Today as the kids and one of their friends played happily out the back, I sat at my desk looking out the window that overlooks the front of our house and the road.
As I sat there I noticed three young (about 16) guys walk into our street. In any other street this might be an everyday occurrence. In our street it is unusual. We live in a dead end street that has very little traffic and nothing down here unless you are visiting. These boys didn't look like they were visiting. I watched them as they walked a little way past my house then turned around and went to leave again. One suddenly noticed that my car window was open and I saw him reach in. As soon as it happened I knew that he was stealing the iPod that was sitting on my dash board.
I live in a bubble. I am one of those people who acts like they live in the country in the 1950s. I rarely lock my car. I often leave my bag in the car as I pop into the house for an hour. Sure I lock it if I'm not parked at home But that is more because it is what is socially acceptable than any real feeling that I am at risk. And our street has always felt so safe and protected.
I have never had anything stolen before and so had never had my reaction tested. As soon as I saw him leaning into my car I jumped up and screamed out "Oi, get the f**k away from my car" as I started running outside. Unfortunately the front screen was locked (to stop the kids escaping) and it took me a few seconds to get out the front by which time they had gone, as had my iPod.
Next is the bit that shocks me. I jumped in the car and started reversing. My neighbour from across the street ran out and jumped in the car with me while her partner stayed with the kids. I followed the direction they went in and saw them down a side street. We pulled up next to them. It was ridiculous really I don't know what I hoped to achieve, except potentially getting stabbed but I started yelling "just give me my iPod back and I wont call the police" and "I know you have it, I f**king saw you, just give it back" and "you just feel is OK to take other peoples things"
They started saying stuff like "we don't have nothing, don't know what you're talking about lady" and "f**k you lady all we have are biscuits in our pockets". They were pulling their pockets out and showing us, looking as cocky as possible. All the time I'm still yelling. Then one of them said "we put it in the bin" and they all started walking off. My neighbour starts looking in the bins and I'm still yelling "f**k you man, you have no idea how hard other people are doing it and you just take their stuff" to which one replied "well you shouldn't leave your f**king car open then".......
And they are right. I shouldn't leave my car open. The world is not the utopia that I wish it was. It should be, but no amount of wishing that the world was the way I think it should be, will make it so. So after nine or so years in the city, I have finally learnt the lesson that many people have told me one day I would learn the hard way.
And then they were gone, these three boys who taught me a lesson that I guess I needed to learn. We looked in the all of the bins and it wasn't there.
I went home fuming. Firstly at myself, I felt like so naive and foolish. But mostly I was furious at these kids. Not only for taking something of mine but for then lying too my face. I felt so angry at them, where they that smart, vicious and cunning that when surprised by two women yelling at them in the middle of the street they could just make up a quick story and walk off. I called the police not expecting much and then called Andrew and a few friends to vent and cry with.
Andrew got home, then the police arrived and took their time getting as many details as they could. Not thinking they would get anything but lovely and kind never the less. Once they had gone I told Andrew I wanted to walk the street we had confronted them in incase they had thrown it in a garden or something. But he decided to go and 20 minutes later he came home with the iPod.
Shocked to say the least. But the biggest feeling I felt was relief, not at the fact that I had my iPod back, but at the fact that some of my belief in people has been restored. These boys didn't lie to me! For some reason that means more to me than the fact that I got my iPod back. For the hour and a half that fell between the theft and Andrew finding it I felt so angry. I cursed those boys. I hated them and everything that they stood for. I could understand (and even forgive) them stealing from me, I knew that even I had a part to play in that but that lie felt like I was dealing with people so .... bad, that I couldn't even get my head around it.
So my lessons for today:
- DO NOT leave my car open or anything valuable in it.
- I am far more aggressive when angry than is healthy.
- Sometimes being brave (stupid) enough to confront someone leads to a good outcome (they ditched the iPod when they saw my car)
- I am far more forgiving than I thought, unless you lie to me and then I will curse you till I'm blue in the face.
So I hope that me yelling at them and telling them that they were stealing from working class people might strike a nerve (if not that then the fact that two barefooted women are willing to chase them down might). I hope that I remain more aware of myself and my possessions without loosing my faith in man. I hope that if I am ever confronted again I use my head more. I hope those kids grow and learn and find something in this world that changes the path they are on. In the end I still live in a sort of utopia because I believe that all of that is possible.