I want to write about the Writing Excuses Cruise or the New York Writer’s Digest conference, or a half dozen other nice writing related things. Before I can get to any of that, I need to write about the slashed tires and get it out of my system. Hopefully it’ll be the last time I ever have to talk about it.
On Friday, September 21st, Melissa and I woke up and got ready to go to our last day of work before the cruise. We were scheduled to take a red-eye through Dallas and on to Houston that night. All we had to do was get through one last day of work, and then we’d be on vacation. We’d been looking forward to going on this cruise for most of a year.
Melissa went out to her car, then came back in.
“Brian, you’re going to need to take me to work. All of my tires are slashed.”
Upon further inspection, I couldn’t take her to work either. Three out of four of my tires were also slashed.
The kids’ cars were parked on the street and they were untouched. Looking around the neighborhood, it didn’t look like anyone else had flat tires. Just Melissa’s C-Max and my Mustang.
Bryanna and Chris were great. Bryanna took Melissa to work in the morning and Chris picked her up in the evening. I wrote in to the office and told them about the situation, and that I’d need to work from home. I tried calling the police, and they directed me to file a report online, which I did. There wasn’t much else we could do at that point. We didn’t have time to get the tires fixed. We didn’t have time to deal with the insurance. The kids dropped us off at the airport, and Melissa and I went on our adventure.
I’ll write about the cruise later. For now, I’ll just say that it was amazing, and for the most part, I was able to forget about the drama of the tires waiting for me back home. We smiled more than we frowned.
On Friday, September 28th, shortly before Melissa and I were to return, we got a message from the kids saying that their tires had been hit, too. The dirty lowlife made a return visit and slashed two of Chris’s tires and one of Bryanna’s.
Melissa and I landed in Sacramento on Sunday, just before midnight. We were tired, a little bit sick, and we just wanted to rest and recover. Unfortunately, we had a bunch of inconveniences to wade through. As much as I wanted to take Monday off to recover, I had to put everything in order.
I contacted the police again. They were not helpful. In fact, the unsympathetic dispatch officer told me in a dispassionate tone that we were “the lowest priority” and that we shouldn’t expect anyone to come to our home. That warmed my blood, and it was only my first call of the day. When I got off the phone with her, I felt a headache begin to pulse at my temples and behind my eyes.
The next calls went out to the dealership where we bought the tires for the Mustang and C-Max. Then I called CostCo where we bought the tires for the Mini Cooper and the Scion. The C-Max is a brand new car, purchased last year. The tires had been replaced on the Mustang in March of this year. The tires on the Mini Cooper had been replaced in June. The tires on the Scion had been replaced about three weeks ago. All of the destroyed tires had been new, and none of them were covered under any warranty.
Finally, I called my insurance. I’ve had some pretty good experiences with my insurance in the past. This time, it could have been better. There’s a thousand dollar deductible that has to be met for each car. Replacement tires and installation for the C-Max was going to cost around $800. The Mustang around $500. The Mini Cooper and the Scion were less than that, and the insurance couldn’t really help us with any of the costs. They were able to provide tow services, however.
At the end of the day, all of the vehicles were operational. The Scion is still running on a doughnut because CostCo had to special order the tire, and it won’t be in until later this week. My headache pounded all day and into the night, but we got through it.
I’ve given a fairly comprehensive rundown of the damage done and what I’ve had to do to set things right. But I haven’t really touched on the important stuff yet. The stuff that has really tested me.
The kids are pretty sure they know who did this. It turns out that there have been other tires slashed recently. Our neighbor to our immediate left had at least one tire slashed. The kids are friends with a young man named Kyle, and Kyle’s mother had her tires slashed twice. The kids are friends with another young woman named Daria, and Daria had her tires slashed two or three times. This has all been within the last two or three weeks. The vandalism has taken place in the middle of the night, around 2AM. And in the case of Daria’s slashed tires, there’s video of the guy doing it. We’ve seen his face and he has been recognized.
When I was much younger, I got into a lot of fights. I’ve always had a bit of a temper, but since my teens, I’ve managed to channel that rage into other, non-physical areas. I’ve grown up, and I try to value love and forgiveness. I want to be a better person. I want to be more like the man I see when I look at my son.
After having our cars vandalized twice by this known individual, after shelling out close to two thousand dollars for damages that will not be recovered in any way, shadows of the old me colored my thoughts. I want to confront this coward and put an end to any further attacks on my property. I want justice.
When it looks like the police don’t care and aren’t going to do anything about this, I feel like I’m being tested. The devil on my shoulder has some very convincing arguments, loud ones that make it hard to hear my shoulder angel’s voice.
I’m going to wind up shelling out more money for a camera. I already need to have an electrician install a charger at my house. I might as well have them install a camera at the same time and fix the flood light that’s mounted above my garage door. A chorus of voices have rang out, singing the praises of security cameras. I will listen to the village wisdom, and installations will happen.
This is a proactive steps towards catching the guy the next time he decides to destroy my property. It might help, if the police are even interested in the video. And of course, I’d have more slashed tires to lose time and money to.
It doesn’t feel like a solution, and it feels like I’m having to compromise an ideal that I alone seem to hold. But what else can I do, really? If I’m really trying to be a non-violent man that values love and forgiveness, there’s not much else I can do. And that is the kind of man I strive to be.
It’s just not very satisfying.