It's Friday night and normally right now I'd be out driving rideshare and making some nice weekend dollars. Things had been going well until last Friday night, when after parking late on my block, I woke up the next day to find that my car had been vandalized. The perpetrator had slashed words and obnoxious images into my doors and hood. I thought maybe it was just random bad luck, until a few days later, after I had moved the car to another nearby street, found even more vandalism on my car. At that point, I knew I was being targeted, but why? I racked my brain to think if I had inadvertently pissed someone off, or maybe violated the unspoken Chicago "dibs" rule when I parked in an open spot. Was I accidentally the victim of a gang turf battle? One of symbols carved into my door was a pitchfork, a common gang sign here in Chicago. The slashings were being done overnight, so it would be hard to lay in wait, given that right now it's 21 degrees. I don't have a garage to solve my problem. I filed an insurance claim, and brought my vehicle to the repair shop, facing a $500 deductible and my car out of commission for a few days. Between the repair cost and lost days of work, I was looking at a setback of at least $1000. And Christmas is two weeks away.

Now my car is back from the shop, looking shiny new again. But mentally I'm out-of-sorts. While the car was being repaired, I got a rental car and could have used it to work, but it didn't feel right. It was hard to focus on the task at hand. I was in a fog, thinking about what I would do when the car got repaired. What if the perpetrator struck again? Would I have to pay for indoor parking going forward? Would I have to play a game of cat and mouse, moving the car around? Maybe the perpetrator would move on, satisfied that he or she had inflicted enough mental anguish upon me. These thoughts percolated in my mind in a loop. A neighbor was kind enough to let me use their garage for a few days while I ponder next steps. There aren't any rentable garages near me. My brother lives far away in a suburb. Maybe I could park it there. But then it would be a pain to retrieve it when I needed it. It's 21 degrees outside. People need rides. And I'm stuck inside typing out my thoughts to alleviate the anxiety.

Merry Christmas,

December 2018


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