Saturday, October 21, 2017

I guess the best of Dorothy Parker isn't good enough.

Our car gets broken into about every six weeks.

For the most part our neighborhood is fairly safe.  I'm not nervous walking our dog at night.  Our street dead ends into the railroad tracks a block away from our house so there isn't a lot of through traffic that direction.  We have nice neighbors.  I don't feel scared in or around our house.  (Although there was a carjacking on our corner a few months ago, but I'm still more nervous about running into a skunk than a criminal.)

Our garage only holds one car, so we tend to park the minivan inside, and the sedan in the driveway by the alley.  We can't keep a garage door opener in the sedan because then someone could use that to break into the whole garage and they might take, I don't know, our kites or a rake or something.  We tend to keep the doors to the car unlocked simply because I'd rather deal with people rifling through everything than a smashed window, but it's still annoying.

I don't know if it's the same person or group who does a regular round of rummaging through cars on our block, or if it varies, but they always go through it the same way.  We come out in the morning to find all the compartments wide open and everything a more jumbled mess than usual.  I mostly get pissed off if they leave a door open enough to keep the dome light on which runs down the battery.  Our last car they used to steal the radio out of over and over, but that hasn't happened in years (probably because there's not much of a market for them anymore).  Lately nothing gets taken that we've noticed.  They leave the change on the floor, they don't want pens or the car owner's manual, and last week they even rejected our GPS which we'd accidentally left in the bin between the front seats and they dumped it on the floor mat.

There is not much of value in our car, but when it's rifled through, there is one thing we always check for.

A few years ago, for no apparent reason, my uncle gave us a copy of The Best of Dorothy Parker while we were giving him a ride.  The most convenient place to put it at the time was the glove compartment, where there it still resides.  Occasionally when waiting in the car for long stretches I will pull it out and start it again, but it always ends up back in the glove box.

The thieves have never taken The Best of Dorothy Parker.

Silly thieves.  I'd have more respect for them if they did.  My favorite Dorothy Parker story is of the time she was challenged to use "horticulture" in a sentence and she responded with, "You can can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think."  I have no idea if that quote is in the book.  I've never been stuck in the car alone long enough while not driving to check.

I think Dorothy Parker would have been pleased to know that she helps us to laugh at this regular annoyance.  Every time I come in the house and tell the kids someone broke into our car again they always scowl at the audacity of it, but then one of them (usually Quinn) perks up and says, "But did they take The Best of Dorothy Parker?" and I always report, no, they did not, and we shake our heads at their missed opportunity.

I'm thinking of picking up a security camera next time we spot an affordable one.  I mostly want to see if they are using our car as a reading room, and maybe they keep coming back to read one more chapter of our glove compartment book.  If they finish it I can swap it out for a biography of Jack Benny I have lying around.


  1. I applaud you for making something joyful and funny out of what must be an enormous annoyance, at the very least. And now I want to read more Dorothy Parker.