baptism by snow, crime and christmas

Posted on December 25, 2008


anyone who is familiar with my writing conventions (this most honorable cohort might be all of two people at most) can proceed to pick his or her jaw off the ground. as you can see in the title of the blog post, the serial (or for you vampire weekend fans, oxford) comma is missing. though I’ve always been fond of it, I decided to go a bit wild as the year draws to a close. let’s see if I can avoid it in this post.

for the past 12 days or so (half the days I’ve lived here!), portland has been treated to extreme weather, relatively speaking, of course. temperatures have ranged from the lowers-20s to the lower-30s, and there’s been a crazy amount of snow. when local news stations start devoting a special graphic intro to their news segments about the weather – which, by the way, has been just short of non-stop – you can tell things are getting out-of-hand.

snow on my street

snow on my street! p.s. it got WAY more extreme

one of the reason I moved to Portland was for a change from the perpetual summer that is san diego weather, and hell, did I get what I asked for. as a native californian, I am not used to this magical winter dust, but it’s been fun nonetheless.  I’m aware that this snowy haven won’t last (bring it on, rain. i’m ready for you), but I’ve enjoyed it more than not. being snowed in isn’t all that fun, especially jobless and without roommates for a while, but it’s not all that bad either. during the days I’ve been stuck inside, I’ve taken my woeful 49ers to the super bowl via madden ’07, baked cookies (oh no. no one to eat them except me. oh well!),

made these while drinking that. being snowed in isn't all that bad!

made these while drinking that. being snowed in isn't all that bad!

watched movies, and even worked out. alright, so walking up and down the stairs isn’t an official workout, but it’s better than the extreme sitting I’d be doing otherwise.

as I’ve always believed, there’s an aspect of vitalization to the cold, crisp air. so unlike other people, I’ve supremely enjoyed bundling up and taking walks through the biting air and snow, whether it be to a coffee shop or a grocery store.

but hey, why walk when I could drive in the comfort of my car, lovingly named Rene Russo since 2005? well, it’s tough to drive anywhere when your car is stolen(!). yes, it took only 16 days of my life in a new state to have my car purloined. the funny thing about snow is that it makes it easy to notice when things are missing, thanks to the big dry spot of black asphalt sticking out like barbara streisand at a sarah palin rally (I don’t care if this reference is dated. it works. kinda.) amongst pure white serenity and order.

sigh, I miss you, Rene Russo.

sigh, I miss you, Rene Russo.

it’s been a pretty surreal experience, mostly because I’ve always been of the “it’ll never happen to me” persuasion, despite the fact that the honda accord is always near the top of every “most frequently stolen vehicles” list. I’m now a week removed from the incident – no, it hasn’t been recovered yet – so I’ve had some time to reflect and have broken down the anatomy of finding your car has been stolen.

The Anatomy of Finding out Your Car’s Been Stolen, in 7 Parts

  1. Unsuspection – not a real word, but I majored in sociology and communication, so I can make it up and legitimize it at the same time. the basic groundwork for having your car stolen is to not suspect your car will be stolen. you can be thinking about anything else: the merits of advil liqui-gels vs. tablets, your electric bill, the possibility of going through life with a sheep-shaped birthmark without ever knowing it, angles. anything but the prospect of having your own car taken from you.
  2. Realization and subsequent double-take – so eventually you notice the car is gone. like happy endings and talking animals, double-takes are common in movies, but not so much in real life. however, when you notice that the specific space of the universe in which your car was last parked is definitely empty,  double-take will occur. if I had been drinking something, I’m sure I would have done a spit-take. the spit-take probably would have been weak and pathetic, but I would’ve followed through with it.
  3. Panic – initially, this particular shade of panic is somewhere between I-lost-my-wallet panic and hmm-my-house-seems-to-be-burning panic. contacting the police is a given, but now there’s that pesky, forced issue of discretion: is this an emergency, or a non-emergency? for the record, a stolen car is a non-emergency; the emergency dispatcher told me so.
  4. Self-appointment of Sainthood – “why me? I’m not a racist. why me? I brush my teeth an appropriate number of minutes. why me? I don’t have a job. why me? I recycle. why me? I’ve contributed to charitable organizations. I gave money to greenpeace, for gee’s sake. GREENPEACE! why me? I know what fair trade is, I think. why me? I hate starbucks like I should. why me? I don’t wear brown shoes with black pants or wear ties with stripes the same width of the stripes on the shirt. why me? I’m a freaking saint!”
  5. Resignation – as long as the police report is filed and you’ve no plans of drinking the vigilante kool-aid, there’s nothing left to do except start the whole insurance claims process. it’s out of your hands, kid.
  6. Resignation regression – even when there’s nothing left to do except wait, every walk through the streets turns into a subconscious search. every car you see that’s the same color of your precious is hope for recovery. every car that has its license plate bent just the way you bent yours when you ran into that shopping cart at Ralph’s in La Jolla is reason to believe. basically, you never really give up. you become hellbent on resolution like mel gibson in Ransom (aptly co-starring Rene Russo).
  7. Recovery – see, I told you that you never really give up.

but hey, a car is a car, just like a shoe is a shoe and a CD is CD (for however much longer they exist). my dad lovingly did his best Vonnegut impression by writing in an e-mail to me, “this is the life,” which, of course, translates from Konglish to English as “so it goes.” and yeah, this is just the way things have chosen to unfold, and I will, likewise, choose how I will unfold in the aftermath. The car is gone for now. So it goes.

today is christmas. my surroundings are covered in snow. I’m not with family today but I love them more than ever. my wonderful friends are elsewhere, but my life is filled with their love, support, and good tidings.  and lastly, a reason to love, hope and trudge on in the world we know today:

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.

merry christmas, y’all.

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