you are thoughtful and you enjoy peace and dreams, there is nothing wrong with that.
Life and lessons, I still feel like I'm not deserving to be 33, but rather a teenager..maybe that's from being teased..I don't "deserve" to know more. ;)
almost 49!

Blue Gardenia said...

My house is always unlocked and we haven't had a problem in 14 years. This town still has virtually no crime, The 5 years I lived in Ga. proved that crime and violence was very, very prevelant. When I lived in NYC people tried to break in my apartment constantly. Drugs and poverty and a poverty of spirit increase crime. Pardon me for saying so, but could this have been an "inside job?" Perhaps one of your aquaintances from town needed a car for a short time and decided to help themselves? No matter. But be leary and watch what you say down at the convenience store. I'm paranoid and sometimes it is healthy.

PipeTobacco said...


Someone stole your car. I could be a horrible, wretched person who did it to try to sell as parts. Or, it could have just as easily have been taken by a foolish teen on a joy-ride. Or, it could have been taken by someone desperate for transportation who used poor judgement.

What I am saying, is that (at least right now) you do not know the motives of the person who stole your vehicle. It WAS NOT right for it to have been stolen... but, you need not let this event change your perspective about people and life. People, by and large, ARE good and decent and kind. This crime need not alter your belief in that.

I do think it is always appropriate, whether needed or not to lock your doors on homes and vehicles... it gives you privacy as well as security... against crime, but also against unwanted prying into your business by anyone.

So, try to take this event with a grain of salt, if you can. You ARE getting your vehicle back. I suspect it will have very little if any damage. I suspect it will likely be pretty much like you left it other than probably the gas tank will be empty.

You should have a very nice day tomorrow, even if it is tedious going through the hoops to get the vehicle back.

Your friend,


Kelly Jene said...

You're right. I was in shock when I went to visit my brother when he lived in Fairbanks Alaska. People there are how people here Used to be. Due to the freezing weather, they leave their cars running while they go into the grocery store. Now, yes, its out of necessity, but nothing happens. It amazed me.
My husbands ex owns a bead shop and it got broken into last night and over 6k of beads was stolen. Its sad, so very sad. But something for all of us to be aware of.

2sunset said...

Yes, indeed we live in different times don't we?

However, there are always good people wherever you are - Its just hard not to let the turkeys get us down isn't it?

I am so very happy for you getting your car back. Keep us posted on its condition.
your Canuck friend.

alyceclover said...

We lock ourselves in when we lock our doors to lock other people out some guy told me once. When we were kids doors were left unlocked during daytime hours. I do not think we left keys in the cars though.

This reminded me of something I forgot from before I went homeless. I was doing an experiment by leaving my door unlocked when I went to the corner store. I was paranoid about my neighbors in that building. So it was a test and no one every walked in and stole.

It also reminded me of the time I left the keys in the ignition. I came out of the store with groceries and said: great. No problem, tho'. I had left the driver's side window open and just reached in and unlocked the door.

Perfect theft opportunity for someone. Glad you got the car back.

anonymous said...

At least the thief was smart enough to lock the car. LOL.

Are the cops watching the car to make sure the thief doesn't come back and move it? ... remember the thief still has the key to your car.

justLacey said...

Ssadly you are so right. Several years ago I came home from work to find my front door kicked in and my home ransacked. I actually lived in a condo with people around all day and walking by so this happened in the middle of the day. You think anyone called the police? It was scary as I lived alone with my daughter who was maybe 7 or 8 at the time. Since that time I have also been a victim of someone stealing my debit card info and using it. Found out on my birthday that year. How nice. I hope you never have to go through anything like this again. It is so disheartening.

Cheryl said...

Having never lived in a small town, I grew up differently. I've always lived in the suburbs, where we grew up with locked doors, and that's what's normal to me. I'm sorry that you have experienced this harsher reality of life. There's bad people everywhere, in good and bad neighborhoods. Most people don't get robbed. I'm so sorry it happened to you.