I am the perfect victim.
I discovered this recently…the hard way of course, on a long day in early September, the perfect day for the perfect crime.
The sun was shining. The birds were chirping and for once, I was on time.
I guess you could say life was good…until it wasn’t and yes, you can for sure cue that ominous music now.
That’s the way it usually goes, right? One minute you’re coasting down the hill with your pumpkin spice latte in hand, feeling like nothing could go wrong and the next minute, you’re a statistic, plain and simple.
Except nothing in life is simple, not really. Because to outsmart a criminal, you need to think like a criminal. That’s really what it comes down to essentially.
You need to consider the unthinkable, suspend your disbelief and always be one step ahead of the “bad guys”.
I have a hard time finding my shoes on a good day and recently referred to my microwave as the “quick hotter,” so to say I was an easy target for broad daylight robbery could definitely be somewhat of an understatement.
Either way, someone was watching me.
Normally, I would find this flattering, like being carded or mistaken for (Miss Congeniality era) Sandra Bullock, the former of which happened once, not to me but to a friend of mine who I was with and so naturally I considered myself carded by association; and the latter, exactly never.
But this was different, mostly because I never actually saw anyone watching me, and other than that creepy feeling I used to get walking past a painting of Great Aunt Comingtokillmeinmysleep on my way to the bathroom, nothing was really out of the ordinary.
But this time I was holding my pee and my latte and a diaper/ beach bag full of little toy cars and trucks, shovels and buckets, snacks… Jesus, I need a Uhaul to carry all this crap.
I had my keys and a book I’ll never read and sunscreen I’ll never apply and still the birds chirped and the sun shined and I was none the wiser and also quickly distracted by my son who’d fallen off his bike and my phone that had suddenly started ringing and maybe that’s when it happened.
Maybe that was the very moment they seized their opportunity, that moment when I was temporarily distracted by a screaming child and someone named Misty calling with an urgent message from the Federal Bureau of Scam Artists with Stripper Names and so I let my guard down. I got distracted and disarmed and something else with a D… decaffeinated maybe? Because I’d just spent six dollars on a latte that, for all intents and purposes, I was wearing now and so that was the beginning of the end.
Faster than Sandra Bullock driving a bus, they came, they saw, they took and they were good. Man, were they good, like Good Girls good and I’ve always been sort of fascinated by comedy-drama crime or even everyday people in desperate circumstances just trying to afford their pumpkin spice lattes so they don’t have to take on exotic-dancer-aliases-slash-solicit-stay-at-home-moms-via-elaborate-pyramid-schemes and so I wanted to think this was the case.
In my head somehow, I wanted to believe that whoever opened my passenger car door, rifled through my purse and helped herself to a nice little shopping spree on my dime at Nordstrom was just some poor ‘Misty’ who didn’t have the good sense to finish her GED, but I couldn’t quite get there.
I couldn’t quite find it in me to be anything but “pissed.” I cried into the phone, “I’m so pissed off. Of course… yes, of course, I locked it. I’m sure I locked it… am I absolutely sure?… No, I’m not… I’m not absolutely sure of anything.”
I paced up and down the sidewalk in front of Wilton Pizza, trying to placate my son with a bag of Doritos while I debriefed my husband on the unexplained disappearance of “my bank cards, credit card, everything. They took everything. I don’t know who. If I knew…”
I sighed, wishing I were Sandra Bullock or at least someone with half a brain in her head not to leave her purse sitting on the passenger seat of a (swore it was locked) vehicle while she took her son on a playdate but lesson learned, I guess.
At least they left my license, you know (in case anyone tries to card me).
Dear Criminals, if you’re reading this, I’ve got some things to say to you.
Credit cards are not for stealing (and thank you for leaving my vaccination cards, btw).
I know, sometimes we just want what we want and we want it now but you have to remember to ask first. Like, is it okay if I open your Mom Van, rummage through your pocketbook and leave you thousands of dollars in debt in a period of less than an hour?
But, not so much as even a “please.”
So what do you do with the mad that you feel? Or the sad or total lack of impulse control/moral compass/tendencies toward deviant behaviors?
Sometimes it helps to take a deep breath. You can keep holding yours. I’ll let you know when to stop.
Or, (and I’m just throwing out suggestions here), you could gaze into the eyes of Great Aunt Comingtokillmeinmysleep. Trust me, you’ll know fear.
Yes, of course, you can listen to the birds chirping/watch the sun shining, or you can just take a tween-age girl to Nordstrom on your dime and in turn, feel robbed/cured.
So go on and sing, “Take the Money and Run,” just leave the money and walk slowly back to your own vehicle. See how easy that was. Oh, and remember to lock your doors. You can’t be too careful these days.
But above all else, know there’s a special place in hell for people like you where ominous music is always playing and they’re fresh out of pumpkin spice lattes; where Miss Congeniality is set on repeat and you have to hold your pee (like, indefinitely).
Rest assured, Misty will meet you at the gates.
And don’t worry, she’s got your number.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.