I am not big on cars. I am simple. I just need a vehicle that can fit me (I am tall), my 4 kids, and my many boxes filled with work related material (I am not even sure I ever use most of that junk, at least that’s what my wife claims).
My black Isuzu is a loyal transportation tool. It tolerated my abuse and negligence. At least that’s what I think since it rarely complained. It takes me places, many far away places, as my CAIR work duties will send me. This Isuzu has visited more mosques, churches, schools, colleges, television stations, and meeting places than most people have. As long as it has gas (and some oil too) it is ready to move (I actually confirmed, the hard way, that without gas, a car eventually stops running!)
The car is a 1995 (or 1996) model. I bought it 3 or 4 years ago. It has its old-age problems. One of the windows does not shut completely which causes a loud wind noise when cruising on the freeway (something we rarely do on CA freeways). I personally got so used to it that I don’t notice it anymore. It is only when new passengers ride with me that they notice it and remind me of it. The body paint has faded so much that other drivers avoid parking next to it for fear that the terrible paint disease that afflicted my car might be contagious. All of this has worked well for me. I never had to worry about locking the car. No one would steal it.
But things changed. Last month, while attending an interfaith event in Long Beach, I came out to find that someone slammed into my car's front. Luckily, my insurance covered for the damage (minus my deductible, grrr...). I sent my Isuzu (which I now learned is also a Rodeo model) to the shop and it came back like a brand new car, at least from the outside. I never realized how much of a difference paint can make. As I drove it again, I discovered additional mechanical problems in the transmission that did not exist prior to the incident. The insurance company advised me to send it back to the shop which in turn sent it to a transmission specialist to have it checked.
Today, I got a call from the shop telling me that they had some bad news for me. They informed me that car thieves managed to break into the transmission shop last night and moved three other cars in the front of the garage in order to get to my car and steal it. Although I was not happy to learn that my dear car was stolen, I can't hide that I was slightly proud that my car was wanted so bad. I was flattered that those thieves would risk going to jail to take my car. I swear I could have given them a good deal on it. I guess the new paint tricked the thieves into believing that this is a somehow a new car. Little did they know about the transmission problem (suckers!). I just hope they don't sue me for false advertisement.
For now, I was told to wait until we see if the police can locate my car.
Today, I was reminded that most people rush to judge matters by their appearance, a book by its title, and a car by its paint.
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html