When I was in college, I decided to throw an end of the semester party, right before the holiday vacation. We all—my roommates, friends, and then-boyfriend (now husband) made it through a particularly tough term, and deserved a chance to celebrate.
It was pretty Christmas-y, with tinsel and holly decorations, a themed cocktail menu, and a pile of Santa Hats for a photo opportunity. I scoured my Pinterest boards, created a Facebook event page, and even sent digital invitations with a jingle attached. Even with the pressure of final exams and papers, I was able to plan this party with full effort.
How could I know, then, that this night would turn into one of the most traumatic events of the year?
Don’t worry. The party went off without a hitch. The punch was delicious and the guests were cheerful and lovely.
Right before guests started showing up, however, my car was stolen.
I was living in a popular Lakewood apartment complex, right by Red Rocks. Most of our neighbors were college kids or young couples, and this part of Denver is not known for having a high crime rate. Regardless, my 1999 sparkly red Jeep Cherokee was stolen right from my parking spot, about 30 feet from my front door.
The worst part? Chad, my then-boyfriend and now-husband, saw it all happen. I’d asked him to take out the trash—guests were due to arrive any minute—and when he came back, he nervously asked, “Did you not just go move your car?” When I was confused and a little alarmed, he admitted that he just saw someone drive it away. He didn’t really think anything of it, since it seemed very plausible for me to move out of my prime parking spot to allow more space for party guests.
I was shocked. Who expects their car to get stolen? My doors were locked, and it was a normal, regular day. Well actually, it was almost party time. It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. And before I could call the police or my parents, we heard a knock at the door. Guests were arriving for our happy gathering.
We ended up finding the car several days later, abandoned and stripped, with many of my personal items used and abused (note: whoever stole my car slept in my sleeping bag, ripped a picture of me, and stole my very old and crusty softball cleats). I ended up keeping the Jeep and paying for the repairs, but that has been one of my worst experiences.
Between dealing with the police, wondering how I was going to travel the four hours home for the holidays, and then coordinating the towing/identification process once the car was found, I’ll never forget the stress that a stolen car caused me.
Luckily, my supportive parents and partner helped me through. And that party? It was a lifesaver. I was able to forget about my problems for a while. My friends distracted me from it all, and helped me get through a super tough evening without breaking.
Cheers to good friends, Grinch-themed drinks, and drinking games that last late into the night.
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