Last winter, my car was stolen. Or was it…?
I had been holed up in my apartment for two days as the latest snowstorm raged outside, dumping white powder all over the city and causing the sky to go dark at 4pm. I curled up on my couch to watch the snowflakes blowing diagonally in front of our windows, and I thought to myself that the extra charge for underground parking was finally paying off, since my car was being protected from the savage elements.
After two days, the clouds finally vanished and allowed the sun to make its daily appearance. Since I can handle snow that has settled the ground far better than I can handle it when its airborne, I decided to venture outdoors, perhaps even drive to the grocery store to replenish my food supply. I took the elevator down to the garage and stepped out, fiddling with my keys. When I looked up towards my designated parking spot, I stopped in my tracks – literally – because it was EMPTY.
My mind started working overtime as my body stood frozen; I knew that I had obviously not driven anywhere in the last two days, but the garage could be accessed by anyone who lived in the building, and there had been many recent reports of bikes being stolen from the garage, so…. clearly, someone from my building had STOLEN MY CAR. My mind latched onto this horrifying conclusion as I fumbled with my phone and managed to place a call to my roommate. When she picked up, I was still standing in the exact same spot in the garage, still staring at my miserably vacant parking space.
“Um, Laura? I’m in the garage, and…my car’s not here. It’s GONE.”
Laura told me later that at this moment she was trying not to burst out laughing. She delicately encouraged me to retrace my steps. “When did you last drive it?”
“I haven’t gone anywhere for two days! I’ve been in the apartment! The last time I drove anywhere was before the snowstorm, when I went to the locker room to – oh.”
It all came back to me. I had driven to the gym straight from a doctor appointment and parked on a nearby street. When I left the gym, I had walked back to my apartment, which was only a couple blocks away. I had left my car parked on that street for two days, alone in the cold as the snowstorm raged, alone outside as I sat on my couch and patted myself on the back for having underground parking.
I hung up on Laura and ran out of the garage and across the street (ok that’s such a falsehood, I just walked really fast) and found my poor little mini-SUV parked right where I left it. It was covered in snow. I placed my hand on the hood – or rather, slightly above the snow-covered hood – and apologized. “I’m sorry, Chester…” (My car’s name is Chester.) I then brushed off all the snow with my bare hand to punish myself for being so absent-minded.
I wish I could say this is the only time I’ve misplaced something and immediately assumed it’s been stolen. Just this week I came into my living room and discovered that my laptop had disappeared from the coffee table where I left it. My heart dropped because I knew the only explanation was that my home must have been invaded while I was in the shower. I checked my purse on the couch and was relieved to find that the burglars had not taken my wallet. I decided to have a look around the house just to make sure everything else was in order. When I returned to the living room I did a double take at the coffee table because there, covered in its tasteful array of stickers, was my laptop. I pondered this for a moment and decided not to worry myself with what had actually happened (cough nothing cough cough). I then returned to what had been occupying my time before I came into the living room in the first place: searching for my phone. Maybe that girl I ran into at the coffee shop snagged it…