When people ask me about safety in the van I say that I’ve never had a problem and don’t expect to. Even sociopaths don’t go looking in parked vans for people to harm; the only likely mishap is that someone might try to rob the van, and that’s really simple to avoid. Stealing things from a car is risky: a thief will only break into a car if he or she can see something of value (or something that could have valuables in it like a purse), *and* if it looks quick and easy to grab it and run. So I don’t leave anything worth stealing in view, and I keep the doors locked. Easy. I also suspect that most thieves tend to avoid vans that look like someone might be sleeping inside, but of course some thieves aren’t bright enough to think about that, and others may desperate enough to take larger-than-usual risks.

So imagine my surprise last night when I woke up to someone reaching in the front seat of the van. I’ve always wondered how I would respond in that situation; in my fantasies I would wake up to the sound of someone trying to pick the lock, and I would let out a huge RRRAAAWWWWWRRRR!!!! and the would-be thief would run away terrified. But you don’t get time to think these things through when they’re really happening. What I said was “excuse me!” with the kind of mild indignation you might have after someone butts in front of you to get on the bus. Silly as it must have sounded, the thief did indeed run away… with my bag in his hand. For a brief second I considered jumping out and chasing him down the street (buck naked: I’m sure that would have really terrified him) but he jumped into a beat-up little white pickup and drove off.

Strangely, the bag he got was a courier bag full of all my bike gear. I’d just brought it back from my mom’s house that day, thinking that when I move to Halifax I’ll want to bike to school. Nice stuff, expensive to replace I suppose, but nothing I was desperately attached to. Still stunned, I was thinking about this when I realized that my other bag, which contained my credit card, cash for the next two weeks, computer, and most importantly my math homework, was still in the front where I’d left it in plain view, with the door unlocked.

So… big thank you to whatever god or faerie or random swirl of chaos was looking out for me last night. From now on I promise I’ll be less cocky, and more careful!

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