Thursday, November 14, 2013

Learn From My Mistakes. PLEASE.

"The difference between school & real life is that in school, you get the lesson first and then the test, and in real life, you get the test first, and then the lesson." ~Someone I can't remember right now

Oy. I'm not ashamed to admit that in the last few days, it's been incredibly challenging to bring my own weather to the picnic. Not because of my running--now that I'm done being sick & out of town & absurdly overbooked & all that, the running has been going reasonably well. But running is tangentially related to the suckiness I'm about to describe, and it's kind of all I can think about right now, so there you go.

I've been doing my track workouts at Kezar Stadium more or less once a week for the last four years or so. When I first started going I'd bring only my keys, inhaler, water bottle, & flats out to the track, tuck them inconspicuously behind a bench, & leave everything else locked in my car. After a while that seemed silly since the benches are right out in the open in broad daylight, & the only other people around were other runners. So I started just leaving them out on the bench. (Because really, who's going to steal any of that stuff?)

Then I started sometimes wanting other stuff, like different clothing options depending on the weather, sunscreen for reapplying on hot days, extra Nuun tablets, etc. So I started carrying it all around in a bag, & whenever I head to the track or a race, I just grab the whole thing because I know everything I could possibly need will be in it. After a while having a different bag for every athletic pursuit (running, karate, gym, pool, CrossFit, whatever) got annoying so I started keeping everything together in one bag, & I would take that bag to the track, & leave it on the bench.

Then I started taking my phone down to the track, because hey, something might happen, or I might want to snap a picture, or whatever. Part of me kind of thought this might not have been the greatest idea, but I was always sure to tuck it deep in my bag, & hey, it's been *years* & no one has ever bothered my stuff.

Until this past Tuesday night. Thankfully I've been in the habit of putting most of the extra stuff I take to races into another, smaller bag which I can throw into the big one but don't routinely keep there, & I haven't been keeping much else in the bigger bag besides some of my karate stuff. But I did have my phone in it, along with my only set of car keys, house keys, & work keys.

You can probably guess where all this is going.

According to my Garmin, I started my first interval at 5:02pm, which would have been right after I changed from my regular shoes into flats. After four ninety-second 400m's & four ninety-second recovery jogs (so a grand total of ~12 minutes), I jogged back to the benches to change back into my other shoes, and my bag was gone.

What ensued at that point was a half hour of hysterical panic in which I jogged every inch of the track & stadium asking people if they'd seen my bag or anyone near it, searching trash cans in case it had been dumped, & verifying that whoever had taken it hadn't fished my keys out & used the electronic fob to locate/pillage/steal my car (which was parked right by the stadium gate, & had my purse & wallet in the trunk). After that I gave up & jogged to the police station (thankfully there is one right at the stadium), made a police report, tried to call Don, & promptly fell apart right there in the precinct.

(Pro tip: If you're ever going to lose the only set of keys you have while your car is parked somewhere that becomes illegal in four hours, try not to do it two days after your significant other's car has spontaneously broken down.)

Ultimately, I called AAA, who was able to tow it to their storage lot & then to the dealership in the morning where I could get two (count 'em, TWO) new sets of keys made, which only cost me $100 for the overnight storage & $500 for the keys. (*Vomit*. Pro tip #2: Keep track of your car keys. No luxury anything for me until 2014.)

I've also never gotten the theft protection or extra insurance on my phone & also never done the (FREE) Android thing where you can set up your phone to be GPS tracked and/or remote locked and/or wiped, so the best we could do was disconnect & blacklist it (no one can use it, even with a new SIM card). I am still 1.5 years from an upgrade, but because I've been a customer for so long AT&T said that they could give me an upgrade now. (I don't understand why, but certainly appreciate it.) So on the bright side, a new phone similar to what I had will only cost me $200 instead of ~$500. Which is something.

That's really everything I *have* to replace right now.

When all this was happening, it was interesting to note the thoughts running through my head. Obviously there were things like "I can't believe this is happening" and "How stupid can I be" and "There are so many ways this could've been prevented." At the same time, though, were a bunch of other thoughts, like "No one is hurt or dead" and "Almost everything is replaceable" and "My car is still here & intact" and "At least I was smart enough not to put my effing *wallet* in the bag too." As awful as it was when it was happening, I still found myself extremely cognizant of how much worse a terrible night can be. To be honest I often find myself rolling my eyes when people talk about having gratitude in the face of bad situations, but completely unexpectedly, I found that I did. I literally sat there on the curb while my brain scrolled through a giant list of everything that I did still have & how much worse it could have been & all the things that hadn't happened tonight.

