A theft

camera travel

Today we have a different sort of story to share.


While the India story continues to unfold, we’re actually moving into our place in Brooklyn, NY. It’s finally time to return to California and ship our things over there, so I flew back this past Thursday and Michael picked me up from the airport in Eve’s car, which he’s been looking after while we’ve been away. 


Back at his house, we paused. Neither of us had gotten food, so we decided to roll right by it and head down to Divisadero. There we parked, threw our things into the back, and I upgraded my shorts to pants. After closing the trunk Michael reopened it and took out the Burning Man ticket that we had brought for him, saying he wasn’t sure why but he wanted to keep it on his person. I did the same for a parking pass that was destined for another friend.


That was the last time I saw my stuff. 


In line and next-up at the counter, a woman carrying a large instrument case asked if we were the owners of the blue car - someone had just broken into it, taken everything, and run off down Broderick. We were off like a flash. Running back I at first didn’t see a broken window and furiously hoped that it might be someone else’s. Please let her be mistaken. Alas. The back-right passenger window was smashed out and they had dropped the back seat to get at our bags in the trunk. They couldn’t have known to do that unless they had watched us. 


The girl followed us and described the perpetrators to the police on the phone while Michael took off down the street in case they had abandoned the backpacks and just taken the valuables. His was a leather backpack from India, and not easily replaced. As police flashers bathed the street I was amazed at how helpless I felt about it all, and here’s why: in that backpack was both my laptop and my backup hard drive, and between them, all of our travel photos. They’ll never be recovered.


The next day there was some heartwarming news. I woke up to an email titled “Found your book bag on the street : ( “ Someone named Aaron had filled out the form on our blog. This seemed odd to me because I knew for a fact that the URL wasn’t written anywhere in my backpack - no business cards, no notes. How did he find it? 


Right now petty theft in San Francisco is an epidemic. The police said that there are 70 cases like ours each day. Aaron and his girlfriend Anna were among those cases recently and when they saw our two backpacks in the bushes, they knew what it meant. They found my kindle still hidden in a pocket, from which they lifted my name. From a few coffee punch-cards with New York addresses, they gathered the location. Together, they Googled my name plus New York and it brought them to our blog.


In some sense, all of this writing and all of our wonderful readers have been slowly building the search rank of this website until this one event where we could be found.


I thanked them profusely when we met up in Oakland. The laptops were of course gone, but everything else remained, and more than anything it was nice to know that around the theft, people had been extremely sympathetic and helpful. The girl who had told us about the break-in stayed around to talk to the police. The couple who found the bags came out to meet in Oakland. It’s some small solace. 


The blogposts about India will continue, only now, without pictures. he photographs exist only in our memories and after calling Eve somewhat distraught, we've both agreed that we'll just have to go back to take more in the future.