Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Little West Side Story, Anyone?

January 5, 2012

So--I thought I'd post some beautiful pictures up to ring in the New Year. I generally try to have my camera with me everywhere. It's one my hubby got me as a birthday gift, and I have been completely in love with it for the past year and a half. You know--my first 'big girl' camera. I absolutely love it. More accurately, I absolutely loved it. Because the night before New Year's Eve, someone decided they were more deserving of owning my camera than I was, and it walked out the door and disappeared.

We were out celebrating at our regular karaoke spot. A lot of our friends are musical theater-types, and some of us started bandying about new ideas for songs to sing. West Side Story came up. I love the music from that show! We could sing "I Feel Pretty," or "America." Who doesn't love that one? Little did we know, that conversation was a bit of foreshadowing for the night that would follow.

We had a big group of friends there that night--we were one of two large parties enjoying our evening. I had my camera there to capture the fun. At one point, my sisters and I were all up singing, and one of my friends was snapping shots. We were all having a great time, dancing and laughing. At the end of the song, my friend set the camera down on our table, and I stepped out to the patio to cool down. Suddenly, one of my other friends came running out to me to tell me she'd just seen someone from the other party walk out the door with my camera.

Oh, it was a smooth transaction. Apparently, one guy nonchalantly picked up the camera and deposited it at the end of the table closest to the front door. Another young man, the one my friend happened to see, wandered over the end of the table and picked up the camera and walked out the door. By the time my friend told me, the whole second party had exited the parking lot and the camera was passed off to yet another person, who jumped in the car and drove away. (Luckily, someone was able to get the license number as they were leaving.)

As soon as we all realized what was happening, my whole party ran out the door as well and tried to identify the person who had picked up the camera. Since it was no longer in anyone's possession, tempers flared. I assume the majority of the folks in the parking lot genuinely had no idea what had transpired, but they suddenly found themselves in the midst of a search for stolen property, and felt themselves attacked and falsely accused. It got pretty ugly very quickly, especially given the fact that several members of both parties had been drinking. Suddenly, there was yelling on both sides, and the argument came very close to a physical altercation. One of the other party even threatened to go get his gun out his car. It suddenly occured to me that things could turn downright dangerous very quickly if something didn't happen to diffuse the situation.

Honestly, I was in tears the whole time, not really just because I love my camera, but because I had just take all our family Christmas pictures on that camera. My SD card was full of my kids and my whole family, not to mention birthday parties and choir concerts. That's what someone had stolen from me--not just my camera. I told the manager of the place (who was valiantly trying to keep everyone calm) that I didn't even care if the camera got back to me--I just wanted that SD card back. It was a long shot, but I thought I would at least throw that out there in case anyone overheard and took pity on me and decided to anonymously return the SD card to the restaurant at a later date. (No such luck, by the way.)

By the time the police arrived, it really had escalated to a West Side Story us-versus-them showdown, with posturing and insults and high tension and emotion. No choreography, though. That would have lightened the mood a bit, I think. No rhyming lyrics, either. All of the frustration and anger, and none of the feel-good musical beats to back it up. Pretty much the worst version of West Side Story, basically. Eventually we all dispersed, crawled into our respective cars, and called it a night. The officer did, in fact, make a little house call to the address belonging to the car that got away, but of course he denied having the camera as well. Sadly, the camera has never been recovered. The only thing we're left with is a slightly uneasy feeling about heading back to a place that had been a little bit of a home away from home for us on Saturday evenings.

No comments:

Post a Comment