I wasn't trying to feel grateful & thankful for all that; I just did. This, I think, is the payoff of consciously practicing bringing your own weather to the picnic. It doesn't mean I didn't still feel horrible & kind of hated myself for making such an expensive, easily preventable mistake, but I think it did keep me from wallowing in self-pity & -disgust for days on end & feeling like it was the complete and total end of the world. Today, my brain is doing this bizarre thing where it keeps ambushing me with positive (????) things about having my bag stolen. I'll just be doing whatever, & out of nowhere it's like, "You know you only bought that bag eleven years ago because it was cheap & you were poor. You always thought it was kind of tacky-looking." (Which, okay, there is some truth to that, although after 11 years with an inanimate object--it's spanned 99% of my karate career--you do start to develop a weird attachment.)

God, they were hideous. Still, I'll kind of miss them...

Or, "As much as you liked those Mizunos, they were really old, and you know they were ugly as sin." (Which...true.)

Or, "Now you don't have to deal with all those random, outdated keys that had collected on your key chain! Cross THAT off the ol' to-do list!"

Or, "Sure, those were $100 sunglasses, but they never really fit right, & you were only keeping them because you felt bad about the price."

Or, "You always hated that crappy phone case. Somebody else's problem now!"

Once we'd dealt with the immediate aftermath of the situation, Don & I kind of melted into the couch & didn't move for a while, except to drink more, & started listing all the super important things we know we reeeeaaallly ought to take care of but have put off for long enough that we've convinced ourselves that it's not that big a deal.

"We should put together an earthquake kit."

"We should write our wills."

"We should get LastPass set up." (Okay, fine, that was just me....Seriously, I've had the tab open in my browser window for months. I finally got CrashPlan set up a few months ago, so at least I've got that going for me.)

"We should make copies of all our important documents & stash them somewhere."

"We should, like, *find* all our important documents." (Fine, that was just me too.)

Suddenly I find myself a lot more highly motivated to do all that stuff.

Dealing with getting the car re-keyed today was an even bigger headache than I thought it would be, & over the course of the day I had some pretty low moments. In the spirit of bringing your own weather, I thought I'd share this quote from Caitlin Moran's "My Posthumous Advice for My Daughter," which was mostly what got me through it:

"Life divides into AMAZING ENJOYABLE TIMES and APPALLING EXPERIENCES THAT WILL MAKE FUTURE AMAZING ANECDOTES. However awful, you can get through any experience if you imagine yourself, in the future, telling your friends about it as they scream, with increasing disbelief, ‘NO! NO!’ Even when Jesus was on the cross, I bet He was thinking, ‘When I rise in three days, the disciples aren’t going to believe this when I tell them about it.’"

It made me laugh every time I thought I was about to completely fall apart again.

Hope your week's going better than mine. :P


  1. No. NO! Bah! I have always thought Kezar, especially on crowded nights, was a relatively safe place to stash things -- less because there were people around and more just, like, why would someone want MY stuff when there's all this OTHER stuff there? I definitely leave my phone in my water bottle pocket and leave my water bottle by the track -- or, uh, used to. I am glad you found a way to get the car out of there and get new keys and still HAVE a car and whatnot, but this sucks. And also, I need to make an earthquake kit.

    1. Ugh, I know - I think what bummed me out the most, realizing that I had assumed it was a totally safe place & now I know it isn't necessarily. (In fact, when I made the police report, they told me that it's the third report they've had of something stolen from there in the last week, so definitely be cautious.)

  2. I know this isn't a competition, but this whole episode of yours really put the $100 parking ticket I got last week to shame. Thanks also for the reminder to be diligent -- it's so easy to think we're safer than we are, when there are a-holes everywhere. Glad you were able to keep your chin up with positive thoughts though!

    1. Heh, thanks. Everything could always be worse!

  3. Oh shit! Maybe I need to rethink everything. I leave my phone and keys EVERYWHERE, like on the beach at aquatic park. I always figure people are going to be really disappointed if they steal my stuff. That's my weather ;)

    1. Heh, that's what I always thought. But it turns out that even if they're disappointed by your stuff, sometimes it's still *really* freaking expensive to replace!

  4. Man, what a bummer. Congrats on finding all the silver linings in your weather clouds...

  5. I can't sleep (don't want to go to sleep) after that Stanford game. Ugh. To the Alamo Bowl we go. Though your story puts that in perspective that football is a lesser concern than actual problems. Wow that is a tough one. I've never left anything in a bag while I'm running, I lock my key in my shoe laces, and carry everything else in my amphipod fuel belt. I am too afraid of losing something or having something stolen. Though I never do track workouts, so I'm never in your situation of doing workouts around a track in 1 spot. Glad that you sort of got most things sorted out, though sounds like a massive pain.

    1. Ugggghhhhhhh I can't even talk about it.......Total bullshit. :P

  6. I'll add that I lost my keys down my building elevator shaft and freaked out. Luckily I had a spare key at my house for basically everything (and I was able to get my actual keys back), but it shows that it is a good idea to get a spare key of everything important. I got my spare keys done at Orchard Supply for cheap. I also put together most of my financial documents in 1 spot that I could find - that is a necessary task as well.