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Stop calling me Lo Jack

by Lauren Cartwright

I’ve learned a lot of lessons since having my car jacked, one of them being that almost as bad as getting a gun stuck in your face is picking through the pieces of the aftermath.

It’s been almost three weeks now and I’m still sorting the details of what started out as a favor for a friend that ended in two dudes driving off in my 8-month-old Honda Civic and me hysterical on Clarey’s washing machine.

I guess I should’ve seen this one coming: the most stolen cars are the Toyota Camry, and the Honda Civic and Accord. My husband and I have a one in two chance of losing a car; we also own an Accord. It’s nice to know that my carjacking is improving the statistics.

One thing I’ve learned from the whole experience is to memorize your driver’s license number. I guess most people do memorize it, because almost everyone I’ve said that to laughed at me for not knowing mine. To be honest, I couldn’t even tell you if it starts with a letter or a number. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to replace the license ‘—’ I tried online the other day, but in order to reorder one, you need to know the number. And I think if I go in person to get one, then I need a Social Security card, and that got stolen with the car.

Everyone I tell my carjacking story to says, ‘“No way, you’re lying,’” as if I’ve cooked up this huge scheme to trick everyone only to unveil it on April Fools’ Day.

I also learned if you have a bad feeling about something, then you need to follow your gut. If that evening was a piece of literature, the foreshadowing would have given it away halfway through the second act.

When I got to work the morning of March 9, I was a little weirded out from a dream I had the night before. Someone asked me if I was okay, and then I told them the dream ‘—’ about two guys kidnapping me in a car ‘— I felt a little better that it was out of my head.

When I went to pick up Clarey, he wasn’t ready and I had left the car running on the curb. He said, ‘“Come on in.’” I said, ‘“No the car’s running, wouldn’t want anyone to steal it,’” as I kept peeking out his front window. Then here’s the kicker: He said, ‘“No one’s gonna steal your car in front of my house.’”

Then on the way home Clarey had me stop at a gas station on the way to his house. He went in and I stayed in the car. I made a phone call to my husband, and during that call I said, ‘“I feel like I’m going to get carjacked. There’s a car full of guys beside me and I feel like they’re staring at the car.’” He said be careful. Brian came out and we left. That’s when I learn the hard lesson of ‘it could happen to you.’

Did I mention that the theft actually occurred on midnight of March 10? And that’s my birthday ‘— happy freaking 26th birthday, huh?

After the jacking, we called the police and my husband, then I immediately called the bank and cancelled my credit cards. My purse and cell phone were in the car and they had all the info they could think of for me. And that fact freaked me out a little. I also couldn’t go to any windows, because I thought they might come back and shoot us ‘— okay, so I wasn’t thinking straight, but that’s why I was sitting on the washing machine.

It happened on a Thursday, and I didn’t sleep until Friday evening. I imagined them coming to my house and breaking in, because they did have all that information. I’ve watched the TV crime shows; I know criminals sometimes do that. My imagination has always been my biggest downfall.

We’ve since moved. I couldn’t handle staying alone in the evenings. One evening my husband was at a basketball game and someone pounded on the door of the apartment, I’m pretty sure it was some kids having fun. When I reacted the same as my cat did ‘— by jumping from the couch to the floor on all fours, and with eyes as big as saucers ‘—’ then I knew we needed to move.

I also learned that Dr. Phil is not full of fluffy bull. I was watching his show a few months ago and he had survivors of dangerous situations on as guests. They were describing what you should do if you’re caught up in something traumatic. One the of the situations was a carjacking, they said to keep your head down ‘—’ not looking at the thief. I did just what I remember from the show; I ran with my hands up putting adequate distance between the action and myself. Thanks Dr. Phil. I’ll refrain from doing impressions of you for at least 6 months.

We did get the car back. Only $1,300 worth of damage on it ‘— seems the kids who stole it just wanted to joyride. I wish they’d left that new bottle of tanning lotion I had just purchased in the car. They only stole part of my CD collection, and from the looks of it, they weren’t Kenny Chesney fans.

Other than $30 cash and a $25 gift certificate to McKay books ‘— which I doubt the car thieves will be cashing in anytime soon ‘— Clarey and I walked away lucky and in one piece.

To comment on this column, e-mail Lauren Cartwright at lauren@yesweekly.com.

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