Sunday, March 25, 2007

Laurie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today was not a very good day.

When I went out to get in my car to go to the hospital, I discovered that the driver's side front window had been smashed in and my stereo and other items had been "liberated". A vehicle next to mine had the same type of damage and there was a card on my console from a Broomfield Police Department officer, asking me to call. I placed the call and was told he wasn't in, but I could leave a voicemail if I wanted. That was hours ago. Still no return call. I called my insurance company and they said that an adjuster would contact me within 48 hours.

Honestly, I was pretty unnerved. I called my son who offered comforting words and told me it happened all the time and to call the cops and my insurance company.

I called my brother and he suggested that I could probably have the glass replaced sooner if I didn't go through the insurance company. He looked up several glass replacement companies and sent me their phone numbers. I finally found one that was open and they said they would come over tomorrow and put in a new window.

Being a woman of action (and a woman afraid of another rainstorm like yesterday's) I walked to the nearest box store to pick up some plastic for the window and gloves to clean the glass out of the car.

I found the items I needed and picked up some duct tape to help with the repair. I paid for the items and left the store, walking toward Wolf's apartment. As I neared home I caught sight of a man walking behind me. I stepped up the pace a bit and crossed the street. He did the same. I'm fairly tall and can walk pretty fast, so I picked up the pace again. I glanced around and he was still there. Remembering that I often have trouble with the lock on the apartment door, I decided not to go to there. I think my reaction had to do with the fight or flight response (obviously I picked flight), I won't kid you, I was scared shitless.

I walked at top speed for several blocks, and he fell further behind. I saw a group of people gathered around a church and walked toward them. He slowed, then stopped and finally turned around. I hovered on the edge of the crowd until I could be sure he was out of sight and high-tailed it to the apartment. My heart was beating a mile a minute by the time I managed to unlock the door and step inside. My hands were shaking so much I could barely lock the door behind me. I looked around the apartment to be sure I was alone and made certain the windows were locked. I had been planning to take the bus to the hospital, but fear over-ruled desire and I decided not to go.

To be honest, I was pretty shaken up. I have camped and hiked alone in the mountains of Montana and Wyoming, dozens of times, without fear. I have driven all over, alone, and nothing but my own driving and lack of direction, has frightened me. This, however, scared the hell out of me. I felt violated.

It took almost an hour to get up the nerve to go outside and put the plastic over my shattered window. As I knelt on the ground cleaning the glass from the seat and floor, I started to cry. Probably a dozen people walked through the parking lot and saw me and not one single person said a word to me. Not one.

At that point, all I wanted to do was to say f*ck screw goodbye Denver and go back to my small town and curl up with my kitties. If there hadn't been a gaping hole in my window, I might have gone inside, gathered up my things and headed for home. But I would have regretted my decision and turned around and come back. Being here isn't about me, it's about Dale.

And now, hours later, after being comforted by family (thanks, Mike and Wolf) and dear friends (thanks, you know who you are) and a cheap bottle of wine (or two), I am once again feeling secure enough to open the window and let in the warm Colorado breeze.


Anonymous said...

That scared the hell out of me!!! You are being tested girl! You are a strong smart woman and you will survive.
I once had my purse dumped in my van, right outside my front door. I was dumb, I shouldn't have left it there. I should have locked the doors but I still felt violated as well. What kind of mother raises a child to invade someones hard earned stuff? Did the guy know that was my kids lunch money and how I had to dig, and deep, to come up with more? No. And they don't care. Those people are selfish. I am glad you are OK and I can't wait for you to go home. That is where it is safe and warm. Good luck girl!! Your in my thoughts and prayers!

threecollie said...

Oh, laurie, you poor soul. I would have been terrified! I hope things get better for you soon!

Mary said...

Oh, God, Laurie. You scared me. You did the right thing to approach a group of people or to walk into a public establishment. I had the same thing happen to me years ago and I can still feel the fear at the pit of my stomach.

Big cities are quite different from smaller towns, as are the people. Formal and uncaring.

At least your window will be replaced tomorrow but I feel so bad that you had to clean up the glass and mend the window on your own...proves how strong you really are.

Hey have a bottle of wine for me, too!

The Atavist said...

There is way too much human scum around. It almost makes me embarrassed to be human. My wife and I have been burglarized several times and I know what you feel. Why is this necessary? This sort of thing was a rarity thirty years ago, now it's epidemic.

Anonymous said...

When I lived in the Big City cars were burgled fairly frequently. It reached the point where people started carrying WalkMans and putting little decals in their windows that said "No Stereo."

