Thursday, January 25, 2018

It’s Not What You Think

To the person who broke into my car last night and stole a bunch of shit then left me to clean up the mess: 

I hope you enjoy that $500 downhill helmet you stole. I really do. I hope it means as much to you as it meant to me, a TBI survivor who scraped enough money together to buy a really nice helmet in the hopes that it would protect my brain better. I hope you use that helmet as much as I would have as a struggling, unpaid professional MTB athlete who hasn’t had a new helmet in three years until this fall. I hope that you find it attractive or that you can at least pawn it for some cash. Because while I miss an event or ride or shoot due to your careless assumption that I could afford to replace it (or that my insurance company would), I’m REALLY hoping you at least fucked around with the extra brim that was in that bag, or the numbered race plates I had in there or at least sold it to someone who did. Or even just tested the quality of the plastic, maybe? Something? I hope you enjoy the view from behind those multiple sets of goggles and their lenses, because I know I have. I know that every time I put them on, I'm grateful to be able to see. I know that every time I clean them off, I'm lucky to have them. Now, so are you. 

I hope that when you opened the bag of tools and realized that you’d just smashed a window to steal the bags full of items that are most likely worthless to you, you realize that the person who you just stole from was keeping those spare parts and tools because she couldn’t afford new parts. I really hope you realize that I’ve been salvaging parts for my bike this winter as I go through a rough financial spot, but I’m sure you won’t. 

I’m also pretty sure you won’t realize the value of what you took, nor will you understand that the replacement cost for that window (and the extensive labor to fix it) is coming out of my pocket because my car insurance isn’t going to cover it. I’m sure you won’t realize that, as you probably assumed that whoever lived in that house has money to spare, you couldn’t possibly imagine that I’m freaking out about paying rent this month or how I can split up my utility and medical bills with the costs of my physical therapy and basic living expenses like my cell phone and food next week... And now this.

It’s not just about replacing the helmet and tools and parts that you stole, you see — it’s about the thin line I walk every month where an event like this is going to throw everything else off. It’s not ‘just’ a deductible to pay or ‘just’ a helmet or ‘just’ some wrenches and spare parts — what you stole took my ability to do my job as an athlete. I don’t have a mechanic. I don’t have a parts sponsor. And everything I do comes out of my own pocket in order to survive and work and do the things I do that pay my bills. I don't have extra helmets or goggles or more parts or tools. They were in those bags, and now I get to fix the window in my car just so the fifteen-year-old vehicle that you broke into isn’t damaged further by the inclement weather that’s forecasted this weekend.

So from one broke and desperate person here in Albuquerque to another — I REALLY hope that whatever you did with my stuff last night or what it enabled you to do today was worth the nightmare you’ve just caused me.

But it’s not going to break me. I’m not going to stop giving people the benefit of the doubt, and I’m not going to let it interrupt how I go about my life any more than it interrupted my day today. Because I’m not going to make excuses, and I’m not going to wallow in what went south — that’s your job, person-who-steals-from-cars. That’s why you do what you do and that’s what separates us as thief and victim. And I feel for you, but I don’t pity you, nor will I turn into someone who suspects every person that walks by.

I hope someday I can forgive you. But right now, I’m gonna drink some wine and cry a little (or a lot).

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