On Being Robbed in New Orleans
On Being Robbed in New Orleans
by Annie Drummond
I'm tired and I have a headache.
I was going to go home from work today and write an incredibly funny and witty blog about the strange things I've seen from my New Orleans front porch... or maybe I was going to write something about the new season of HBO's TremÃ©... but as I walked up to my front door I noticed that it wasn't locked. And it should have been locked.
Someone had robbed my house. And I can't think about funny things that go by my porch and I can't think about the new season of TremÃ©... all I can think about is my house. And since the age of about 9, if something has ever bothered me, I've written about it. And this is bothering me.
And the funny thing about that is... I have a very good friend who I call my "journal buddy". We started this thing several years back when we were watching some British sitcom (I think it was called Coupling) and in it were a couple of lads who called each other "porn buddies"... if they ever died suddenly, the porn buddy would go over to their house and discreetly destroy all the porn before the parents/spouse/whoever found it. So my friend and I became "journal buddies". I still have in my parents' house shelves of journals filled with (I'm sure) very embarrassing things that I wrote in the sixth grade. Boys I liked. Mean girls I hated. That kind of thing...
Well what do you do when someone has stolen your laptop full of things you've written as an adult? Things you'd written in your most anguished moments? What about those embarrassing Photoshop assignments from your freshman year of art school? Pictures of my friends and family... and my awesome cat.
You know what? Fine, take my flat screen TV, take our game consoles and my fiancÃ©e's copy of Call of Duty, you know... have fun with that. But don't take my collection of most private thoughts and moments. I mean, I think I password-protected most of my documents... but can I be really sure? And also, how much can you really get out of a first generation Powerbook Pro? One that had the bottom pried open to install more RAM? Only to discover that one slot was bad and would cost more than the thing was worth to fix it? I wonder how much something like that sells at a damn pawn shop these days. It was just a worthless hunk of metal at this point... except for the moments and memories that were saved to it.
I was in shock for a while. I walked up and down my shotgun house several times before I had any idea of what to do. I noticed the only things that were gone were electronics. My grandmother's jewelery was safe in its box (and going straight into a safety deposit box). My fiancÃ©e's designer shoe collection was intact. No drawers were riffled through. Someone (had to be a kid) knocked out a sliding doggy door and crawled through. It was something that the previous occupant had installed and something that we knew we should have boarded up properly. But we never did.
We felt safe here. We have incredibly high fences and gates... but I guess that doesn't matter. I asked a few neighbors who have a penchant for hanging on their stoop if they had seen anything, like a kid walking down the street with a huge flat screen TV and they said no... they said that kind of thing doesn't happen on this street.
I called the police. It felt like they came in a matter of seconds. I know that the NOPD 5th District has taken an incredible amount of flack lately, but they couldn't have been nicer to me. They answered all of my questions. One of the cops sat outside in his car, guarding my house while I cried in my living room and came to a point where I finally felt safe. A stray cat we've befriended who would normally be too scared to come into my house wandered in and sat beside me while I fell to pieces.
After the cops left I started to notice other things. I suppose the shock was starting to wear off. I noticed that my fireplace mantel looked strange... they had taken my stack of Nintendo DS games that I kept there... and yep, my Nintendo DS. They took my fiancÃ©e's ancient Playstation 2, for some reason. And then I noticed one of my pillows on the floor... it was without its pillowcase. Someone stole one of my pillowcases. And for some reason this burns me the most.
That pillowcase was a part of a set that I bought at Target right after I moved into my first fine apartment, after I got my first design job after graduating from college. I remember buying that bed-set with money that I earned, money that I worked hard for... in Columbus, Ohio. It wasn't expensive but it was comfortable as hell and I loved it. And these assholes used it to carry my stuff out of my house in broad daylight.
And I don't want to hear it. I don't want to hear about how these historic New Orleans neighborhoods are not worth living in anymore because of the crime. I don't want to hear anything about the damn suburbs. I know this can happen anywhere... hell, my car was once broken into while parked among the corn fields of Grove City, Ohio. And maybe it was even my fault for not doing something about that doggy door. Maybe I was asking for it. Or maybe it was our fault for having the audacity to want a few nice things.
I wonder if these robbers (probably kids) feel bad about the things they've done? Do they feel any remorse? Or have their lives been desensitized? This reminds me of the time my mom was helping me move out of a crappy college apartment in a trendy area of Columbus... some kids were rifling though her car when we came out to get a few things. They threw a bunch of coins at us and ran away with what looked like a case full of CDs. But it wasn't CDs... it was my dad's case that he kept his Bible in. A Bible that was my grandfather's. It had his name etched into it in gold letters. I used to always wonder what those kids thought when they opened that thing and didn't find a bunch of CDs... but instead found my grandpa's bible.
Should we just not have nice things? Should I buy a gun... start packin'? Or a taser? Now that that damn doggy door is boarded up... what else? Security system? Should I just move back to Ohio? I hate to admit it, but the thought crossed my mind.
My fiancÃ©e told me... "It'll be okay." And I know that it will be. It could have been a lot worse.
But it still feels pretty bad right now.
And the other thing that pisses me off? The thought of putting all that work into insurance claims and taking the time to buy new stuff. It's hard work to wire Playstations to HD televisions! Those are some real first world problems right there!
Over and out. Next time? I promise... I'll write something witty and funny about strange neighborhood hijinks. But tonight I just can't think about that stuff. I will however leave you with something very funny that I did see from my porch, something that my neighbor recorded... these are the things that make this neighborhood so much fun to live in. We might shake our heads sometimes, but we love it. And I'm not going anywhere.