The Problem With My Parking Spot

IMG_3603It’s a common theme throughout the landscape of the working class, that once the work day ends, nothing is better than arriving at home, seen by homeowners and renters alike as a refuge and a place to relax, so imagine arriving home one afternoon to find somebody parked in your driveway or parking space forcing you to park further away, prolonging that wave of peace that consumes you as the door unlocks and you step inside. Now imagine that happening frequently, say a weekly basis, and it’s never a pattern and no warning is given so you don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen, thus disallowing your mind to prepare itself for the disappointment it will face to encounter this problem. This has been my life since moving into my apartment complex over a year ago, and unfortunately there are no signs that this unfair practice will stop anytime soon.

At my apartments we are assigned one designated parking space, right down stairs from where we live. My wife and I have two cars so one of us parks in the spot, and the other parks further away in the uncovered areas that are open to anyone, with the person arriving home first generally parking further away so that the other person will have the close space when they get home, a system that has worked well for us, except on the weekly occasion that someone is parked in our assigned spot, forcing us to find one further away, and since the open spaces fill up as the day drags on, that person ends up having to park much further away from the apartment, sometimes even all the way in front of the main office which is about a five minute walk away. This may not seem like a big deal, and I suppose in the big scheme of things that it really is not, but when you just want to get home after a long day of work, it can be rather annoying.

The main culprit I’ve found is one of the maintenance workers, who like to park in our spot because it is directly in front of their tool shed. They do work here and should have easy access to the shed, but why then isn’t there a designated parking space for maintenance workers in order to eliminate the need to park in a resident’s spot? It’s not like our spot is the only one in front of the shed and in fact there is a whole row of spaces directly in front of it, but it seems like every time a maintenance worker is in the shed, their truck is parked in my spot, more often than not with the spaces on either side completely empty. What is so great about my particular space that they seek it out over the others? From my extensive research, hours spent studying each parking spot on either side of mine, I have been unable to find even the slightest difference. I’ve considered purchasing a traffic cone to occupy my parking space when my car is gone, but it just seems like too much of a hassle to have to get out to put the cone in place when I leave, and then again to remove it when I return home, so I guess this is just something I’ll have to continue to deal with until I finally move, and I’m not one bit happy about it.

The Continuing Saga of my Wife’s Hurt Back

It had been a week since my wife’s first visit to the doctor for her back pain. After a surprisingly short time in the clinic, the doctor had concluded without a shred of evidence that my wife had a muscle strain, causing the unbearable pain in her back and her legs to go numb. She prescribed two medications, a steroid and a muscle relaxer, convinced that they would both relieve her pain, and heal her body, but they did neither, which is why I found myself crossing three lanes of traffic at the last second to get into the turn lane for this chiropractic clinic that my wife had found online. We opened the door to the clinic, the lobby was dark and empty, and the girl behind the desk said welcome to “The Joint.” That’s right, the fate of my wife’s back lies in the hands of a place named something that sounds more like a hip new restaurant or a local bar than a doctor’s office, but without many other options, we continued on inside and my wife filled out the seven pages of paperwork, which turned out to take longer than the actual time spent with the chiropractor.

While she was filling out the forms, a man in his mid twenties walked in and scanned a keychain at the front desk, as if he had security clearance at a top secret government facility. The scanner beeped its recognition and he took his seat. A few minutes later a doctor summoned him to the back, where loud noises ensued. It sounded like someone was picking a heavy table off of the ground from one end, then slamming down against a marble floor as hard as they possibly could. I feared for the man’s life back there, sure that he was being beaten to death, not that I made any attempt to help or avert my eyes from the book I was reading, but after a couple minutes of the mayhem, he walked back out into the lobby like nothing had happened. After a few minutes, my wife was told to go into the back to meet the doctor and the receptionist asked if I would be joining my wife, to which I politely declined, opting to sit in the lobby and strain my eyes reading “Story of a Sociopath” by Julia Navarro. Perhaps the story is about me, the man who refused to join his wife when she went to consult with the chiropractor, but I haven’t read that far yet.

After only about ten minutes, and some more of the crashing sounds, my wife returned, feeling better than she had in more than a week. The chiropractor told her that her alignment was off, that one leg was an inch longer than the other due to some sort of shift that had moved her spine slightly out of place, but not too worry, after a few more sessions, she was sure my wife would be healed. I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the practice, likening the chiropractor to the new age healer that turns George’s face purple in Seinfeld, but after two sessions my wife seems to be getting better and the pain has subsided drastically, so whatever the chiropractor is doing, seems to be working for the moment, and hopefully my wife will continue along this trajectory until she’s good as new, or at the very least, comfortable getting out of bed in the morning.

