Posted From The Sting Of The Scorpion’s Android.
So, yesterday I walked the close to 1/4 mile trek out to collect my mail from the mailbox located out at the end of my driveway. Normally I would take the golf cart but I was feeling froggy and just decided to walk. I don’t usually “sort” my mail out here in the street but there was allot of crap that I was going to put in the recycle bin since it had not been collected yet. As I am flipping through it all I see a letter addressed to “Resident” with my address printed below it. It is a letter from our beloved homeowner’s association. Might be important so I went ahead and opened it. After reading it through the first time I was left asking “what the fuck?” and need to read it again before I got pissed all the way. After A quick review I can see that they are talking of my location, it has the correct block, lot, plot, and section. The address on the envelope belongs to me, so it must be my property being spoke of. The jist of the form letter is to inform me (property owner) that a complaint has been filed suggesting I am burning “trash” items too close to the street which is too close to neighboring houses. The date sited was 22 days ago. Too close to my neighbors? My nearest neighbor’s house is over 650 yards away. The letter continues to outline the “offense” by stating that I was burning tires and other accelerant fuels. Wait just a damn minute here. First I don’t burn anywhere except the rear of my almost ten acres of property. Second, I don’t burn tires or use gas or diesel to set such fires. The letter has me at a loss.
As I am walking back to the house to go make a phone call because they have assessed a $350.00 fine for the incident, I notice, which makes me remember, I did have a fire in my front yard about three weeks ago. The scorch marks are still visible as I walk by. I wonder if this could be what they are referring to in the letter. I haven’t written about this yet here so y’all are probably scratching your heads wondering what has happened. I guess this is a good place to put in what happened and the I will figure out why there was a complaint. In a way I guess an outsider could say it was a trash fire in my front yard but if a person was paying attention they would of seen it was my riding lawn mower that had actually burst into flames. Man, I loved that old mower too, I was sad to see it go out in a blaze of glory like it did. What happened? I was mowing in the yard in front of my house pretty close to my driveway when a giant puff of black smoke blew out of the front of the engine cowel. I jumped off and flipped it open and when I did it burst into open flames. I was able to dowse the flames with the garden hose but it was too late. As I stood there watching it smolder a bit I secretly was hearing TAPS being played off in the distance. It was almost a tearful moment for me, but I held it back. It truly was a spectacular show but at the same time I didn’t like seeing my old friend roast its own marshmallows.
In review of the complaints in the letter I can see why they would say I was burning tires and using an accelerant because the tires did catch fire and the fuel line did melt and feed the fire. But hold on, this means that my incident was visible to someone somewhere. So I stood in the spot and looked around 360 degrees to see if I could figure out who the bastard was that assumed I was burning trash in my front yard. Well, there is only one house in my view and that is straight across the street. That old bastard has the eyes of a hawk then because its a good 200 yards from the street in front of his house. And it only burned for 10-12 minutes anyways. I’m so confused. Anyway, I will deal with him later, I have bigger fish to fry. I went in the house and called the secretary of the homeowner’s association to discuss the complaint and the fine I was not ever going to pay. I invited him out to check out the burned out carcas and I was declined a visit. I was told to go to their website and print out a form which I could use to defend myself. Once filled out I am to mail it to them with supporting information and/or pictures if available to justify my case. I was also reminded to enclose a check or money order with my form so I could pay the fine. Ummm, fuck you, there will be no check or money order enclosed you goofy bastards. I filled out the form and enclosed some nice glossy pictures with my explanation of what occurred. When I was done I sent my son down to throw it in the mail box for pick up today. This is why I detest having neighbors.
This whole thing has served as a good reminder. Since my other rider (the back up) isn’t in that great of shape and isn’t exactly dependable, I think I will get dressed and go mower shopping. I wonder what I will come home with. Have y’all seen the commercials for all the different riding mowers lately? Maybe they have been the “sign” I have been looking for and just haven’t realized it. I better make sure the trash fire I have going currently is out before I go because I would hate for some snooper to say I left it unattended. If I get a new toy I will be sure to show y’all so don’t worry.
I write quite a bit about the United States Air Force, the AMMO careerfield, the places in the world I have traveled, and the people I have met because my time in the Air Force consumed just shy of 15 years of my life. I write quite a bit about being a United States Air Force Disabled Veteran as well since this “status” was given to me and has been a part of my life for the last 13 years. In a way, my “status” is no more than being a number in a system and a monthly disbursement of funds. Fortunately for me, I did not have the struggles that we hear over time about how people get denied benefits. I was fortunate to receive a 100% disabled rating from the start. One of the “benefits”, if it can be considered a benefit, is that my vehicles bear Texas DV permanent license plates. I’m one of those people you will see out in the actual parking lot and not in the designated handicap parking spaces. Why? Good question. Perhaps because I intend on confusing people who notice. It really matters not to me where I park, most days, as I get older, being closer to the entrance is nice, but not required. I can get there from anywhere, might take me a little longer, but I will get there eventually.
