I guess they found it; the van, I mean.
A few days ago, people I’ve never met,
nameless, faceless people who didn’t even know me
Did a rude and insolent thing.
They stole from me.
They took my car. Actually, they took my van.
Drove it, as if it was their very own.
Sat behind the wheel.
In broad daylight, and then, throughout the city’s night,
They — those nameless, faceless ones who didn’t even know me
Took their pleasure; they took their leisure, as they took my van.
They rode around the darkened streets of Oakland. They sat behind the wheel of my white van, the one with the left front light that is loose, and needs to be fixed; the van with the drippy leak in the air conditioner, a leak that makes the floor carpet wet in the summertime, so it smells like musty socks.
I wonder? Did they notice, as they started the engine, that my van — the one
they drove, now, as if it were their own — I wonder? Did they notice right away
that “their” new wheels had balled tires on the front, and had already been driven 205,000 miles?
Or did it take them some time to notice the odometer?
Did they drive feet, or blocks, or miles before they heard the whine in the transmission? (I need to have that looked at.)
And as they went so far as to steal my van, did they notice the fuel? They stole my van with an empty tank. Did they gas-up before
they went too far?
Did they listen to the radio? Did they change the stations? The music I listen to on
my van radio? Did they like it? (I wonder about things like that; do you?)
Police called last evening. “We found your car,” said the nice officer.
“You want to come get it now, or pick it up tomorrow at the impound yard?”
‘Tomorrow,’ said I. ‘Tomorrow will be fine.’
And yet? I’m not sure I want that white van anymore.
I hadn’t thought of it until the Little Woman brought it up.
“I don’t want to ride in that van anymore,’ said the wife of my youth.
“Violated,’ said she. “People I don’t even know have been sitting in those seats. God knows what kind of people have been driving our van.”
And then I thought it, too. (She often has thoughts about things before I do.)
Someone else has been riding in my car.
Someone else has been steering my wheels.
Someone else has been pushing my buttons; people I don’t even know.
I don’t think I like that very much.
Maybe I’ll just leave well-enough alone.
Maybe I’ll just walk away from that pile of junk.
But then, again, maybe not.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and thieves break in and steal …” (Jesus)