Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This morning my wife parked the car on a busy San Francisco street and left her purse in the car. Sometime later, two guys walked up, smashed the window, grabbed her purse, hopped into their car, and sped away. This occurred in broad daylight, amidst dozens of people around.

Later, when my wife returned to the car, she discovered what had occurred and called the police. Upon their arrival to the scene of the crime, many people came forth and offered detailed descriptions of the thieves, down to their hairstyle and wardrobe accessories. This all rang a bell to the cops because apparently the same two thieves had done the same thing on the same block the previous day. The cops are hoping to catch them with a minor sting operation, but Hank and I are not hopeful.

As it turns out, my wife keeps a lot of important things in her purse, such as:

- Driver's license
- Money
- Credit cards
- ATM card
- Insurance cards (with my social security number on them!)
- Her brand new Treo 650 cell phone (brand new!)
- House keys
- Our ability to feel safe from theft

It's as though Hank made a list of the most obnoxious, hardest to deal with, least customer-oriented, most hellspawn-ish organizations, and then filled her purse with items from those groups. I will grant you that my wallet has a very similar set of items, but that doesn't make replacing them any easier.

So, today we jumped through various hoops to rectify this situation.

We spoke to the DMV, credit card companies, credit bureaus, banks, cell phone companies, auto body shops, insurance reps, and my new personal favorite: the locksmith! Of course by "my new personal favorite", I mean "my new personal least favorite".

I searched for locksmiths on Local Google and found one less than a mile from my house. The dispatcher sounded competent and they had someone to my house within a couple hours. Things looked good until the locksmith opened his mouth.

First, some background about me. I'm one of those people who can't stand pregnant pauses in conversation. I'll generally rush to fill them with poorly-formed opinions or maybe some whimpering. Similarly, if someone is struggling to finish their sentence, I'll usually mop up for them, perhaps by adding an expletive or a "between the sheets".

So, when the locksmith began to speak haltingly in a French-accented stutter, I was practically falling forward with my desire to insert words into the conversation. He'd pause for a long time before each few words, gather himself, stutter once or twice, and then let fly with the next sentence snippet.

Of course I had to be EXTREMELY polite to this guy, not just because people are apparently supposed to generally be polite to each other (an absurd and unreachable standard), but this guy in particular was literally going to have the keys to my house in his possession. For the safety of my family members, it behooved me to let him complete his sentences.

The second bad sign was when I determined that he was not bonded. That's important, right? I almost booted him right there, but I was fearful of not getting another locksmith the same day, and it seemed important to get our locks rekeyed TODAY given that thieves were in possession of our house keys and our address.

The third bad sign was when he was unable to re-key our locks and instead chose to replace them. As it turns out, we used to have good quality locks and now we have something with the brand name "Tuff Stuff". I am dismayed to report that the quality of their workmanship appears to be as good as their spelling.

Anyway, four hours after the guy arrived, he had replaced our three locks and was on his way. Sadly, I did not do an adequate job of checking his work, and now I find that two of the locks are nearly unusable, one of them getting jammed after a few iterations of usage. Gah.

I'll be playing the locksmith game again tomorrow or the next day. This bites.


chess h said...

Sounds like it's about time you invested in a vicious attack kitten.

It's the only way my wife and I sleep safely at night, knowing that if an intruder breaks into our house with villainous intent, within the first minute of his entry, he will be tripped by a cat swiftly and invisibly positioning itself as an unavoidable ankle-high speedbump.

Dogs are supposed to be good at something like this, too, but I'm not sure how that works.

Mike said...

Chess, I'm allergic to cats. You think a guppy would work?

Will said...

We use our neighbor's dog, although it's not too friendly to us either. Looking on the bright side of things, the quality of your lock might not matter in light of the practice of bumping.

Mike said...

Will, that's crazy. I give up. I'm just going to leave my doors unlocked, put suggested price tags on all my goods, and ask for people to contribute whatever they think is fair.

dolface said...

dude, that sucks massively. i hope yu get everything straigtened out sooner rather than later.

Mike said...

Dolface, thank you.

tinyhands said...

If you're still doing the Conservative/Republican thing you should get some assault weapons.

Mike said...

Tiny, yes, I am still doing the Great Media Swap, but there's no need for assault weapons. I keep my trusty aluminum baseball bat under the bed for security.

Unfortuntely, given my horrendous skills at baseball, it's akin to fending off a burglar with an unloaded plastic water gun, but still!

Leesa said...

That sucks, Mike. Hope all goes smoothly.
No attack kitten, eh? I could probably get ya a good deal :0)

Mike said...

Thanks, Leesa. And, no, no attack kittens. I think I'd rather be robbed than spend the rest of my days sniffling and sneezing.