never been a bitch so I don't act bitchy

Sunday, November 20, 2005


That's my LAPD stolen vehicle report number.

My family had the car for 17 years; I had it for the last nine. I learned to drive in that car. I did my first job -- delivering videos for a rental store (mostly pornos) -- in it. I drove to Canada with a girlfriend in that car. I discovered music on that crappy factory stereo. I got into my only accident to date when I was 17; in passenger seat: Rebecca Romijn (pre-Stamos). And yes, I lost my virginity in that car (not with Rebecca Romijn, however).

I'm not a car person. Cars don't really turn me on. I realize I live in a town and work in an industry where one is judged by the symbol on one's key ring, and I have been embarrassed in certain occasions to pull up in front of a fancy restaurant for a meeting where the person I'm meeting is waiting out front and my brakes squeal as I stop and my door crunches as I emerge. And sure, I've often thought it would be nice to have air conditioning or power windows or a stereo that had more than one functioning speaker, but the car worked, and there was no reason for me not to drive it. I always assumed one day it would simply stop working and it would cost too much to fix and then I'd have to put her down, after a tearful ceremony. But if I've learned one thing it's that you never get the endings you envision. And indeed I was robbed of that ending this morning, sometime between 2am and 10:30am.

I keep trying to be funny about it. Joking that the thief is going to be very nervous that the check engine light is always on (there's a short) and that he'll be quite confused by the Tori Amos tape in the glove box (old; very old). It's also due for a smog check and an oil change and is out of gas, so, you know, he'll immediately have to put a few bucks into the thing, so already it's a financial hardship, this car. A real ray of hope is that the tags just expired, so the thief could be pulled over for no reason. And there isn't much in the car, other than some roller blades size 14, an umbrella, a faded 49ers hat, a Kangol, a red Ben Davis shirt, a skateboard, a Frisbee, a bike rack, a 1995 Thomas Guide, and an old tennis racket. I never even put the earthquake kit in the trunk that I'd been meaning to buy, so joke's on him.

I drove around a bit today looking. I knew I wasn't going to find it, but it felt good just to be able to pretend to be doing something.

I enjoy things, but I'm not a possession freak. But there's no way to spin it other than: the car was mine. I loved it and took care of it. And some evil fucking asshole took it from me and that fucking sucks and I hate him forever. And that's kinda all the lesson that I can extract from it right now. Some People Are Dicks.

So hey, if you live in the East part of Los Angeles, here's what it looks like:

If you happen to be driving and you see a faded 1988 Burgundy Honda Civic with no front emblem and Rilo Kiley and "Save Buttleman" bumper stickers on the back, say hi.

And then call the police.

You know, at the end of the day, I'm tempted to wonder why on a street filled with newer, shinier, more expensive cars, they took mine. But I know the answer. It is a very, very good car. And I'll miss it a whole bunch.


Anonymous Wing Chun said...

Stee! That's heartbreaking! I rode in that car; it took us places very well, and it had a lot of character. I hope the person who stole it from you gets it stolen from him. By you.

4:56 PM

Blogger shortround said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. We own an '89 Civic in blue and I'd hate to think of anyone deprived of that brand of joy.

I hope your car comes home.

5:08 PM

Anonymous Glark said...


Speaking as someone who rode AND farted in that car (repeatedly on both counts) I would like to extend my sympathies for the passing of this fine car. The kicker is you can't get something even close to it now as today's Civics all belong to the Civic Nation of hoodlum car modders of which you are not a citizen.

5:12 PM

Anonymous Ana said...

Oh Stee! I'm so sorry about your car. As an insurance salesperson, I can tell you that that model Honda is one of the most stolen cars. Sorry!

5:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo, that sucks. i experienced similar heartbreak about a year ago when some idiot crashed into my car, sheila, while i was at work. she was old and shitty but, like your car, she was witness to many of my firsts. when i saw sheila all mangled and trashed i openly wept. heaving, choking, sobs of sadness. god damm it, i loved that car.

7:16 PM

Anonymous Chito said...

Damn, Holmes, that sucks, but it's silver lining time.

When our dope-ass Ford Escort died out, we didn't know what to do, so we had Blynch's dad hook us up with this car dealer in Killeen, Texas. We told him that he could basically do with us what he wished as long as the payment was affordable, the car was a V6 that got good mileage, that it could hold some kids, and that it had four doors.

He decided on the 2001 Buick Century Custom.

We got to Killeen (about a two-hour drive) and our car was waiting for us there.

People had already begun to make fun of me for driving a grandma car, even though we hadn't bought it yet. I got in and realized this car was the SHIT!!! The ride was smoove, the sound was bumpin', and the tank acted like it had a false bottom. I am 37, which might be too young for this, but I think I am a Buick man.

Give it a shot, playa. You won't be sorry.

9:39 PM

Anonymous Jon said...

Stee, my car was stolen out of a pay parking lot while I was in college. I drove around, looking for it as well. While I didn't have it nearly as long you had yours, I did have my second sexual experience in that car, and therefore it meant a lot to me.

I know what you're going through, and I'm sorry that that happened, dude. It just plain sucks.

9:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw, I've been in that car too. Boo, thieves! Boooooo!

I think Hondas engender strong familiar feelings in their owners, stronger than other kinds of cars. I still miss my old Accord.


10:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Familial." Not "familiar." Bitches took your car AND my L.

--Sars again

10:02 PM

Blogger dammitray said...

not stolen. it's running free with my el camino in the deserts of mexico. they wanted to see the world. nope, definitely not stolen, but i'm sorry the el camino was such a bad influence on the civic

10:30 PM

Anonymous Patrick said...

