So, while I was in CA, I had my bag stolen. My Handy Dandy Helpful (anyone know that book?) diaper backpack from Lullababy (Thanks, guys! And…sorry, guys…). What happened was we were wrapping up our little exploration of the downtown San Diego area, and were getting loaded into the car, when Y said she had to pee. You know how we are when our 3 year olds say they have to pee: we drop everything, grab their hand, and run. So, I quickly said to my husband YoungJoon (Ooh P.S. Congratulations to him for becoming a citizen! You can call him Kai now! hehe…), “Can you put the stroller and the backpack in the car?” and he said “Yeah”.
I had left the bag on the floor (Cue eye roll. Yes, yes, I know, I’m setting myself up) right next to the tree we were parked in front of. So, Y and I use the bathroom at some random business I walk into that I happened to actually study a bit while I was waiting – it’s called Hostel on 3rd (anyone ever stayed there?) and it looks pretty interesting, but I’m not sure I would ever trust staying at a place like that. Anyway, we walk the 15 steps back to our car, jump in, and leave. When we get to our destination, an In N Out about 20 minutes away, I ask my husband for my bag.
“My gray backpack with all W’s stuff in it”
“Oh I don’t know; did you leave it in Hwajeong’s car?”
“No…I left it by that tree…and I asked you to put it in the car…”
“You never said anything about a bag, just the stroller”
“… If you didn’t pick it up and put it in the car, then it is not in our possession. We’re going back.”
“Are you sure you brought it from the house? Or did you leave it somewhere while we were walking around?”
“No, I didn’t. I’m 100% sure. I know sometimes I forget things and can be absent minded, but in this instance, I have 100% recollection that I took the backpack off and placed it next to that tree back where we parked.”
So, I pray the whole drive back that the guy that told me Californians are all heroically friendly and kind (certainly nicer than New Yorkers) was right.
Doo doo doo doo doo
Pulling up to previously parked at spot
Exiting vehicle… hoping… praying… NOPE. Nada. The bag is gone.
*Sigh. I mean, of course it is. Life is cruel. People are heartless and pathetic. Oh well, nothing surprises me anymore. So, I start to accept my fate – the most valuable things in there were my $300 Benz key and my iPhone. I waved a symbolic goodbye. It does sting when people take things from you, but at least I still had what really mattered – my husband and my kids. At the end of the day, that’s truly, truly all that matters – the people. I hugged my baby extra tight when we got back to the In N Out.
But then! My brother in law is so smart. He reminded me of the Find My iPhone feature. So, we went to a Best Buy and tracked it down. Found an approximate location. The police said they would be willing to meet me and just supervise as I approached the house and asked if they would please return my phone. That’s all they could do.
We decided it wasn’t worth the trouble and tried going ourselves. My husband and his friend knocked on the door and asked and were denied. Not sure it was the right house, cause the location is only approximate. BUT they proceeded to use the Play Sound feature (that works even if the volume on the phone is off) and lo and behold, the phone started moving, so hmmm. The phone was speeding down the highway and ended up at a shopping center with a Starbucks and a sky diving place and I don’t remember what else. There was no point going into the Starbucks and searching for someone looking guilty…where would we start? How would we even do that? Walk up to each customer and yell menacingly, “You! It was You! Give me my diaper backpack!” Actually, I did have this idea that I thought was pretty smart: Run into Starbucks in a huff, make a huge scene, scream something like “Everyone, stop! Freeze!” until the place was quiet, and then play the sound on the phone and try to figure out where it had come from or look for someone jump out of their chair (we totally should have done that!)
At this point, I leave and my husband and his friend and brother stay to search. They said the phone did move around a bit, and then finally, it just stayed still, at which point they searched in the bushes where the navigation seemed to indicate.
Two hours later, we’ve all given up. It’s 6 pm. We all reunite and move on with our lives.
Then, around 10:30 pm, we’re all in our hotel room after our dress rehearsal (our trip to CA was mainly for my sister in law’s wedding) hanging out and chatting, when my sister in law hands me her phone and says, “Diane! You’re calling me!”
“Hi, yeah, I just found this phone, so I’m calling you.”
“You found it? Where did you find it?”