I thought that stereos had come down in price enough that they weren't a target anymore. So much for that theory.

Laurie said...

Butterfly, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. What upset me most was not being able to be there for Dale. But I talked to him on the phone for a long time and he was really tired and very much understood why I wasn't there.

I am so sorry that you had that happen to you! How awful that must have been. I do wonder what kind of upbringing a person must have had to do such a thing.

Threecollie, it was a rather rough day. Thank you.

Mary, I now have a new window (at least I did a few minutes ago) thanks to Chuck and Mike, two of the nicest people I've met in the city. They cleaned up as much of the glass as they could and replaced the window. Chuck even cleaned all of the glass in my car for me. They were just wonderful.

Atavist, I don't know why it's necessary. It is extremely disturbing and a sad indicator of the times we live in.

Laurie said...

Thomas, I had the stereo disabled, so they can't use it anyway. The only other thing they took were a couple of pairs of no-name sunglasses. I don't understand it at all.

MsLittlePea said...

oH LAURIE! How awful! I know what that's like---both situations. Our car got broken into in broad daylight at a damn state park while we were swimming in the sea. And what was a beautiful, happy day turned into utter disappointment. We felt violated too. This was ten years ago and I still remember what that felt like. And I can't beleive not one person said anything to you! I am so not a city girl either-Mary is spot on about happens in small towns too but it seems worse when something like that happens in an unfamiliar place, to me.

And the psychoman following you! That must have been so scary. That's happened to me too, more than once and it's so scary. You did the right thing. The last place that person(and I say that loosely) needs to know is where you are staying. Oh you poor thing.

Dysd. Housewife said...

WOWIE Laurie! I am so proud of your instincts! That is SO freaky! definitely get yourself a can of mace if you are staying long. GLAD to hear you are safe!

Carol said...

I've had things like this happen to me, although not all on the same day. I know I can't do anything much for you at this distance, but you're on my mind and I'm sending you lots of good thoughts. You'll be safe at home again soon.

KGMom said...

Oh Laurie, I am reading your adventures late--and I am so sorry for all you have gone through. I am glad, however, that you know that several bottles of--oops--one bottle of wine works wonders. The problem may still be there, but who cares?
I hope things get better soon.
Being lost almost seems like a good time, huh?

Thailand Gal said...

That is just horrible! I had a similar experience in Baltimore so I do understand it. It's scary as hell!

I'm grateful to that group of people standing in front of the church. They provided a good shield.



Courtney said...

If you want it, I'll send you my snap baton.

Laurie said...

Littlepea, I am fine now. I even went for a walk after I got back from the hospital today, just to prove to myself that I could.

I am so sorry to hear you had to go through that yourself. From the comments here, it seems like it's a fairly common problem. How sad!

DH, good idea! I will walk over to Target and get some! You know, I think I could have "taken" him, but as my son said, he might have had a knife.

Carol, thank you so much for the good wishes. I should be home in 8-10 days if all goes well. :)

Kg, I do long for the "lost" adventures. Things are alright now, but I stocked up on wine, just in case. ;-)

Chani, I can't believe how many people have had similar experiences. And you're right, it was very fortunate that they were standing there, though I think I might have crashed a funeral.

Laurie said...

Courtney, snap baton? I like the sound of that!

Cuppa said...

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day indeed. Calming hugs and thoughts are heading your way from my little corner of the world.

That sick feeling in the pit of the stomach when someone is following too close is well known to a lot of us and we could relate to what you were feeling. Makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up just reading about your fright!

You did such a wise thing to keep on walking past the apt and head towards a crowd of people. Smart, smart, smart!

steve'swhirlyworld said...

Laurie...I'm so sorry that your day was so crappy yesterday. It sucks when your space is violated like that - it's hard to get through, for me anyway. I feel your pain and I'm sending you positive energy. I hope your Monday was better.

Laurie said...

Cuppa, I made myself take a walk through the same area today, just to see if I could. Thank you for the calming hugs! :)

Steve, my window is fixed, I got to see Dale and I took a nice walk. It was a stellar day. Thank you!

justme said...

Laurie, Guess I had to set up a blog in order to get a message on your page. You showed a great deal of courage and bravery to handle the situation the way did. Hope that Dale is getting along well and you can get back to safe little Forsyth soon. Also hope your insurance will take care of all your losses.

Laurie said...

Justme (aka Dennis), I am fine, please don't worry. I have a new window and the stereo is on order. I decided not to submit it to insurance because I don't want my rates to go up.

