Archive for December 24th, 2013

178 – car theft – add title-category-keywords-text

December 24, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 10, 2013

I grew up outside of New York City, the progeny of two honest-to-goodness city kids. Not only was I raised near what seemed to be one of the most dangerous places in America, it coincided with perhaps the most crime-ridden periods in the history of our nation. So when I say that I was instilled with a certain paranoia, I really mean it.

What habits did my parents teach me? In no particular order, here’s a list of things (not all of which relate to crime): Always wear your seatbelt. Always look both ways before crossing the street. Avoid showing or handling money on the street unless it’s absolutely necessary. Always read the fine print before signing. Always get, and keep, a receipt. Never ever ever leave your belongings unattended. Always keep a small emergency cash stash. Never leave anything of value — or, ideally, anything even remotely interesting — in plain sight in an unattended car.

These strictures have guided me through much of my life, although in certain cases, I’ve learned to relax them when appropriate. For example, if I’m repositioning my car — just moving it in or out of a driveway, say — I won’t always fasten my seatbelt. (I still typically feel guilty about this minor infraction, alas.) Also, I’ve become comfortable stepping away from my laptop computer if I’m at a coffee shop here in North Carolina’s Research Triangle and I need to use the bathroom or speak on the phone. (I rarely leave my smartphone unattended, however — both because it’s easier to walk away with one surreptitiously than with a laptop and because, um, uh, oh — because sometimes I need to look up stock quotes at a moment’s notice!)

Unfortunately, I paid insufficient attention to one of the rules last week, and I ended up paying a price for it.

On the day after Thanksgiving, after having breakfast with my parent in New York, I got in my 2000 Honda Civic (please form a line, ladies!) and set off for the return drive to Durham, North Carolina.

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