At 11:30 last night — about 3 hours ago — my laptop was stolen out of my car.
I was out getting drinks downtown and I parked outside my sister’s apartment building on 2nd and Wall. I left my laptop in the front seat. As I was getting out, it occured to me that this was a dumb thing to do and I should probably at least put the laptop bag in my trunk.
I didn’t. Instead I just pushed it down on the floor under the glove compartment.
The security guard for the building passed by my car at 11pm and it was unmolested. At 11:30, he looked out from the parking garage window and saw two men and a woman lingering in the alley by my car. When he passed by again at 11:35, my passenger door was wide open. The three people were just leaving the alley. He says one of them may have been carrying a bag similar to the one my laptop was in.
The security guard says the trio walked down the street past the apartment building next door. That building has security cameras all around it. I checked with the night watchman for that building. He says he can’t access the archived video until tomorrow, but that the picture is grainy anyway and he doesn’t think he’ll get much out of it.
I called 911 and filed a police report. The cop said I could try scouring all the pawn shops in Seattle tomorrow in case my laptop turns up.
On the hard drive were all the hundreds of pictures from my trips that I never put up and at least a dozen unfinished journal entires that I never got around to posting.
It also had all the raw clips that went into my dancing video. So unless I can find some backups somewhere, I’ll never be able to edit them again.
All the emails from people over the last few months and their addresses. There’s a list of folks I want to write to who I’ll never be able to reach now.
I work as a design contractor for videogames. All that is gone. There’s no ‘work’ machine. It was all in there — the maps and notes and write-ups and scripts and emails. My employers will not be pleased.
I also lost my brand new Sony PSP that was my most favoritist gadget in the whole wide world, and, ironically, a book I was reading about pirates.
I should have backed up more often. I shouldn’t have left the bag in my car. I shouldn’t have parked in an alley. I should have installed theft tracking software.
I am dumb. And I am sad.
I guess everyone who has their laptop stolen feels this way — it’s not the money, it’s the stuff. It’s what’s in there. All the benefits of storing your whole life on one tiny little device get flipped around and stop being benefits.
It’s somewhere in the city right now. Maybe in a park or an alley. Probably in someone’s apartment. Tomorrow it’ll get sold to someone. If I’m very very lucky, maybe it’ll turn up at a pawn shop. But more likely it’ll enter the current of some vast underground stream of stolen goods and if it ever does turn up it’ll be in another city, stripped of all its data and identifying features.
We put pieces of ourselves into our possessions. Our tools become extensions of our selves. And when those tools go missing, it’s like a phantom limb.
Tough shit, buddy. If you left something that important to you in your car — and it’s a Honda Civic mind you, which you don’t need to be a safecracker to get into –then you deserve what happens.
I know I do. But that doesn’t help right now. Right now I just need to be sad.
And tomorrow I have to start calling around for a slightly used and abused Dell Inspiron 600m with wood paneling on top and all four rubber base grips worn away. If you see one, let me know.