January 04, 2012

Shattered But Not Broken

I walked out of my apartment building this morning as usual, late as usual, but as I approached my parked car by the curb, something seemed off.

I hadn't left the window open all night, had I?

No, the window wasn't rolled down. It wasn't there anymore.

"Oh. Shit."

I looked around, across the street, up and down the block, but the neighborhood was quiet, as usual. No witnesses. No onlookers or bystanders.

Nothing but broken glass. Everywhere.

Oh shit.

I approached the car, jagged shards of glass now looking an eerie sea blue color poking out from the door frame. My inner crime scene investigator told me not to touch anything.

I called my boss.

"I gotta stay and take care of this..." I said, drawing the sentence out too long, as though each word carefully deliberated, one at a time. "I' I guess I call the police?"

"Yes, call the police," she said.

"Hm, how do I do that? When it's not an emergency? I only know 911."

"Oh just call 911!" she said. "What are you worried about?!"

Not wanting to detract from others that may have real urgent problems, I dialed 911 and said, "It's not an emergency, but I need the police."

"OK, where are you?" the operator said, somewhat alarmed.

I eventually got transferred to the Beverly Hills police, who dispatched an officer to the scene of the crime while I waited in the sun, kind of glad I wasn't in the office yet with the summer weather that had greeted us this first week back after the holidays.

Officer Kim looked puzzled as he questioned me.

"It's odd," he said, "Because usually this sort of thing happens on the driver's side. People drive by and throw stuff, smash stuff up. But on this side? In this neighborhood? Strange."

"Yeah I know!" I said. "We're in Beverly Hills! Why my car?"

Then he looked at me, squinting in the sun, smiling out of the side of his mouth. "You don't have any angry ex-boyfriends, do you?"

"I don't have any ex-boyfriends..." I grumbled.

"Any beefs with anyone?"

I had to think for a second. I could think of some women who might not be too happy with me. But none who would know where I live or which car was mine...Right?

"I don't think so...?"

"OK so we'll just call this vandalism," he said, as he pulled out a stick - his nightstick? baton? - and started to clear the large fragments from the frame.

But I still couldn't help but feeling that I'd somehow been targeted. My street is always full of parked cars. Why my little hatchback? Why not the BMW or Lexus or sportscar models that speak more to the neighborhood in which we reside? And how could someone have shattered the window so greatly - with a tire-iron? crowbar? - and then not have taken anything inside - not my GPS unit, my Amy Winehouse CD,  or the most valuable item, my Beverly Hills parking pass?

After the responding officer left, and I called in a claim to my insurance, retrieved my packed lunch from my apartment, and a towel to sit on to protect my rear from all the broken glass, I approached the driver's side and stopped short. Aha! The weapon! A medium-sized, smooth rock sat nestled on the floor near the gas pedal, resting from the trip it had taken sailing through the passenger-side window.

And then I imagined the scenario: drunken cohorts stumbling down a dark, empty street on a Tuesday night, egging each other on, grabbing the first missile they could find, a hefty landscaping stone from some condo's front lawn. Perhaps they engaged in a heated debate as to how the assailant would launch the missile: an underhand softball toss, a windmill pitch, or an over-the-shoulder shotput throw.

And although I can relate to the foolishness of youth, the misaligned intentions under the influence of alcohol, all I could say while gazing at the debris that surrounded my car this morning was, "People do horrible things."

You can't stop people from doing horrible things, but you can call the police, file a report, file an insurance claim, call the glass guy and have him come fix your window while parked at the office, pay him $184, and make the whole thing go away.

Until the next time.

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