Bitch-slapped by life

Life reached out and gave us a bitch slap recently.

We’d taken an overnight trip with friends to Puntarenas, on the west coast of Costa Rica, a couple of hours away from our Puriscal home. At eight that morning, we’d boarded a catamaran for Tortuga Island. We’d snorkeled, strolled the beach, eaten lunch and returned to Puntarenas by five, ready for the drive home.

Six of us had agreed to meet at a local restaurant on the way home, so none of us would have to cook. The dinner was uneventful, except that I ordered a chicken and jalapeño dish that arrived swimming in an off-putting cheese-like sauce. My dog Buddha will love it, I thought, peppers and all, as I scarfed down Jack’s french fries.

Jack was the first to notice something amiss when we returned to our friends’ car. “Somebody broke your window,” he said.

I felt a tightening in my gut, as we gathered at the rear of the car, and looked inside.

“Do you see my suitcase?” I asked. I’d bought it on my last trip home to Philly. It was one of those hard-bodied ones, in metallic silver.

“It’s here somewhere,” said Jack.

“Where?” I asked, but I knew it wasn’t there. I’d rifled through it for a hoodie just before we’d gone into the restaurant. My new suitcase had been the last item in the back of our friends’ Galloper.

The theft was a typical smash and grab. My friend’s fanny pack had been taken, as had Jack’s camera and my suitcase. Inside it were a Mac laptop, a cell phone, an ipod, my favorite pearl earrings, Jack’s only decent shoes, my electric toothbrush, and some clothes I’m super fond of, including a dress I’d bought in London.

On the way out of the restaurant, we’d stepped around a group of young people gathered at the front door of the restaurant. We wondered how they had managed not to hear the sound of the car window breaking; but they were locals, and we were unknown, and supposedly rich gringos, despite the obvious age of the car.

We waited to make a police report, mostly because the restaurant owners wanted us to, though we all knew we’d never see our belongings again. On the way home, we talked about other times we’d been robbed; that horrible feeling of violation we remembered so well; and how difficult— and very expensive it would be to replace our stuff.

“Your nail clippers were in there,” I said to Jack.

“The pair I bought in Paris?” he asked, crestfallen.

It’s funny, I thought, how the little things taken from us often matter more than big, expensive items. Though we’ll have to spend much more than we’d like, we’ll order replacements for our gadgets, but we’ll never have the pearl earrings Jack bought for me on our first Christmas together, the dress I bought in London, or Jack’s nail clippers from Paris.

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About Myra

I'm retired in Costa Rica, having lived in Philly, State College, Salem Mass, and Kawagoe Japan. You might call me a career gypsy, but my last and best job was teaching English to some of the best and brightest kids in Philly. I'm new to blogging and websites, and will probably make all the mistakes there are, but now I'm sharing my writing. I moved to Costa Rica in June of 2009 with my husband Jack, my dog Buddha, and Jack's two cats, Hobbes and Noir.
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11 Responses to Bitch-slapped by life

  1. Terrible. Sorry to hear, Myra.
    Our office was broken into last year, all desktops stolen. So now we have laptops and look what can happen to laptops. A person form the Sheriff Dept. dusted for prints, but never followed up with us. Didn’t really expected them to call, although it would have been nice.

  2. Lynne says:

    So sorry, Myra! It is a horrible feeling. I had a car broken into in Hawaii and my back pack with a laptop stolen. The police told us it was the 15th car that weekend (happened on Sunday) from that same parking lot. (And no one thought to put an officer or security guard there?!?) It is the little things with all the memoriest that are hardest to come to terms over losing.

    • Myra says:

      Hey Lynne. We’ve managed to replace most of our stuff. We’re so thankful for friends who are willing to lug stuff back from the States for us.

      What a drag to have your stuff stolen on vacation. I hope your ID wasn’t in there…

    • Myra says:

      Lynne, I just saw the rest of your message.

      In our case, the restaurant owner told us that he fired the guard, because he suspected he was actually part of the thefts. He’d be on the lookout for cars that looked promising, and called his friends to come and rob them!

  3. Terrible. Glad you’re okay. We had our office broken into last year, all desktops stolen (this in California). Experts from the Sheriff Dept. dusted for prints, but never called with a follow up. A surreal experience. The building is not required to provide security (is what the lease says). So, while they talked about taking measure, we’re pretty much on our own. Sorry to hear about your ordeal.

    • Myra says:

      Silvia, it’s unbelievable that he building owners can get away with that crap. You’d think they’d be trying to protect their tenants. I’m equally sorry to hear about your ordeal.

  4. GAW. So sorry to hear about this… and the fact that the restaurant had no security guards in the parking lot!! I have been lax about leaving my computer in the car, but it’s always behind the seat (in a black bag) where I hope no one can see it. I suppose it’s only a matter of time… Lots of thefts down in our area right now. Gangs of robbers are now hitting higher end hotels, immobilizing guards, rounding up guests, and rifling the rooms for electronics and money. The OIJ caught three from one gang but I see Hotel Colon Caribe (outside Limon) was hit last week.

    • Myra says:

      The restaurant owner said he used to have a guard, but he began to believe that the guy was calling up the neighborhood ladrones when he saw something worth stealing!

      I’ve read about he situation over there, with the hotels. It’s got to be really bad for business…

  5. Cindy Dwyer says:

    What a terrible feeling. I’m so sorry. You have had a tough week.

    • Myra says:

      Thanks, Cindy. I’m feeling better now that I wrote about it, and made plans to replace some of our shit. Thank God for friends who are willing to bring stuff back with them from the States…

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