A stolen radio for the holidays

It was the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving. As usual, I was running late for work and counting the days until my move from Carlsbad to North Park, where I serve patrons their morning java jolt.

Around 5:35 a.m., I zipped up my jacket, grabbed my keys and rushed out the door toward my beat-up ’91 Acura Integra. It was still dark and I remember the cold wind slapping my face and stinging my teary eyes; I thought it odd that I could see my breath when I exhaled. At the time, all I cared for was the hot air blasting at my feet and face from the vents of my car.

Growing up in San Diego, one is spoiled by constant sunny weather, so the mild change was enough for me to more than notice. My family back east takes pleasure in letting me know that they’d still be wearing T-shirts in the weather I complain about. Yes, but this is the first sign of the holidays, isn’t it? I’m excited by change, no matter how small.

I unlocked my car, started the engine and immediately turned the heater on full-blast. Without looking, I reached toward the radio, but my hand kept going forward. When I looked I saw nothing but black; my hand had disappeared into the hole. I reached up and turned the light on in my car and there it was, or rather, wasn’t.

Neatly stolen was my CD player and deck. Nothing else was out of place. Every CD case, cigarette box, book and empty water bottle was exactly in the same messy order as I left it the night before. The player wasn’t ripped, but politely unplugged and lifted from my car as if the perp cared that I would be able to replace it. Jerk.

It’s one thing to steal from the rich to give to the poor, but when you’re robbing the poor to feed filthy leeches, then there are some serious issues here. How much could this person possible get for my radio? Twenty, may $25? Yeah, I hope you get your $25 dollars worth of dope or, at least, some money to buy your kids Christmas presents, you cheap bastard. I hope you take your coffee black, like your soul, you scoundrel. I hope you catch the swine flu.

Was this my fault for leaving the faceplate on? “You should have taken the faceplate off,” a coworker said to me.

She said it as if the deed was inevitable if I didn’t. And here I thought I lived in a safely gated Carlsbad community. Now where does it say in the law books that it’s OK to rob some one if he or she leaves the faceplate on? I want to see it.

I got to thinking about the rise of petty theft in the San Diego area. The Walgreens next door to my bustling little coffee shop was robbed several times in the same month, sometimes in broad daylight.

Is the Great Recession plaguing unemployed citizens so much that they have to steal from those, who would otherwise be less fortunate than them? Or is it some bottom feeder who doesn’t care either way? I happen to think that if the latter was the case, then my CD player would have been ripped out and my cigarettes stolen. It could also be The Panic of the holidays, but I really don’t know. All I know is that whoever did it knew exactly what he or she was doing.

During the quiet drive on Highway 5 South, I noticed much more than I would have under normal musical circumstances. I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. The red glow formed a halo around the commercial buildings along the road; it almost seemed as though they were swallowed in one giant, swelled flame. Instead of the sun rising, it felt like the earth was sinking.

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A stolen radio for the holidays