Thieves broke into my car the other day while I was watching the Seahawks playoff game. I was parked in Ballard, a good neighborhood, on a busy street, in daylight. They broke a window, and at first glance it looked like they just smashed the glass and ran. But when I went to grab my bag with my medication in it, I realized it was gone.
And so was a piece of me.
It was one of those TUMI men’s toiletry bags. I was given it as a gift back in 1994, and I immediately fell in love with it. Soft black leather with compartments to keep my nail clipper away from my shaving razor! Wow! It was what I needed!
At the time, I was flying back and forth to San Francisco a lot to see my daughter during a tough divorce, and the bag was always with me. A thousand times I reached in for a comb or a toothbrush so I would look decent after not seeing my baby for a few weeks. The bag held everything I needed to look good and to smell good and to feel better.
It traveled with me for my work as a broadcaster, to Superbowls, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and to the hundreds of Mariners and Seahawks games I worked on the road.
It was on my lap that morning in Anaheim as I watched the second plane go into the tower.
It went on vacations with me from Alaska to Cuba, was looked through, and might I say admired, by several TSA and Customs agents. Like a good pal or girlfriend or wife, it was always packed and ready to go. And it did. To weddings, christenings and family events, because when you’ve chosen to live in Pittsburgh or Seattle, almost everything is out of town.
I traveled to see Bruce Springsteen at least 25 times with that bag.
At my lowest in life, when I thought if I could just get up and shave and go out something would make me smile, I would reach in and pull out my razor. A shave can make you see life differently. That life, for me, is generally a ball of confusion. I often don’t remember where I put things, but I always seemed to know where my bag was. I kept my pain pills there when I physically hurt and my anti-depressants there when my mind does the pain for me.
I even developed a technique for quick trips: Two shirts and an extra pair of pants wrapped over the bag and tossed in the back seat or trunk. It went with me for many road tests for my radio show about cars, “Drivetime,” from Chautauqua to New York City, or to some town in Ohio or West Virginia that I had never been to before. Sometimes if I was on the road and I was feeling blue, I would put the bag on my night table so I would see something familiar as I fell asleep.
I am sure I’ll get through this, but I needed to write this down — not just on a Seattle Police Department form (because the cops don’t come out to property crime anymore) but to let somebody know what was stolen from me on “the Mean Streets of Ballard,” as my friend and KIRO talk show host Dori Monson says.
It wasn’t just a bag with my meds. It was something that can’t be replaced either in a luggage store or in my soul.
They are right. I did come back to a different Seattle.