“After work when I was walking out to my car, I found it in the bushes.”
“Oh wow, thanks for calling me! Can I get it back from you? Can I come meet you now?”
He agreed and gave me an address, but then I was waiting in the car with my brother in law and friend (I’m not a total idiot), and we look at each other and are like hmmmm let’s think this through. It’s late, it’s dark. What if this is the same person who stole the phone and this is part of his plan? What if he’s a professional phone thief that just goes around looking for phones, then calls people to meet him in the middle of the night, then when they show up, he jumps them and takes their money- or worse?”
We decided to call him back and say listen, it’s late, can we meet tomorrow. He said sure. The next day, however, was my sister in law’s wedding, and it was just crazy. I had no spare moments to call or to meet anyone. That afternoon, he calls me asking so are we going to meet? I say I’m really sorry, I’m so busy, can we meet tomorrow? We decide to meet at his job (a restaurant) right before he starts his shift.
Next day. It’s around 12 pm. I call from my husband’s phone (which I’ve been using to communicate with him the past 2 days) when I arrive, and walk out with my brother in law to meet him. He explains again how he was just walking to his car and saw the phone in the plants. (For the record, throughout the course of our smattering of short conversations, I did ask if he had also “found” a gray backpack, but he said no)
My best guess is that whoever took the phone originally got nervous somewhere along the line, whether it was from seeing the same car following him/her around, or seeing a bunch of guys searching in the bushes, or hearing the alert sound play a thousand times as the phone spastically switched between Lost Mode and Found Mode. The location Caesar (the phone returner’s name) found the phone at was the same approximate location we had tracked the phone to earlier that day – the same shopping center as the Starbucks. Maybe the thief really did decide to just toss it and be rid of the stress.
I dunno; I believe Caesar. He never acted suspicious and he was very communicative. I never felt like he was hiding anything. I mean I guess when I saw him in person, he didn’t say much, and barely looked me in the eye, but maybe that’s just his character?
So, Yay! I got my phone back! The thing that made me the most sad was the thought of losing all the great photos and videos from our trip so far (SeaWorld, Lego Land, San Diego Zoo, etc.) I have a really cute video of W clapping to one of the songs during the dolphin show. I’m super grateful!
Also, fun fact: my phone had a smudge of chocolate on it. At least I hope it was chocolate… didn’t care to taste test it. But how weird is that?? That was not my chocolate… I didn’t have chocolate the day I lost the phone (hard to believe, I know). But like what kind of person doesn’t even do a quick wipe on a phone if they spill something on it?… Or maybe when he found it in the bushes, the chocolate was already on it. And he didn’t want me getting pissed that my phone wasn’t exactly how I had left it and blaming him like, “Hey, where’s my chocolate?!! I was saving that!!”
I’ve noticed I have a pattern of stubbornness when it comes to being a theft victim. I instinctively put on a defiant face, hold my head up high, and proclaim to the universe that I will not let these instances affect me. It reminds me of the way the Divine Principle (my church’s main Scripture) explains that God simply cannot acknowledge anything evil. Evil is not in His Plan, and therefore he has no choice but to ignore it. Addressing it is acknowledging its legitimacy. (Not calling myself God, ha! Just noticed the comparison. Also, I’m actually very forgiving of criminals. I try to consider what may have happened in their lives that caused them to resort to crime. And I hope with all my heart they somehow find a better way and find real meaning and real love.)
But to sum up my philosophy, I refuse to change my life in any way (besides what’s necessary, like canceling my credit cards and getting a duplicate driver’s license). I am NOT going to spend money on a new diaper bag when that money rightly belongs to something else. I’m going to make due with what I have. I have enough bags lying around. One of them will be my new diaper bag – right now I’m just using a plain tote bag I got free from Victoria’s Secret last year. Not the sturdiest thing, but it’ll work fine if I don’t stuff it to the brim or put a brick in it (maybe I should start carrying bricks around seeing as how thieves seem to be drawn to me…) I will not let this experience affect me emotionally or financially any more than it needs to. I will not buy a new diaper bag, because then the thief wins!! Never! Over my dead body.
Any ex phone thieves out there? Care to weigh in? Was it Caesar?! Am I completely naive?