Say Hello To My Little Friend

Rob’s bike was recently stolen out of our garage. We’re not sure exactly how the thieves got in, but they took two bikes and nothing else. We’ve had people ransack our car numerous times, and when our front door handle broke a couple of weeks ago, the locksmith told us it was because someone had tried “really really hard” to get into the house. Fortunately, the door – – which is a lovely shade of blue called New York State Of Mind – – held strong.

Last week, a group of squatters was arrested in an abandoned house a few doors down. My friend Jay Smith of  Every 90 Minutes fame asked me if these were hippie squatters or crackhead squatters. Hippie squatters, he suggested, could be cool. Potentially fun to hang out with. Sadly, I think ours were of the crackhead variety. And suddenly, my beautiful green San Francisco neighborhood is not feeling so safe.

All of this happened while Rob was in New York, and when I called to tell him about the door, it was clear that he didn’t quite understand things from my point of view. I’m in a wheelchair. I can’t even open a door, and I certainly couldn’t do anything to deter a break-in. The idea that I couldn’t keep my daughter safe if I needed to had me feeling very uncomfortable.

“But the door worked,” said Rob.

“This time it did.” I replied. “But what about the car? What about the neighbors?”

My real question, which I kept to myself, was what about me, when I’m lying in bed and I can’t move a muscle? All of this would upset me regardless of my health condition or physical ability, but as it is, I feel extra helpless.

I remember always feeling safe when I lived in Manhattan. Even walking home alone late at night never bothered me. The streets were full of people at every hour. But here, the city is quieter, especially the neighborhood we live in, where there is often no one out on the street. We have a neighborhood newsletter where people share stories of crime, among the posts about suitcases they are giving away and questions about babysitters and house painters. Based on what I’m reading, it does seem like petty crime is on the rise. I want no part of it.

I also don’t want to feel unsafe in my own home, so I’m trying not to let things get to me. Scarlett and I aren’t exactly guarded by The Terminator when Rob is traveling, but we are never alone at night. And I don’t–I won’t–live in fear of something that is a) pretty unlikely and b) out of my control. We have a security system, and we will be installing cameras, and we have an extremely spastic dog who tries to attack everyone who comes to the door, but managed to sleep through the garage break-in. A hamster would have been more helpful. #thanksalototto

We have great neighbors, and we watch out for each other to the degree that we can. Scarlett has a job gathering mail and packages when our neighbors two doors down go out of town. They want to make sure it looks like someone is at home. The irony at my house, of course, is that I’m always at home. I’ll do a school pick up, or a basketball practice, but for the most part I’m here, at the dining room table, trying to get through another day in a house that was built especially for me. A house that I’m very protective of. There are brief times during every day when I’m alone here. 30 minutes at most, but I think about what I would do if someone broke through that blue door. My own New York State of Mind kicks in, and I imagine myself turning into the lead character from Scarface, no machine gun, just the wheelchair. Still, I like to think I would run that bastard down. This is my house.

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4 thoughts on “Say Hello To My Little Friend

  1. Meg

    Another great post my friend! Remember in Oak Park you had to lock every part of your bicycle. You could come back and the seat and handlebars were gone.

  2. Kalikat

    I’d love to say something positive but with my own experiences of theft, just can’t do it. There is a very special hell for thieves, may they rot!

    Be well Sarah.

  3. Douglas M Clough

    I have not had the break in fear, but it takes me forever to get to the door, so I bought and installed Ring from Costco. I was at my Dr and it rang. It was the UPS driver and I was able to ask him to come back later. If I was or wasn’t home I could answer and say I couldn’t get to the door. Friends suggested I get it and I’m glad I did. It also has a motion detector which is a bit too sensitive in the wind, but worth the inconvenience. They also sell just a motion detector, but for the life of me, I can’t understand why it is the same price as the doorbell which does more.

    Our dog has a bark that will scare away most anyone, but for people at the door I can ask them to be patient and I’ll get there as soon as I can. I do not work for Costco or the company Ring is made by, but it is a lot less expensive than a whole security system.

    I am sorry you are having the security issues.

  4. Rami Randhawa

    So sorry Sarah. Sadly, crime is up in San Francisco and we have had our share of car break ins and stolen packages. We have installed a lot of exterior lights as well as recording cameras.

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