Expat, lifestyle, Personal, Travel, United States

Fear, Type 1.

Last week my storage unit was broken into and left void of more than half of its contents. Since my car window was smashed back in February with a suitcase full of items taken, it feels like I’ve been targeted. I know that’s not the case and it just happens to be a bad year for me and robberies- but I can’t help but feel a little (a lot?) less safe in this city I’ve just only returned to. The welcome wagon strikes again!

There was always theft in Phnom Penh, it was always talked about and everyone is always saying, “hold on tight to your phone!” and “wear a cross body bag so no one snatches it!”– including myself- but even during those moments of fleeting vulnerability in Cambodia when I was targeted, I never felt a lingering feeling of unease or feeling unsafe. The moments of theft were generally opportunistic and on a smaller scale and while frustrating and definitely violating, didn’t seem to linger as long as these do here.

It could be my fragile state of mind that seems to have crept up since I got over the initial high of being back in Washington, but it’s as if I’ve reached a point of paranoia unfit for well, anyone really. The fear of monsters and the undead that kept me awake until the sun broke when I was younger have been replaced with anxiety over intruders, stalkers, cyber attacks, identity theft, item theft. I get up too many times in the middle of the night thinking I hear an idling car outside the window, there are multiple knives I keep hidden in case I need access to them, I check my bank account daily to make sure there isn’t fraudulent activity, and my ruminating mind won’t stop thinking about the incident I had at Public Storage where things of nostalgic value and family heirlooms are gone, ever more important than the massive amounts of other items burgled. (Correction on “Pubic Storage” to “Public Storage” thanks to Fred! Definitely some laughter in the midst of this all!)

Note to all: don’t store your things through or with this company. Shockingly bad customer service from top level management, no follow through, shoddy to no security. Just to give you an idea of their service? The haas was entirely broken off of my unit and noticed on August 9th, I didn’t receive notice of this until August 12th after office hours. Through an email. Don’t worry- I’ve already made my calls to corporate and contacted the BBB.

Tacoma is a great city, and there is crime (and to a much higher level in many places) everywhere- but this reintegration is new to me again and moments like these are those that throw me just enough off course to wonder what I’m doing. Living alone- particularly surrounded by a sea of married friends- without my mom near as she takes her turn traveling the world yet again, and not feeling quite in my own place physically or mentally doesn’t help me feel much safer here either. It’s important and good that I am generally surrounded by people both physically and emotionally to protect and love me.

While my fears sometimes feel ridiculous, they’re evidenced throughout the experiences I’ve had this past year and those that I’ve seen happen to my friends unless they have private parking and an alarm system on their apartments/houses. I don’t want Tacoma to continually get this reputation of being this creepy, dangerous place; it’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen at times. Its disposition is tempered perfectly for me. Generally, I like the weather although these sunny days are grossing me out. It has incredible spots both hidden and exposed. But these are the things that make me say “ew” and want to get back into a serviced apartment with a guard on duty at all times, security cameras on, and plenty of space to house my heirlooms and cats. They’re only things that were affected through these past two incidents, but what is one day it’s not? What if it becomes physical? What if I actually do have to worry about my own personal safety? And now you’re thinking “there she goes again…”

Probably not, but keep an eye out for a Bart Simpson dress, black suede Prada sling backs, an ostrich red Kate Spade mini wallet, and a Chinese wood carved changing screen on Offer Up, will ya?

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