I was telling Amelie recently about the time my car got stolen.
In the summer of 1998, I had been at UCF for about six months, and I was still driving a fairly new 1997 Honda Civic. The ’97 Civic was my first new car ever. All my previous cars were used, but I needed something super reliable to go to college because there was going to be a fair amount of driving back and forth from Orlando to South Florida. (Kind of like now, actually.)
The ’97 Civic hatchback was a deep metallic purple color, dubbed “Dark Amethyst Pearl” by Honda. I was driving down to South Florida to attend the wedding of some friends. A friend who was catching a ride with me back to South Florida had just returned my spare keys to me, for reasons I no longer recall. Because we were driving back I tossed them in the glove compartment and forgot about them.
When we got back to South Florida, I dropped off my passenger and parked at my mother’s house in Boynton Beach. I grabbed most of my stuff out of the car, but left a small bag containing a cigarette case full of clove cigarettes, some clothing including my 1994 Nine Inch Nails long-sleeved concert t-shirt (the one with “All the piggies all lined up” written down the sleeve.) Also left in the hatch of the car was a bottle of mixed alcohol, called Mage’s Fire, which was supposed to be a wedding gift for my friends.
A quick word about Mage’s Fire- it’s a mix drink that I learned about during my extremely-brief interaction with the Society For Creative Anachronism, a medieval re-enactment group. Mage’s Fire is 25% vodka, 25% blue curacao, and 50% DeKuyper’s “Hot Damn” cinnamon schnapps. Mage’s Fire is best aged at least six months because it blends together a bit more over time and becomes smoother. It is sometimes referred to as the mouthwash of the gods. People have a very polarized reaction to Mage’s Fire- they either love it or hate it. I can’t stand the stuff, but I liked to mix it up and share it with people who enjoyed it. But I digress.
I woke up the next day, to find that my car was not where I had left it. This is a very disorienting thing, because normally cars don’t go wandering on their own after you park them. I realized with a quiet dread that this was the one and only time I had ever left the car parked with keys inside. I called the police, filed a report, and wondered what to do next.
After a little while, the police called- my car had been found abandoned in a field, with the sprinklers on around it. The people who stole it just took it for a joyride, and then left it there with the doors wide open. I had to go to an impound lot and pay a fee to get back my car, which I felt was a huge injustice for someone who was the victim of a crime.
The aftermath was kind of anti-climactic. There was dark greasy powder all over the center console and on the seats that I was never able to fully clean off. The Mage’s Fire and smokes and good t-shirts were stolen from the back. In their place, the joyriders had left a shiny silver club shirt and a dirty pair of overalls. It seemed for all the world like my car had taken place in a hillbilly raver exchange program. I wondered if they were thankful for the fancy moonshine and tobacco they found in the hatch. I also wonder if they would have stopped at petty theft if they hadn’t found keys in the glove compartment to start the engine. Damn it.
As I write this, nearly twenty-one years later, I honestly don’t remember whether or not they stole the stereo from the car. Memory is a strange thing.
Have you ever had a car stolen?