Waking up early in the morning is already not high on my list of favorite things to do on a Sunday. Waking up to find that my car was not where I left it in front of my house, however, has to be one of the worst ways to spend a Sunday morning.
The moment I was told that the car quite simply wasn’t there, I could feel my stomach tie itself in a thousand painful knots. There had been plenty of times over the years when I worried randomly that the plucky little Del Sol wouldn’t be where I parked it, but they were always followed by the expected relief of seeing it waiting for me when I rounded the corner. This time though, I was standing on the curb in front of my house giving a police officer the description of my beloved first car in the hopes that somebody, somewhere would find it and wishing that it would be in one piece.
My car was stolen from right in front of my house where I parked it the night before after work just like I do every evening.
We spent the next four hours zigzagging through Eureka, hoping to catch a glimpse of the silver two-seater along some side street or alley. Despite our efforts nothing turned up that day and I returned home, utterly exhausted from the morning even before leaving for work that night.
The next morning I woke up to a call from the Arcata Police Department. They had found it. Immediately, I was buzzing, already ecstatic to go out and retrieve my little tin can as I affectionately refer to it. When we got to the car I was thrilled but also dismayed.
The interior smelled heavily of alcohol and cigarettes. Inside were piles of just pure junk –– balls of discarded wires, old Playstation discs, driftwood from the beach, among other random garbage that somehow ended up there in the 24 hours or so the car was missing. Piled on top of all of that was a stack of newspapers. Copies of the Lumberjack from back when I delivered the papers. And perched on top of that pile was a box of business cards with my name and email on them. It felt like a fitting metaphor.
The worst part to deal with was the exterior. The car had not been crashed. It even seemed to start up okay. But marring the silver paint was a sloppy stain of black spray paint plastered across the driver’s side. When I saw that, my stomach sank all over again. It just felt wrong in a way that I couldn’t explain. There was no reason for the paint. It was senseless and utterly frustrating to see.
The trash was cleaned from the seats and trunk, a stolen shift knob replaced and the spray paint removed by lacquer thinner that probably took a year off of my life from the fumes alone. What struck me most while I cleaned the car was just how helpless it felt. The car was still my own, but it felt as though I had been violated when it was taken.
The car was stolen on Feb. 21 and it’s only been in the last couple of weeks that I have actually come to terms with the reality that it was swiped from in front of my home. Most of the repairs have been made.The rest will be done for my sister who will be using the car as her own first while she’s in high school after she gets her permit this summer. Oddly, this is what finally put me at peace with the situation.
While my journey with my little Honda Del Sol is complete for the time being, I can finally look back on the fond memories that I have with the car without worrying about returning it to exactly how it was before that Sunday morning
I remember the road trips down south to cover the national cross country meet. I remember the Sharks game just a few days after Christmas. And some of my favorite memories are the simple drives just to clear my mind after a long week just going nowhere in particular.