Simultaneously reluctant and in a hurry as I approached my car which was about to transport me to an appointment I was worried I’d be late for and didn’t really want to go to anyways, I arrived at my car, popped the trunk, and dropped my things inside. As I closed the trunk, I heard the familiar satisfying soft thud of the airtight seal closing, accompanied by what sounded like the tinkling of a chandelier.
That’s odd… I thought to myself.
I flipped the switchblade style key open and opened my driver’s door and was horrified to see that my soft grey upholstery on my passenger seat was glinting with little greenish gems… Fear, anger, anxiety, and helplessness overwhelmed me as it hit me with unrelenting clarity: My car was broken into—and my purse was gone.
Knowing that my purse would have been a pretty disappointing trophy to even the pettiest of robbers, I half-heartedly searched the parking lot and surrounding wooded area in hopes of finding the worthless-to-him bag of invaluable-to-me items discarded.
I was not so lucky.
I’ve always been the sort of person who tries to see the humanity in the people who have wronged me—tries to understand what would drive a person to commit hurtful acts. I reasoned that this individual was desperate and maybe just trying to provide a Christmas for his family. Call me sexist, but I consider my burgler to be male, for the simple reason that I’ve yet to meet very many females who possess the strength and resourcefulness to smash a car window and make off with a purse and book of CD’s in a matter of 20 minutes…
After a couple of kind souls helped me to scrape glass out of the window frame and off my seat, and rig up a garbage bag-duct tape window, I drove my car down to the glass shop, where I learned that this activity skyrockets during the month of December.
So I’ve been reflecting on a few things. This unfortunate robber made off with a book of CD’s that are unlikely to appeal to the sort of character perpetrating a robbery—10 children’s DVD’s, and a purse that contains no credit cards, 12 cents in change, and a 10 dollar food voucher that he would have to sign for if he even attempted to use it in the first place, and nothing else—of any value to him. I, however, have lost my ID, my bank cards, my apartment keys, and of course the window itself. As I’ve gone about attempting to secure accounts and replace what was lost so I can continue paying my bills, the totality of what I have lost keeps clicking in front of my eyes like an abacus on steroids… The apartment keys, due to the keyless entry security that we have, cost about 400 to replace. The window is about 200. The license is 30 to replace… and I have to wait for about a month to even get an appointment thanks to the Christmas season. In the meantime, I cannot drive, which is an essential component of my job. In order to renew my license I have to pay my overdue toll bill… which I need to work in order to raise the money to pay.
For the profit of 12 cents, some CD’s and a food voucher, this individual has essentially robbed me of my home, my job, income, etc.
so I’ve been mulling over what would drive a person to do something like this. And I’ve decided that desperation or not… It’s an egregiously selfish act. I mean really, what was he hoping for? Maybe 200 bucks cash? I don’t expect a smash and grab burgler to be the best at making calculations, considering the cost-benefit analysis of perpetrating such a crime in the first place, but I would expect that even such a petty thief would have the street smarts to recognize that a person who drives the sort of car he was about to smash isn’t the sort of person who has credit cards with high limits, or gobs of cash—and since my purse was out of sight, my bet would be that he was going for the CD’s and was “lucky” to find the purse down there beside them. So at best, he’s hoping for a 200 dollar profit from his crime. And for that he’s willing to cost me a minimum of the same to replace the window (not to mention whatever I’d lose to his theft) and in reality, all of what I’ve just described…
This is the epitome of greed. The epitome of selfishness. My need is worth more than you or your life or how this will affect you, so I am smashing your window and taking what I want. And Christmas is when this crime becomes the most rampant? Smash and Grabs are most prevalent at Christmas? Hardly the season of peace and love and all that jazz that I’ve been hearing about.
But lets face it this attitude is prevalent ALL OVER at Christmas season! It’s the same attitude that drove someone to smash my window, that drives people to trample one another in store entrance on Black Friday.
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOVD-m8urJU <<
It’s the same greed that turns roadways into parking lots and parking lots into case studies for roadrage. The same selfishness that snatches the last turkey out of the grocery store because you’re sure that you need it more than the woman who was racing you for it. The same greed that has my nephew screaming and throwing his present back at the tree when he finds out it’s not the superhero he wanted, or compels… (impels?) children to write lists as long as a roll of toilet paper to santa about all the toys they want for Christmas.
It’s the very reason we all swoon when we hear about children who tell santa they want him to bring something to all the poor children or they want him to give their little sister the doll she’s always wanted, etc etc etc. These things makes us swoon because the *break* the norm. Because in the midst of frantically scrambling for our needs and pushing our way to the front of lines, we paused for a moment to realize deep down that the unselfishness of that child is somehow better. That unselfishness… actually getting to the point of putting others ahead of ourselves… well that’s actually approaching something we *say* Christmas is all about… that’s what LOVE is, isn’t it?
Let me tell you what else happened after I found my car window smashed. Two men sacrificed their own needs/wants to come to my aid. Men who had just come from working out and weren’t dressed for the cold spent 45 minutes in the cold, helping to look for the robber and/or my purse, helping to clean the glass out of the door and my seat, helping to rig up a temporary window covering, and brushing the glass away from my tires so that I wouldn’t also have a flat tire to boot. Just want to re-iterate that… 45 minutes. I’m sure they had places to go and other things to do. They sacrificed their schedule comfort, and probably got a cut or two in the process. Another woman gave me 45 dollars “towards the deductible”. These people gave of themselves for no other reason than to help me. Now I don’t want to be overly-sentimental like some nickelodeon kid’s Christmas movie and start attributing their kindness to the magic of Christmas. . . But here’s where I DO see a connection between their actions of love and Christmas. If this world is awful and helpless on its own, and this baby changes everything… then these pictures of unselfishness and love… they WOULD be gems in the midst of the mire of selfishness, wouldn’t they? I mean, everything we’ve looked at so far… despair, chaos, and now selfishness— these seem to be the norm… but is there really anyone who doesn’t LOVE and LONG for the idea of hope, peace, and love instead?