Dear person or persons who keep breaking into my car and then declining to steal any of the possessions found therein,

We shouldn’t be strangers. We have had this relationship for years, you and I. We are probably neighbors in Southwest D.C., both enjoying the quiet in the midst of urban density. You remain convinced, for example, that a 14-year-old Mazda filled with crap is a world of potential. Many — nay, most — would assume after the first disappointing rummage that my car would continue to let you down. We could even consider that a professional appraisal. But you are steadfast and filled with hope, and apparently nothing but your own hands will persuade you that there aren’t three iPads in the glove compartment.

You also have a certain artistry. Your most recent endeavor excavated a box of tampons from who knows where and left them on my passenger seat, unfurled and bloated by rain. Those most quotidian, yet generally hidden, of personal objects still have the power to shock, when seen in daylight; indeed, it was startling to see them there, so many, removed of their purpose. I think your message was a reminder — forgive my presumption to summarize art — that we are all primitives, but all humans, do we not all bleed? And our caves are not as safe as we think.

But listen. As much as I have endeavored to understand your deeds, a certain irrationality still puzzles me. The act of smashing my windows inevitably costs me money, which makes it even less likely that you will find Apple products to your liking the next time you smash my window. This cycle does neither of us any good.

So I propose a new joint venture. I will leave my car window broken. You will be able to confirm to your heart’s content that nothing you value is inside. I will even leave some broken pieces of glass — though by now you know it is designed to break without cutting skin.

In this manner, through this covenant, I might someday grow rich enough to become careless with things you could sell. Maybe.

Please just don’t pee in there or anything. That’s your side of the bargain.


Rachel Manteuffel