Author: Evans, Bill

Itís getting better all the timeÖ.or bad luck follows me like the plague - itís your call.

My first thought as I approached my vehicle as I was preparing to leave from the gig was, ďWhat is all of that ice doing around my car?Ē Itís funny how the mind sometimes reacts when it sees something that it cannot immediately comprehend. It was just a short moment before I realized that where there was once a window on the front passenger side of my SUV, there was now empty space, with a shower of glass particles on the seat and all around the outside of the vehicle, glistening in the persistent, cold Seattle drizzle.

The mind races while time collapses, making moments seems like minutes - or hours. My bag was on that front seat, wasnít it? Yes, I think it was - I remember placing it there at the beginning of my load out some twenty minutes earlier. Yet, I didnít believe it was gone - I quickly went back into the performance hall convinced that I had left it in the green room. When this kind of stuff happens, it takes a while for all of it to sink in.

I had wanted to stop off at the bank earlier that day but didnít have time, as I had to rush across town for my morning workshop. Damn. I regret that now but thereís never enough time to do everything when youíre out on the road with an overloaded schedule. Most days Iím lucky to eat a couple of meals and get anything close to five hours of sleep. The thieves probably had watched me load everything into my car and had waited for the right moment to quickly strike - and that created a deep shudder. If I had come out at that moment, would I have been harmed? Or what if a volunteer had been hurt in this attempt? This could have been much, much worse. While I wasnít exactly celebrating my good luck at that moment, a sense of balance began to take hold.

Once I had registered that my bag had indeed been stolen and that this had been the object of the theft all along, I took a quick mental inventory of what I had lost. Computer, all of the income Iíd earned up to that point on this yearís Northwest tour, my iPod, some headphones, a hair brush, toothbrush, a nice messenger bag, my phone AC adapterÖ.a lot of things, when it was all added up. But it was just stuff - most all of it I didnít even need. Luckily, none of my banjos were stolen. I checked to see if the thieves might have left me one (which would have taken a good deal of premeditation), but all was in good order in the back of the car. Again, this could have been much, much worse.

The computerÖI quickly remembered that it was unsecured and that a document with all of my passwords was in easy access. Obviously, I had never imagined that this sort of thing would happen to me. I needed to change passwords and I needed to do it at this moment, despite the fact that it was 11 p.m. on a rainy Seattle night and still I had to drive 90 miles north to Bellingham for a 2 p.m. show the next afternoon.

Luckily, my wife back home in the Bay Area was still awake and she was quickly sitting at the home computer, working with me to change passwords and IDís while concert volunteers were securing the car with duct tape and plastic. Itís amazing in how many places our personal information is stored these days. While we worked to change the passwords on the most important websites as quickly as we could, there was one that we couldnít figure out how to change. Sure enough, by Monday morning, $1,250 was gone from that account.

Shift into the identity theft phase of this adventure. Hours and hours spent on hold on the telephone (often before being disconnected), and, once I had managed to return home, more hours spent in the bank lobby changing all of our familyís accounts. This was followed by interminably long phone conversations with sympathetic insurance representatives who pretended to care and totally disinterested police detectives who acted like they couldnít care less (the Seattle police werenít going to do anything with my case since my losses were under $10,000 - such is the world we live in). The thieves had left something of an email trail that lead to a mysterious Seattle gang website - with a phone number! My feelings of violation were now mixing with anger but the vulnerability remains for a while.

Some lessons learned: secure my computer, keep that bag close until everything else is loaded into the car first, watch my surroundings, and, most of all, get more volunteer help with load in and load out. And count your blessings always.

The funny thing is that while in Virginia ten days later, my rental car was vandalized! Nothing stolen but the bumper was totally destroyed by something like a crow bar. Another lesson learned: go ahead and purchase that optional insurance.

They say trouble comes in threeís but I donít believe it. Things are now getting so much better all the time. But Iím learning to keep my fingers crossed and look both ways.

All the best,

Bill Evans
Posted:  2/24/2012

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