|Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.
My daughter, Katie, moved to San Diego, CA after she graduated from the University of Maine. I remembering remarking to her that she was going as far away as she possibly could from me while still remaining on the same continent. That, however, did not deter her in any degree, and she has lived there for over a year. San Diego has, indisputably, some of the best and most consistent weather in the world. It also has some lovely beaches, what might be the greatest zoo in the world and of course, the wonderful Sea World. That, in my mind at least, pretty much sums up what it has on the positive side of my list. The negative side is far longer.
Katie got a job in San Diego before she graduated from college. That was nice. It's a good job, too. She has a cute apartment within sight of the beach. She also has had her purse stolen once and her car rear-ended twice and stolen once. These events, although new and horrendous to her, were not greeted with overwhelming surprise by anyone she knew or with whom she works. Evidently, they have all been rear-ended multiple times and if they haven't had their own car stolen at least once, they are related to or know someone who has. Most of them have been robbed at least once. Cute.
The latest bit of criminal and vehicular madness that has afflicted her actually happened to her boyfriend. Katie's serious boyfriend, Steve, is a graduate student in chemistry at the University of California at San Diego. He is a darling boy, incredibly smart, kind, loving, and a wonderful boyfriend. I couldn't have done better for her if I had chosen him myself. He is a sweet and adorable young man from Nova Scotia who grew up pretty much like she did since life in Nova Scotia is a lot more like life in Maine than life in San Diego will ever be. That said, he is about as familiar with constant traffic mayhem, car theft, and robbery as she is. Poor Steve was the latest victim of vehicular criminal behavior, but his story is both shocking and bizarre.
Steve does not own a car. He lives near to the University and bikes everywhere. His bike, which he loves, is a very nice, upscale model that he worked hard and saved for and it is as important in his life as Katie's car is in hers. Last week Katie drove to pick him up at the University in a rental car because she had to pick up her car from the shop where it had undergone surgery from its last rear-ending and he was going to drive it so that she could return the rental. Steve's bike can be dismantled enough to fit in her trunk, which comes in handy, so they went to pick it up where he had locked it up outside the chemistry building. As you have probably guessed, they were horrified to find that it had been stolen. Steve was devastated. They called the police with the details but had very little hope that they would ever see it again. They then began their six mile drive to the body shop to retrieve her car. On the way they missed their exit and had to take another, turn around, and go back. When they got to the shop Katie went in to sign the paperwork and Steve stayed outside with the rental car. Just as the mechanic was handing her the keys, she heard Steve outside yelling at the top of his lungs. She sprinted outside to find him standing at the curb next to a disreputable looking man on a bike. Steve had the man by the shirt front and was screaming at him, "Give me back my %@!&* bike!" Much to her amazement, the bike in question was, in fact, Steve's beloved mode of transportation and the guy sitting on it was, obviously, the scoundrel who had stolen it. The bike-thief was denying everything, of course, and insisting that he had bought the bike in of all places, Michigan. Steve, who is so even-tempered and mild-mannered that Katie has never even seen him angry, was red in the face and had a death grip on both the accused and the bike. He pulled the guy's face down to the cross bar and pointed out to him, in the strongest possible language, that the words "Nova Scotia" were clearly, visibly engraved on the metal. Katie told the bike snatcher that they had called the police and he had two choices, he could walk away or wait and get arrested. The gentleman chose to vacate the premises. Katie felt that this was the best possible scenario since she didn't know how crazy the guy might be and Steve was beginning to foam at the mouth.
After putting the bike in the car and discussing the bizarre coincidences and miraculous timing that had led to its rescue, they got into the rental and Katie's car to drive to the agency to deliver the rental back to the agency. Just as they were pulling out they saw the very same desperado riding by on yet another obviously stolen bike. This was too much. They followed him down the road and Katie called the police on her cell phone. Ultimately, the guy was stopped by a motorcycle cop who found the entire story both amazing and amusing. The bike thief was taken off to jail and Katie and Steve felt good about doing their civic duty and saving someone else's bike.
All things considered, it ended well, but I told Katie that I have had about enough of that place and its insane lifestyle and that if she got married and tried to raise my grandchildren there I would probably have to kidnap them. She told me that while she and Steve had enjoyed many aspects of living there, they were pretty much fed up with San Diego and had no intention of staying there after Steve graduated. Sadly, Steve will not have his Masters Degree until December of 2009, and a lot can happen between now and then. All I can do is hope that whatever might happen it will end as well as the curious case of the purloined bike.