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Nathan Hansen's column: Looking on the bright side

I’ve been accused a few times recently of having a too-idealistic view of the world. Or maybe that’s not really an accusation. It’s not like it’s bad to see the good in people around you. Unless you’re a British judge on a reality show. Then it could kind of ruin your whole persona.

Good or bad, though, I’m not sure it’s necessarily true. I’m generally a positive person, I suppose, but I know there are bad things out there. I see news reports about crime and disease and every new season of The Bachelor. I know there are problems, possibly beyond solving, in any society that puts so high a value on finding just the right Twitter hashtag.

Maybe I should explain.

This all started a week ago, assuming you’re reading this the very minute you retrieve your Independent Town Pages from your mailbox. Since you all seem like intelligent and sophisticated people, I assume that’s exactly what you do.

I was leaving my house for work last Thursday morning. As I approached the passenger side, I noticed something wasn’t quite right. Things that should have been in my glove compartment were instead scattered across my front seat. The glove compartment itself was open. So was the console between the front seats.

My first, incredibly brief, thought as I noticed all of this was, as best I can remember, “Oh no! Raccoons got into my car.”

In my defense, I realized pretty quickly there was little chance this particular break-in was committed by a raccoon. No matter how suspicious they look with their little black masks, I realize most of them lack both the height and the forearm strength to work the handle of a car door. More likely, I had forgotten to lock my door the night before and some opportunistic thief with only two-legs took advantage of an easy score.

It wasn’t much of a score, though. So far as I can tell, all they got was about $1 in loose change and an iPod shuffle that was somewhere in the neighborhood of eight years old. I’ll miss the headphones, though. They stayed in my ears pretty well when I ran on the treadmill.

They didn’t want my running shoes, possibly because they were the wrong size or because they didn’t smell great from that treadmill running. They didn’t take my case of CD’s either. I’m not sure if that’s a statement about my taste in music or just because they had no earthly idea what a CD was.

If they’d opened the trunk, they could have had my bike rack. Or maybe they looked and they just prefer the bus.

Things could have been worse. Before I got my new car I would leave a lot more strewn around my back seat. None of it was particularly valuable — there’s no market for empty plastic Coke bottles, right? — but the odds were better a random street hoodlum would find something appealing amid the old newspapers and Bicycling magazines.

I suppose I should feel violated by all of this. Some stranger entered a space where I spend a fair amount of time. They rooted through my collection of McDonald’s napkins and handled my car’s instruction manual just about as much as I have.

Mostly I just feel foolish for leaving my door unlocked and creating the opportunity.

Besides, if it really was a raccoon, that would have been adorable.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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