Why do I bring all of this up? I had an interesting interaction with a young lady at our local Big Box supercenter, insert the name you know belongs, who afterwords really got my son to thinking and asking questions he had never asked before. First, she asked to take a picture of my H1 Alpha where the license plate is visible to help her in her project she is putting together showing disabled parking placard fraud. When I asked why she responded with an interesting observation she made while watching me and others. She pointed out that each entrance to the Big Box supercenter has 21 handicap parking spaces yet there are 40+ vehicles out in general parking that have disabled plates. She continued to explain that there are only two vehicles with actual disabled plates using handicap parking spaces, the rest are using disabled placards of different varieties. He points out that half of them are expired, some of them have had the dates obscured some way, and a small percentage actually look proper. I still don’t see my place in this conversation yet. She continued by saying that the two vehicles that had actual disabled plates had people in them which were using the assistance of motorized chair, where all the placarded vehicles moved under self locomotion. Okay, so what is the issue or problem with me. She says she has noticed before as she has been doing her “study” for a few months that there are times I park is handicap parking when it is available. I was waiting for her to ask me why, but it never happened.
I soon walked off because I actually was there for a reason beyond looking who is parking where. As I walked off I made a call to a friend of my in the county sheriffs office and asked if what she was doing was legal. He said he would roll out there and see if he could talk with her. Why did I call? I called for 2 reasons, first of all her stalking people in the parking lot enough to recognize people who frequent this store (which is mega-creepy) and secondly because she was taking pictures of people, vehicles, and license plates. Is she doing anything illegal? We’ll talk about that here in a bit. This whole thing prompted my son to start asking a few questions of his own. We will talk about a few of them. First he asked why the police don’t tow, boot, or ticket vehicle in disabled parking with expired credentials. I actually know this answer, it is because disabled parking violations on private property is not exactly a high priority with the police department. Now this same problem in a public setting or at government facilities is swiftly handled. Why? My guess is money, logistics, and manning. Second he asked what were the requirements for getting a disabled plate or placard. Personally I don’t know what others needed to do, I had to fill out forms and be examined before being given my prescription to take to the DMV. I would only expect that this would be the same process for everyone. But, I don’t often assume things, so I leave this one as unknown.
Thirdly he asked don’t I wish that I could closer to the entrance all the time. Sure, it would be nice, but I don’t mind the longer walk. Last, he asked me a question which he shouldn’t be worrying about which was are most of the people who have handicap parking privileges frauds. Good question. People have their reasons for doing everything. Most people who know they are doing something wrong have already weighed the odds of getting caught and are willing to accept the consequences. Sure, I see people getting in the car and out their car and wonder to myself what the reason for their disabled plate/placard is. But then I would imagine that people ask the same about me. What they see is a man in his mid-40s who gets out or gets in his vehicles a little slower than others. They see a man who walks a little bit slower than most. Other than a modest limp, nobody would think nothing to be any different about me. I don’t where my medical history on my shirt for the world to read nor is it available at your request to review. I personally don’t know other people are doing or why they are doing it. In the end if I ever get to the point where my mobility is really shitty I can always have my wife do the annoying thing I see allot, which is to stop right in front of the front doors and drop me off.
Now, getting back to the young lady in the parking lot. She claims to be a college student here locally and a while back handicap parking fraud caught her attention and through some research she found it was a large problem that is mostly ignored. So, she has become an “advocate” for the disabled driver, she uses her website to get out her word and findings, I guess like an investigative reporter of sorts. She also does petitions and writes lawmakers in Austin to try to get the laws changed so the fraud will disappear. As well, she feels she is at least a little bit partially responsible for the fines increasing in Texas for violators. I look like at it like this, karma truly is a bitch. Everything has a way of catching up with you in one way or another. I know that I’m not the one who is a fraud, I’m not the one doing something illegal, I’m not the one who needs a lesson in morality, and I’m not the person who will get shot confronting someone over a parking space. Life is too short to let the little things ruin your day. It may seem that I don’t actually care, which is isn’t altogether true, I do care, I care that I have myself in-line, what someone else does with their life is their choice. Too many assholes have frauded the disabled parking system that Joe Public looks at all of us with scrutiny and in-turn sees no harm in the handicap space being mis-used. Not everyone is a thief and a liar, not everyone is a fraud, not everyone is lazy, and not everyone who has disabled plates needs to be in disabled parking. It would be nice however, if people did follow the law and that the laws are enforced. In a perfect world maybe, but not in the world I live in.
Overall I guess the actual point of this post is to show people that not everyone feels “privileged” with what they believe to be their undisputable right to park in a handicap spot. And yes, I am a person who could go either way. Most days my body decides to be cooperative with me living my life, other days not so much, but life must still carry forward. I think the only problem I have with people, in general, is the ones that admit they borrow a vehicle or a placard so they can park closer, because that is just lazy, and lazy isn’t a handicap, it’s a choice people make everyday.