But there have been some unexpected little silver linings; one, I remembered how and why I live in Over-the-Rhine, and two, I remembered how to live.
The police officer who showed up to file my police report initiated conversation with me after I told him what happened with a sarcastic, “Welcome to Over-the-Rhine,” immediately launching into a tirade about how much he disliked crime-riddled OTR, wondering aloud why anyone could possibly want to call this place home and making sure to note he’d never bring his family down here.
He asked me where I worked, and when I told him, I watched something like a smirk unravel on his face. “Oh, so that’s why you live down here. I get it now.”
For a few seconds, this made me feel very small, as if it was actually my fault I’d been robbed and that myself everyone else who worked for or regularly read CityBeat was somehow vain and naïve for possessing an appreciation of Over-the-Rhine and neglecting to live somewhere where privacy fences and pool boys and Applebee’s are the norm.
It wasn’t so hard to feel stupid for a minute there, when I wondered if I’d be able to fall asleep that night feeling safe or how I’d afford a new computer and if whoever broke into my place was someone I’d maybe smiled at one day in the same neighborhood.
Then, I just felt annoyed instead.
Of course, the situation is riddled with irony, and I can speculate all I want.
And, of course, by virtue of working at CityBeat I am both already also pretty poor myself and take a vested personal and professional interest in bettering this city and the people in it and experiencing what it’s like to live and breathe here. And that includes, I suppose, figuring out what it feels like to get robbed, something I knew was a very tangible possibility when I decided to move here two years ago.
Either way, my things are gone and they’re not coming back.
But I’m still close enough to Washington Park to hear live music from my patio every weekend, I can still bike down to the swings at Smale with a backpack and a magazine on a sunny day, I can still wake up on a Sunday morning and walk to Findlay Market for a breakfast of gelato and gawk at Italianate buildings in between and I still know where I can find the rooftops with the best views. And I’m still falling asleep at night just fine.
So, police officer, thank you for reminding me why I’m one of “those people” who like living down here, who can see past the bad and focus on the good.
On the same day I discovered my things stolen I went from a nonstop frenzy of poring over details with that cop, scouring the hardware store for anything and everything anti-theft and worrying that without my laptop my life would literally cease to be, to finding myself sitting alone on my couch that night, staring onto my TV stand with no TV, wondering what the hell I was going to do to entertain myself without my electronics.
After experiencing a mini-panic attack, I actually had to stop and think about what to do the rest of the night without the ability to gorge myself on Breaking Bad, Facebook-troll, perfect my Spotify playlists or read the news. And that, I’ve realized, is a little pathetic.
I spent the next several evenings in my apartment preparing dinners other than canned soup, trying to teach myself guitar chords, speed-reading a really good book and whistling a lot while trying to figure out how to fix a broken blind and put up curtains.
Basically, I lived, which I haven’t been doing enough of lately.
So, thief, thanks for at least indirectly reminding me that life is sometimes a whole lot better without a computer or a TV.
But seriously, don’t ever come back. I have a lot of booby traps waiting for you.
CONTACT HANNAH MCCARTNEY: firstname.lastname@example.org