The freshest car theft ever

Today as I was backing out of my driveway to pick up Smarmy Bastard for a celebratory “welcome back to the U.S.!” breakfast, I caught a glimpse of something blue by the driveway. It was a stack of Eclipse gum packages, and I made a mental note to pick them up and toss them when I got home. Some rude person had jettisoned some old packs, no doubt, knowing the homeowner would pick the litter up.

Then I opened my car’s console and realized: That was my gum.

I‘m well-known among my friends for always having minty gum — as in, Costco quantities of minty gum — in the car. (And for enforcing the “serving size is two pieces” rule if you take some.) My console can hold two dozen packs easily and usually has at least a dozen, as you can see from the photo at right.

So when I saw that the entire left stack was gone, it hit me that someone had been in my car, which for some reason I had not parked in the garage last night.

A quick check revealed that everything appeared to be in its place — all my sunglasses and CDs, my Starbucks and Costco cards, even the cord that connects my iPod to my stereo. No windows had been broken or anything — and I usually lock my doors as part of my parking ritual (including mimicking the beep back to the car as a reply), so this was particularly vexing.

“Who do I know that would get in my car only to take gum out, and put it in a spot where they knew that I would see it? Who is playing with my head?” Smarmy Bastard was the first suspect: He walks his dogs along our house at night, he was back in town, and one evening a few weeks ago we were pulling into the driveway when I noticed something weird in the same corner of the yard. “How did you even see that in the darkness?” he said of what turned out to be a plastic ball. “I just notice things, I guess,” I had replied — so maybe he was testing me?

But then again, what if the doors had been locked? Then someone would have had to have access to the key fob to get in the car. Was Tyra playing a prank?

Both denied involvement, so I spent much of the day mystified — in fact, I heard maybe half of what SB said during breakfast at the restaurant today, because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

“I wonder if that gum is still good,” I mused aloud later — aha! Of course! It would be the ultimate play on “food on the floor” — a dare! (Because, I had picked up the packs of gum and put them back in my car … but was it safe to eat? “If news gets out of me acting crazy, have them check the gum,” I texted Tyra.)

Later today, I discovered the truth of the deal. When I was picking around verifying that everything was indeed there, I noticed an item missing: On the nights we win trivia, we split the money after we reserve $10 that will be used to buy next week’s cards. Because we usually get there first, I’m the one who holds on to that $10. And it was gone.

So, apparently I got lightly burgled; I probably never would have even realized it if it hadn’t been for the gum at the end of the driveway. It’s a good reminder to always make sure your car is locked (and, when possible, garaged), with no valuables inside. This same weekend one of my friends walked out from a bar to discover his window busted and his bowling ball — bowling ball! — stolen, so I think I got off pretty easy, relatively speaking.

And I’m still not sure why I consider a random burglary to be “better” than some gum prankster deliberately messing with my head, but I sorta do. At least this way I can say, “Well, I’m sure they tried every car on the block,” as opposed to someone singling me out for weirdness.

WHAT SAM WORE: 6-24-12
The shirt: V-neck T-shirt by BDG, from Urban Outfitters, Scottsdale.
The shorts: Plaid shorts by Fred & Howard, from Last Chance.
The shoes: Custom All-Stars, which I created on converse.com.
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