An Open Letter To Whoever Took The Baja Hoodie My Neighbor Left In A “Free” Box On The Sidewalk

Dear Whoever Took The Baja Hoodie My Neighbor Left In A “Free” Box On The Sidewalk,

When I saw that my neighbor had placed a Baja hoodie out on the sidewalk in a box marked “free,” along with a diverse collection of books, glassware, a compost bin, and what appeared to be an old washcloth, I laughed. This striped gray and black garment reminded me of the precious group of stoner skateboarders who lurked in the halls of my rural high school (once I wrote a feature story for the school paper about how the skater boys were misunderstood and deserved at least as much respect as our chapter of the Future Farmers of America). It reminded me of a guy in my freshman fiction class who would plagiarize Nietzsche during workshops and always wore–you guessed it–a Baja hoodie. It reminded me of the glassy-eyed surfers I met when I lived in Hawaii.

I didn’t know which neighbor abandoned it, but I can be relatively sure this person attended some reggae concerts in the early ’90s. I can be relatively sure they inhaled deeply and often. I can be relatively sure they recently got a “real job” and felt it was finally time to let go of their past.

What I couldn’t be sure of is who on earth would see a frayed Baja hoodie peeking out of a box on the sidewalk and think, “Score!” Since the box had been placed directly under my office window, I decided to wait and see…

So I waited, and waited. Every time I heard a sound I scrambled out of my chair to get a better look. I saw a few people paw through the box and move on. Somewhere along the line the washcloth disappeared, but the Baja hoodie remained. Then I ran downstairs to get a drink of water, and when I came back, it was gone.

Who are you, Baja bandit? What did you want with this scratchy, secondhand hoodie? Are you a middle-aged father of three who couldn’t resist nabbing a relic of his hard-partying youth? Are you a hipster who needed to add some fresh irony to his wardrobe? Are you a homeless person looking for an extra layer to keep warm at night? Are you Amelia McDonell-Parry, my smart and stylish editor who insists that Baja hoodies can “actually be really cute” when worn over a bikini? [Ugh, I wish it was me. — Editor]

The mystery is killing me. In fact, I might have to buy a Baja hoodie and put it out on the sidewalk just to lure you back. Heck, I’ll even throw in a Bob Marley poster and a hacky sack.