I was going to tell you some funny episodes from today’s events at various EU institutions, but that will have to wait until tomorrow, because for most of this afternoon and evening I have been busy with all the miserable aftermath that came with the discovery that someone had broken into my car when I was away downtown, stealing the CD player I had as a gift for my graduation, with a CD in it that I had for my latest birthday.
(If someone offers you to buy a JVC KD-G332EX with the serial number JV20332UE07124, it’s MINE.)
This little surprise awaited me where my car was parked, right behind a police station on the far edge of Anderlecht, as well as the owners of a number of other vehicles in the same parking lot, which were subject to the same fate.
So, obviously, you go to that police station to report the crime. And what do they do? They call the police.
Seriously. I’m not kidding. I and the children, whom I had just fetched at school, sat and waited for about half an hour at a police station, waiting for a police patrol from another police station to turn up so I could report a simple crime.
This oddity was explained when that patrol eventually made I there. It turned out that the police station where I was waiting belonged to the highway police, apparently only authorised to go after cars and not human criminals.
“You would have thought”, I murmured between clenched teeth to the policeman who did not only speak French, “that your car would be safe when you park it behind the police station”.
“Oh no”, responded the policeman, “they’re only the highway police, they don’t even look there”.
Now, you must remember that Belgium used to have a few different fragmented police forces until a few years ago, merged only after the inefficiency of that system proved itself in its epical failure of capturing the Devil of Charleroi, aka paedophile/psychopath Marc Dutroux. But, apparently, the new, purportedly unified police force has yet to merge with itself.
“I thought all this was reformed”, I said in a voice intended to be frosty enough to make snowflakes fall in spite of the +33 C we are currently experiencing here.
I didn’t get an answer.
The CD in the player was the latest by the Belgian band Clouseau, world famous all over Flanders but sadly unknown in the rest of the world, a duo which I hope to write something nice about at another occasion because they’re really good. They take their name from the dim-witted inspector in the Pink Panther movies, and I hope to be forgiven for recalling that character in the light of these current events.
Anyway. OK, I thought. At least I’ve got insurance.
Or so I thought.
My insurance broker kindly informed me that the insurance I have paid hundreds of euros for every year basically doesn’t cover anything, save for liability and legal aid in case of an accident. Moreover, when I asked him in the somewhat animated fashion that was the inevitable result of such a revelation why on Earth he couldn’t have mentioned that or offered me something else when I signed up, it turned out that you cannot insure a car against theft, glass damage and fire in Belgium, if the car is more than five years old. So, if they had done away with the whole car, I would have simply been stranded. Lucky me.
“Excuse me”, said I, “but that’s just not good enough. Can’t you hear how stupid this sounds?”
“That’s how it is in Belgium”, said the broker.
So, now we know. If you’re poor enough not to be able to afford a brand new car, you have to anticipate whatever money you do manage to earn to become cannon fodder for the rampages of any airhead for a lowlife who cannot be bothered to get a proper job.
Upon drawing these conclusions, I asked my friend JD whether I should use a hacksaw or a screwdriver to lobotomise myself.
“That depends on whether or not your head is older than five years”, he responded laconically.