Today, Josh and I joined a San Francisco-based club with relatively open membership, no annual dues and no joining fee. Sounds pretty cool, right?
Actually, nay. It's not.
We did have a non-traditional joining fee, which happened to be all of our belongings within arm's length of the passenger rear vent window. I only know the exact name of this window, because I've been on the phone with Travelers Insurance so much lately.
Anyways, this club we joined has more than 25,000 members who have had their vehicle broken into in San Francisco this year. This number is actually from 2015, but local news shows there has been an increase of car break-ins by more than 75%. In the Mission District, property crime has spiked even higher to 135% so far in 2017. It's a complicated and controversial topic, so I'll just stick with my personal experience.
Here's what happened.
After a meeting at the local children's hospital, I decided to take a long lunch break to enjoy the city and unwind at a popular local attraction. We parked our beloved FIAT 500 at the corner of Page and Gough Streets across from KitTea Cat
Cafe, a Japanese-style tea house.
Yes, it sounds a tad bougie when there are free stray cats to pet in the streets of most major cities, but give-a-girl one of her little pleasures.
After playing with adoptable cats, playing a weird Crazy Cat Lady boardgame, sipping unlimited sencha and feeling generally blissful about life (see other Blog Post for more details!), Josh had the great idea to visit a secret urban slide down the road, which required folded cardboard boxes as makeshift sleds.
Josh learned about the adult-friendly Seward Street Slides from Atlas Obscura, one of our favorite travel websites for roadside attractions, interesting museums and other offbeat local wonders.
Here's a photo of me with my dumpster spoils
before I noticed the car damage
I saw a dumpster with clean cardboard boxes neatly stacked and grabbed one for each of us. Before we headed to the slide, I wanted to put a few things in the car and that's when I noticed the broken green glass and the open passenger rear vent window. And thus, we were ushered into a very popular society here in the Mission District of San Francisco!
After heaving sobs upon recognition that my travel journal was among the items taken, I took to the alley to see if any of the local homeless encampments had seen anything. No, they hadn't. Josh came running after me to make sure I was safe and not getting myself into trouble. Thankfully, he knows me very well.
We searched in every dumpster within a half mile or so, but nothing turned up. Filed a police report at the San Francisco Police Department on 17th and Valencia. Josh made me laugh when we filled out our claims report as he dictated into his phone,
"We were broken into and robbed outside of the KitTea Cat Cafe, while we sipped unlimited artisanal green tea for two hours and paid $40 to play with someone else's cats. Even though we have one at home. The thieves will say we deserved it."
I burst out laughing and smiled at the thought. Maybe Scar was the one who broke in, I suggested. She couldn't have been pleased we were playing with cats that were not her.
The back seat was covered in splintered glass and the wind whipped through the car when we drove on the San Francisco-Oakland Bridge on our way out of town.
It felt sad and violating to know my journal was in someone else's hands. It was overwhelming to be on the road without the comforts of home to turn to. I felt guilty that my work laptop was stolen.
But I also felt grateful.
Grateful for a husband that rose to the challenge and kept calm throughout (because I was not calm) holding me close as I mourned the loss of my journal and patiently asking questions of our insurance policy that I hadn't thought of. Grateful he was patient with me over the next few days as I lamented the inconveniences the incident had brought upon us.*
Grateful for my PwrdBy colleagues who quickly locked all of my devices, changed passwords and made vows to hunt down the thief if they activated my computer.
Grateful for the kind employees at the KitTea Cat Cafe who helped me look for street security cameras (sadly, there weren't any) and gave me phone numbers to call.
Grateful for the free ice cream samples we got at a local market when the owner found out we'd been robbed.
Grateful for my close friend, Lisa springing into action and cancelling our credit and debit cards.
Grateful for the beautiful Kate Spade journal from my dear friend, Sara that I can use as a replacement for my lost journal from another close girlfriend, Brittany. Grateful for friendship.
And lastly, the two Good Samaritans who emailed Josh and I and said they had found some of our personal cards on the street and in a bike lane. They reached out immediately and offered their sympathy for the situation, reinforcing that it happens to every driver at some point in the city.
Even if you're only parked there for 2 hours.
To all those who adventure unabashedly,
*I'll be working on this one