Dale's blood counts are going down as they said they would, so he is very tired. But he is doing better than expected and we should see some improvement in a week or so. Then I'll return home.

Thank you so much for reading my blog and also for commenting. You are a dear!

Ur-spo said...

that is sooo frustrating. it feels a like a rape in a way, a violation of one's person.
I am sorry.

Laurie said...

Ur-spo, you are exactly right. It is a violation of one's person. I still have some residual effects from it...

Gawpo said...

Here they are called "car clouts." I hate car clouters. They are like fleas; filthy vermin who go out of their way to invade your life; people devoid of empathy who don't care that you will feel violated for the rest of your life.

The officer who left the card was on graveyard shift and did not answer your call because she or he was sleeping. Did you call dispatch? Even so, they prioritize. Car clouts fall way below the felonies that occur each and every night. Most of the felonies, sad to say, are perpetrated on other felons who were the suspect in last week's felony assault. As victims, they feel less the violation than you do. But they get the attention. In our county, we respond to each and every call, including break-ins to vehicles. We sometimes make an arrest. If the officer doesn't at least dust for prints, then shame on them.

I am sorry this happened to you. It has happened to me three times. But not in my town.

A fellow deputy's son had his MP3 player and other items stolen from his backpack on the bus. Deb typed this up and is going to see if the school will publish it in their newspaper:


Once labeled a thief, trust will not be a part of your life.
Lying will become your best friend.
Everyone who ever held expectations of your greatness will shake their head with disgust.
‘Things’ will fly in and out of your hands, but nothing will land in your heart.
Your selfish motivations will prevent you from knowing the adrenaline rush and pride from earning what is yours.
You will become the one the rest of us dread… the dishonest leech that drains the life-blood from our community.
If you’re really okay with the image you see in the mirror each morning, then by all means, continue violating the rights of others, and we’ll applaud when it catches up to you.
But, if you want a life full of promise, trust, and friendship, start today by returning my son’s things… he worked hard for them.

Gawpo said...

p.s. If I had been walking by when you were at the window and crying, I would have come over and given you a big hug. True story.

Within Without said...

What a horrible thing to have happen...but so glad it turned out OK in the end, or at least that you made the best of a bad situation.

You know what they say...what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And you sound very strong...


Within Without said...

Oh, and when did you start becoming a Robert Munsch disciple? (Although, it pretty much aptly describes your experience)...

Gina said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you!

It is good that you listened to your instincts that that man was someone you should fear instead of telling yourself you were being silly.

Good for you and I hope you are feeling better!

Laurie said...

Gawpo, I called the police station later and asked when the officer would be on duty again. It turns out he was on vacation for a week or so. They said someone else would call and he did. He was polite, but offered no hope. They did not dust for prints or offer any encouragement, and he closed the conversation by saying "If you solve this crime, will you please contact us?"?

I hope Deb's poem is published. It's a good one, and so true.

WW, I wasn't feeling especially strong on Sunday, but with the help of my brother and a very dear friend, I made it through. Thank you. :-)

Bonita said...

You did everything right, Laurie, especially walking toward the crowd of people at the church. These things happen, regardless of every precaution we take. I'll feel a lot more easy about you when you are back home, where just a few mountain lions or grizzly bears will raise the little hairs on your neck.

Squirl said...

Yes, thank goodness for your instincts sending you in the right direction when that guy was following you.

The break-in would really piss me off. Some idiot shot my car with an air rifle. Doesn't sound like much, but my car was in for over a week getting repaired from the damage. I've also had stuff stolen from my car. Violated is the most mild word I can use to describe the feeling.

Thanks goodness you're okay!

Laurie said...

Bonita, I'm back to my daily walks, although I'm quite a bit more mindful of my surroundings than before. Thanks for your concern. :)

Squirl, I was scared first, then really mad! Every time I find a chunk of green glass in my car it p*sses me off. I hope the feeling fades (or I get out all the glass), because I don't like being irritated all the time...

JustJock said...

I wish I didn't understand your fear and frustration, but I do. Living in a huge city has done that to me.

It never gets easier, either.

"So, you had a bad day" is playing in my head now.

Cathy said...

Oh Laurie - I'm so so sorry. What a nightmare. I too, had a bad experience in a Denver park - filled with menace. Luckily I got away without harm. But I carry that memory as you will the rest of your life. God bless you for hanging in there.

Laurie said...

Jock, it came to my mind as well.

Cathy, I've noticed I'm much more aware of my surroundings than before. I'm so glad you didn't get hurt!