Stee, I'm so sorry about your car! What an awful thing to have happened, especially to a car with so many memories attached.

12:29 AM

Blogger Lisa D said...

Very very sad to hear... I'm sure things will work out. Maybe this was just the car-gods way of saying... "damn, you need a new fucking car." I'd take that as a sign to buy something nice. I have the feeling the Civic would want it this way!

5:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh wow....i can relate! my current car is one i've had for over 8, almost nine years. :(

6:43 AM

Blogger mo pie said...

My fiance had his 1985 Toyota stolen, and when they found it a week later, it had a new stereo, a fixed side mirror, and a fixed air conditioning vent. But wait, there's more! It had been detailed, had a trunk full of stolen goods, and had a "handbook for prison behavior" and a bunch of personal correspondence in the trunk (which was very entertaining, incidentally). So maybe the same thing will happen to you, and some ex-con will pimp your ride and then you'll get it back. Here's hoping! Because that fucking sucks.

6:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sucks, stee. So sorry to hear that. But I may have an answer for why your car was stolen over the newer, fancier ones: I once had a crappy, late-80s Buick stolen, and the cops who found it said that '80s and early cars are popular because they have more real steel in the construction, and therefore can be more valuable to chop shops.

Although the car had been fairly well stripped when the cops found it, I took some small comfort in the fact that the thieves were still in the process of stripping it when the cops arrived, that the cops were both seemingly petite young women from whom the thieves tried to run, and it was strongly implied that when these cops caught them, they made them very sorry they ran. Hee--the car thieves got beat down by a coupla girls.

8:15 AM

Blogger severe ponytail said...

i once thought my celica was stolen in college, but it turned out i was just too drunk to remember where i parked it.

9:13 AM

Anonymous Kathryn said...

I am a survivor of car theft. I had a sweet ride- a 1990 Buick Century, robin's egg blue. The hub caps kept falling off, and the windsheild wipers broke as I was driving it in a rainstorm once, but other than that, it was the perfect car. It was huge and could fit all of my friends in it and we would go driving around the midwest. We even took it to Graceland. Then some asshole gangster kids stole it while I slept one night. Like you, I tried to joke about it initially- I went out drinking at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis that night, and also the Turf Club in St. Paul, boasting the whole time about how I could get as drunk as I wanted because I couldn't drive anymore because I had no car. But the loss of that car left a hole in my heart that exists still, 7 years later. They caught the bastards that stole it red-handed, because they were so stupid as to drive it on the freeway during rush hour 5 days after they stole it. However, they trashed the car so badly that my insurance company totalled it out. The stealers pinned all the blame on one kid, who was 17 at the time, so he only got sent to juvie, and then he did not pay me any of the restitution he was ordered by the judge to pay. By the by- I found it that this was his 13th arrest. When I called his parole officer about the lack of payment, I was informed that the perp had turned 18, and served his time, therefore they couldn't force him to pay me my restitution, but I could docket the case and then he would have trouble with his credit. What bullshit, like who doesn't have trouble with their credit? They only solace I have is that in court I got to make a victim's statement and I screamed at the kid that he was an asshole loser and I hope he would go on to have a rotten life. Also, his mom was there, and clearly this kid wasn't really all that hard-core, because she was dressed up all pretty like Mrs. Banks on Fresh Prince when she teaches the class on African History and she looked at me with kindness and looked at her kid with embarrassment like she was going to kick his ass later. Anyway, I feel your pain, and it is so fucking unfair, because a free car is a gift. Now you'll probably have to buy a new car and make payments, which is such bullshit, because you used to have a free car. Such bullshit.

10:18 AM

Anonymous erin said...

oh fuck. we were JUST talking about your beloved car last week!

my condolences. maybe some kids just took it for a joy ride. :(

11:21 AM

Blogger Beth said...

I bet you'll get it back. Everyone I know who's had a car that old get stolen has gotten it back in a couple of weeks. Nobody is stealing 88 Hondas for chop shops; they are stealing them to drive them. If you get it back, it might not be the same, because it might have done some crimes, seen some of the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, done some things it's not too proud of. Just be gentle and don't push it to talk about it before it's ready.

I'm sorry about your car. I hated my old car that kept getting stolen and coming back, but it was still a really awful feeling every time it happened.

11:48 AM

Blogger Kat said...

I'm so sorry, Stee. That sucks big time. We had an old honda stolen once - saw it a month or so later at a destruction derby! Boy I was pissed.

They're just good loyal cars. You gave him a good life. :)

12:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is totally fucked - I am sorry.

I completely get it. Having once been the owner of an 88 Toyota Corolla that had 80K miles on it when I bought it, and I put on thousands more as a PA. Yeah, sometimes it didn't start, but it was mine. i owned it. I loved that car.


1:39 PM

Blogger Urban Bella said...

Ah, man. Wow. Sorry about the car. Some people do indeed suck. My thoughts are with you during this time of grieving. Seriously.

p.s. So what kind of car are you going to buy next?

2:39 AM

Anonymous Lizzie said...

maybe whoever broke into my truck the night before (the 19th-my birthday!) and stole my stereo needed a new car to put it in...
sorry to hear it, Stee

8:20 AM

Blogger lipstickface said...

Im so sorry Stee.
If it is any consolation my friend Libby's car was stolen and we drove around - into the projects of New Orleans - and found it.

Then the dudes who stole it jumped in it and we had high speed chase which was pretty cool. I say keep looking for it. You could find it!

8:41 AM


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