(Note: I wrote this in March, 2005. I repost it for Kierkegaard’s commemoration tomorrow)
Last night a friend I hadn’t seen in some months happened to be in Hyde Park just as I was winding down from a long shift of paper-writing. Figuring that I could spare the time, we resolved to meet up for a drink. At first we considered Jimmy’s, but ended up parking by Bar Louie and going to the Cove. When we came back later in the evening, my friend’s window had been smashed, her stereo pulled out, and her laptop taken from the trunk. My messenger bag, which had been sitting in the front seat, was also gone. My little pile of books, with Fear and Trembling at the top, was unmolested.
Crime of this sort is so routine in Hyde Park that it’s hard to muster even indignation at it. You’ll get more sympathy and surprise from people if your car won’t start than if it’s been broken into, and it’s not because people are bad. It’s just that you can’t spend any great deal of time living here without it happening to a number of people around you.
The city police were worthless, and the U of C cop we spoke to later was friendly and sympathetic but resigned. Within a couple of hours this morning, my friend had a new window delivered to and installed in her car for a surprisingly reasonable fee. Sweep the crumbles of grass onto the street and go to work. Meanwhile, I’ll be reconstructing my final papers and my upcoming sermon from some saved files and memory/b.s. I’ll miss having that journal, and I don’t relish the thought of finding and buying another portable zip-up copy of the NRSV Bible. But I have my Kierkegaard, and that’s what really matters.
For my moralistically-inclined readers, you may think that there’s a message in this story of ditching the library for a bar during finals week, and you’re right. There is indeed a lesson in this: always go to Jimmy’s.