Sometime you have to take justice into your own hands.
I felt like Dog the Bounty Hunter. As I was running across the street aiming at jumping onto the hood of my own car, I was thinking to myself, Is this real life!? Before we get into an existential debate, hop with me into the rabbit hole and back to the beginning.
One night, while I was sitting in my room I heard a tap on glass. I had recently closed a window in the kitchen to prevent a cat from coming in, so I thought, wow, is the cat knocking? I ignored it until I heard a louder knock, looked up and saw a man standing and staring at me in the window. He was also touching himself. I screamed, he ran, and that was that.
Strange things started happening. A pair of men’s shoes randomly showed up in the bushes outside my room and I would hear someone walking around near my windows in the middle of the night. As a precaution (because I didn’t want a stranger to watch me in my sleep, or to die) I started to close my shutters at night and I told my landlord that a creeper was creeping. He’s in tight with the guys that watch the neighborhood. Spoiler alert: they’re not that great at watching the neighborhood.
One night I came home exhausted, threw my keys on my desk and rested on my bed with the full intention of getting up to close a window that was cracked open when I was swept off to dreamland.
Seriously, Is this Real Life?
Woke up in the morning, looking for keys, no keys, get distracted, forget I was looking for keys, look for keys, no keys, until finally I had to leave the house and I could no longer get distracted from my mission. No keys.
Ok, I know for a fact I locked the car but maybe I forgot that I forgot something in the car and went back? No, that can’t be it. I know I didn’t go back to the car. Ok, maybe.
Go to car, no car. No keys, no car.
Jorgen was with me when I locked the door of the car the night before and he was with me when I was looking for the car. He wondered if I parked it somewhere else and we both forgot. He starts walking up and down the street looking for car, no car.
I explain to him why the car has to be parked here by recounting our steps the night before, he agrees, I call my true blue friend Lea and we head of to the police station. She helped make me look less like an idiot my keeping my arabic speaking to a minimum, plus, she’s such a gangster in these types of situations.
We file a report and I am super stressed. Not that the car was stolen, somehow I wasn’t so stressed about that. I was worried about what I was going to tell my father. Oh yeah Dad, I know you worry about me so it might trouble you to learn that a man came to my window the other night and probably watched me in my sleep for a little while before stealing my car keys, and consequently, my car. I doesn’t help my argument about staying in Beirut despite the ‘situtation’.
So, the process at the police station takes hours because between getting coffee, water, catching up with his homeboys, calling people about other cases and god knows what else, the police officer helping me is literally writing down (like, with a pen) every single thing I am telling him. I ask what the chances are that I get my car back, he laughs, says they put a notice with the checkpoints in case the car is trying to leave the country, but the chances are slim. One guy actually said simply, 0%.
Justice, a dish served hot and messy
Two weeks later, I’m in a car with a friend from who just arrived from LA earlier that day, his cousin who was driving, and, as usual, the 2famous crew (ok, that makes us sound like a breakdancing troupe, but seriously, try to figure out a word other than crew. Gang? No. Peoples? No. Suffice it to say that I made the effort before deciding on crew.) I’m was telling my friend and his cousin about my car, when the cousin makes a wrong turn, I happen to look to the left and…wait, it that my car!?
– Hey guys, I think that’s my car!
– No way. How can it be your car?
– Seriously, I’m pretty sure that’s my car.
The cousin was backing up to get us back on the main road and my car looked dusty and abandoned, so I thought that I would just come back after he dropped me off. I was parked less than a mile from my house. Suddenly, he gets the car back into drive, presumably, to prove to me that car was not mine. We get out, I look at the car and we all realize at the same time, it is! Car! Car! No keys but car!
I call the cops. I want them to put a boot on the car until I figure out the key situation. They tell me they’re on their way.
The cousin puts his hand on the hood to check the temperature. It’s hot, which means the guy drove it recently.
Jorgen says we should back away from the car in case the guy comes back.
We back away. Two minutes later, a guy walks up the street, then between two cars, then into my car!
So we run across the street, all of us naturally assuming positions of attack. I felt like on of those wild African dogs in the Planet Earth series (from Pole to Pole, I think) that attacked without mercy and with complete precision.
I jump onto the hood like a psycho. I can’t believe what’s happening. I was looking at him though the windshield and I recognized him immediately. What’s the deal with this guy and glass barriers?
The cousin breaks the driver’s side window, puts the guy in a headlock to prevent him from driving and fleeing. My friend breaks the passenger side window (on the second attempt, the first time the rock just bounced off) struggles to get the keys away from the guy. I, still like a psycho, was yelling at the guy about touching himself in my window, and stealing my car, and other things that have kept us, as strangers, connected in this lonely universe.
The neighbors are all nearly falling out of their balconies trying to watching the drama unfold below them. Jorgen stops a random guy to park his motorcycle in front of the car so he can’t get away, he gets involved in the scene, starts yelling at the guy about stealing in his country, pushes him around a little. My friend finally gets the keys out of the guys hand. Keys. Car, Keys!
The cops come. Guy goes to jail.
The Criminal with the Heart of Gold (when he gets around to it)
I spot him in the police station as I am walking into a room to file the police report, and I start yelling, in Arabic** like a psycho, ‘What kind of idiot steals a car and keeps it in the same neighborhood? You could have at least chopped it and made some money and probably gotten away with it! And, thanks for pulling ‘it’ out in my window…’ (this one made all the cops stop in their tracks) until finally one of the cops grabs my arm and pulls me into the waiting room. Apparently, I am not allowed to talk, much less yell and the criminals.
Then, in complete honestly and without shame, he said, ‘Everyday I thought about returning the car back to you, but I never got around to it.’
Actually, other than a small case of ‘the crazy eye’, he’s just an average looking 29-year-old guy, nothing notable about him. I guess that’s how he can walk through neighborhoods, past the guys who are protecting it, up to the window of a girl and start touching himself without being noticed.
*Even though this guy is a total creeper and a thief, I still feel a little responsible for him being in jail. I mean, forget about the car, the guy is a public masturbator and a peeping Tom, which should be enough to keep him off the streets, but still, for weeks I couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt. I’m over that now.
**Anyone who has heard me speak in Arabic can imagine how much more absurd I must sound when I yell it.
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