SURE, THINGS ARE PROGRESSING VERY WELL IN MY LIFE, at the speed that I WANT, and nothing less. But there will always be challenges and adversities along the way… Murphy lurks. Always. Always haters who can’t appreciate you being different. Always naysayers who don’t know you/left to assume…reading your mind… just somehow miserable and unable to focus on their own way. But then, even as you pick your battles, there’s a sneak-attack awaiting you.
Somehow/somewhere someone has chosen YOU for their battle.
They’ve chosen YOU as a possum. They’ve chosen YOU to be their target practice. The other day I was “all of the above” for one or two predators/conspirators.
HERE’S THE SITUATION…
So, on Wednesday following another of our successful Starbucks jazz shows, I found myself “blocked-in” by a giant truck & crane that was here off-loading a giant AC unit onto the Starbucks building, but I didn’t mind waiting, resting in my RV until I could move.
IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW, yes I live comfortably in a 28ft RV. I cook, work, read, write, compute, fcuk and sleep in my RV. It suits me just fine, I don’t dump sewage, mind my own business. And should I need to, I have a place to park it (just blocks away), whenever I want, including if I need a safe place to sleep, etc. (yes, etcetera). When I’m not working (and someone advise me of THOSE hours) I might be one of 2 gyms; LA Fitness or Planet Fitness depending on the hour, there are infrequent visits to Walmart. Kroger, my PO Box, or even a friend’s house in a nearby cul-de-sac. Meanwhile, lets not forget the parties & events I’m invited to; I’m always invited to bring my RV, or I might tuck that away and take my car. My point here is, why is how I live any of YOUR business? Regardless of how anyone else feels; no matter how “odd” you think it is, this is MY life, and watching/studying me has clearly become someone else’s hang up. My reality is that I LOVE MY RV. I LOVE my lifestyle. I’ve lived high on the hog, in high-rises, in mansions, as well as in 4X8 cells and 2 bedroom apartments. So this is nothing new to me. I can adapt to most any environment. (Can YOU???) Either way, I’m happy, content and at peace.
HERE WE GO WITH THIS AGAIN
And so, when the crane left Starbucks, so did I; heading over to Planet Fitness for a couple hours. As soon as I arrive I’m settling, eating something before I head into the gym, and 20 minutes after I get there…
CLACK CLACK CLACK! (The flashlight rapping against the window)
I could see (assume) this was police activity since there was a police cruiser nearby.
One of 2 guys dressed in paratrooper gear, guns, mase, etc) is leading the conversation.
Its at this point I could see these weren’t cops/just dressed as such.
HIM: “Sir, you’re parked here illegally”
ME: “why is that? I’m about to go in the gym.”
HIM: “Well we’ve been watching you the past few days and we talked with the owners, and they don’t wantcha here.”
A second or 2 of assessment and I shrugged it off “Okay. So I’ll Move”
HIM: “Well, the problem is, you’ve been booted. You’re gonna need to pay us $500 to remove the boot. Otherwise in 20minutes, we’re gonna have you towed and you’ll haft pay $1,500 tomorrow”
ME: “Ohhhh, I get it. This is a HIGHJACKING!?” I said this with a smile, certain not to escalate things. After all, this was something that could get ugly, quickly.
So I tell the actor that I need a few moments to make some calls.
He says “okay make your calls will standby ”
i’m doing the math all the while counting the $300 I have in my pocket and the other $200 that I know I will not be able to get from the ATM because my daily Max has been reached. I begin to think of a short list of people that are close by and the first person I come up with is Chico who lives just a couple of blocks away from where we are at. Of course it IS 3 o’clock in the morning. At one point while I’m making the calls, these two actors go over to the police vehicle and get into a conversation. Eventually I need to get to a cash machine and of course they know where everything is at and they also have explained that Western Union is closed. Of course they know this because they likely engage in this activity all the time at these hours. When I say I need to go to a cash machine once again these guys approach the police officer then come back to me and offer to drive me to the local ATM. We get to the ATM where I am unable to take the cash advance out of my credit card/i don’t know the pin number (new card) and so we head back to my RV. My excuse is that I cannot find the necessary card I need. They offer to drive me back to the RV and even (again) back to the ATM to get the money. It’s at this point that I don’t realize how desperate they are.
I conjure up at least 15 more people to call and when I realize they’re all sleeping I finally contact a doctor who I know is up at that hour. so Allison meets me at 5 AM $200 in cash in hand. I pay the guy and he takes off the boot for a grand total of $500. The cop leaves in his cruiser and these two hijackers follow him out.
At about seven and 8 AM all the calls start coming in. Everybody wants to help at this point. I’m feeling very grateful and blessed but on the other hand I’m tired as shit. I had been on the verge of a physical breakdown during the whole escapade, but “psyched” myself to “get thru this alive.” (And that worked)
I wake up from this nightmare and begin calling the powers that be. The Senator, commissioners, lawyers, all of whom tell me that this was illegal activity based on the facts. There is a sign that says “NO UNAUTHORIZED VEHICLES” but of course, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I am a Planet Fitness member and totally within my rights to park in front of this business. There is no sign that says I cannot park my RV in this parking lot. I do not spend more than two or three hours at most in this parking lot on any given day. According to the code that rules this activity signs must be at every entrance to the property as well as they must be a certain height from the ground and a certain size. None of that is correct.
I also called the property owner that next day and they say “they never talked to this guy about me being parked in the lot.“ So THAT was a lie. In fact, initially the property manager sounded outraged by the story I told her on the phone. She told me she would call me back and proceeded to call the company that contracts for this parking fiasco.
When she called me back she had a different tone/not as much MY advocate, as she was someone else’s. She explained that “the police have identified me as someone who ‘parks around’ Conyers.’”
She went on to say “We do not permit people to park on her property and camp out.”
But I explained that I do park on her property every weeknight when I go to the gym. I wondered if that was illegal or unauthorized, In fact I wondered how long and where exactly I could park as a Planet Fitness member.
In fact, WHAT EXACTLY IS CONSIDERED “AUTHORIZED?”
She seemed to have no response to my legitimate questions and continue to lean on some officer’s statement that I “park around Conyers.” In fact, if that was a problem, why haven’t officers approached me about this? Or is this some random observation?
And so begins another chapter of Murphy at work. A number of business owners who know about this dilemma have expressed outrage and are now advocating on my behalf. i’ve heard “police chief” and the “mayor” and “newspaper” tossed around during the last couple of days. One resident says “You’re part of the ‘charm’ of Conyers… very involved in the community. How dare they?”
Either way this was (for sure) a highway robbery. We will certainly get to the bottom of it and take it all the way to the Moon. Lawsuit, Conyers Police and this bunch of predators at Atlanta Impound. Justice. Stay tuned.