Forced to Steal

Why must everything be complicated? Okay so obviously I’m being hyperbolic when I say that everything is complicated because clearly that is a massive exaggeration. Some things are actually very easy, like letting people down or sleeping when you are tired, but it just seems to me that a lot of things that should be easy, are not, like for example, watching my favorite team play baseball on TV. My wife and I both really like baseball and were discussing the possibility of getting the other night, a service that allows you to stream any baseball game for just twenty-five bucks a month. We decided to do this for a couple of reasons; first, it is way cheaper than getting dish or direcTV and then having to add an additional package just to see the Cardinals, which is my favorite team. Secondly, the reason we ultimately decided to go with MLB.TV was because my wife is a fan of the Dodgers (please forgive her, I know I have) so it’s only fair that if I get to watch my favorite baseball team, she should be able to do the same, something that this service would allow us to do.

Tuesday night was the big night. I was already watching the Cardinals on my laptop with the borrowed credentials of my mother in Arkansas, and the Dodgers game was just about to start. It was now or never. My wife took the plunge and put in our debit card information and within seconds we had all of major league baseball at our fingertips. My wife began watching the Dodgers on TV and I asked her for the login info so I could switch over to MLB.TV on my computer during the commercial break just to check out our new service. At the end of the inning I switched to MLB.TV and sat in horror staring at my computer screen. The St. Louis game was blacked out in my area. But how could this be? The team shown on the local fox sports affiliate is the Atlanta Braves, not the St. Louis Cardinals, hence the reason I would need to purchase an extra pack if I had gotten dish. I checked the Braves game that was on and that too was blacked out. How are two different teams in opposite directions of where I live both blacked out? Why are things so difficult? I guess I have no choice now but to continue using my mom’s DirecTV credentials to watch my favorite team. I don’t want to steal and I certainly don’t feel good about doing so, but what other choice do I have? I tried to pay for the service, in fact I did pay for the service, but for some reason beyond my comprehension I wasn’t able to watch the Cardinals, which was the most important reason for me to get MLB.TV. I know that stealing is wrong, but at least at the end of the day I’m getting what I want, and isn’t that what’s most important?

Someone Tried to Scam Me

I got a call at work the other day, not on the work phone that has been nothing but telemarketers and wrong numbers since we opened in September and installed the landline shortly thereafter, but on my personal phone, the cell phone I’m not supposed to have out at work, but check sparingly in case some disaster comes along and I’m the most suitable person to help, which thankfully for disaster victims, hasn’t been the case yet. I missed the call, but luckily for me, the Dallas area coded phone number had left a voicemail. Jerry Jones must have seen my criticism of Dak Prescott’s downfield throwing game on Sunday Night Football and was calling to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at me to be a coach or quarterback consultant of some kind. Thanks to one of the latest iPhone software updates, the words in the voicemail were transcribed so I was able to read the message without having to listen to it, usually a preferable option. “…Generated under your name and you will be taken under judicial custody..” were the first words I read. Intrigued and confused I listened to the message, which repeated the words I’d read, in a robotic voice, which began halfway through a recording, and informed me that if I had any questions to call their number to speak with the tax department, so I did.

I dialed the number immediately, desperately to figure out what was going on, and to my surprise somebody actually picked up the phone, answering with three letters, “IRS?” I explained to the heavily accented man about the phone message and I was just trying to figure out what was going on, for I certainly didn’t want any part of being under judicial custody. He asked me my name, which should have been a red flag, but in my state of panic and wanting to get to the bottom of the situation, I obliged. If it really was the IRS or any government entity for that matter, my name would have been in a computerized database connected to my phone number, so they would have known who I was when they answered the phone. After confirming that my first name had two L’s and spelling out my last name for the guy, he calmly informed me that I was being sued by the IRS for tax fraud and then he presented me with two options. I could set up a payment to cover the more than $3,000 I owed, or I could set up a court date that would be very costly for me, and if I lost the trial would be forced to pay the money, plus spend up to five years in prison. Neither of those options seemed very preferable to me, and that is when my logic kicked in and I started to get suspicious.

I asked the man why I owed the money and he kindly informed me that I’d been audited by the IRS, and between the years of 2009 and 2015 I’d cheated them out of a few thousand dollars. This all seemed pretty amazing to me given the fact that it was the first I was hearing about any of this. No letter, no phone call, no contact informing me that I was being audited, a nightmarish headache for most people, but a process that I didn’t even know I was going through. I asked the man if the IRS could confirm all of this information if I hung up on him and called them immediately. A nervous “what” escaped his lips and I repeated the question. “Yes of course” he assured me. “I thought you were the IRS?” I questioned. Clearly uncomfortable caught in his own lie, he decided it would be best to move on quickly and get down to business. He asked if I wanted to pay the fine or try to fight the charge, which could lead to jail time, he kindly re-informed me, desperate to get the money ASAP. I told him that I was going with the third option, the much more preferable one of hanging up the phone and telling him to never contact me again. Since that whole ordeal on Friday I have tried calling the number back once, which is 469-607-2340, just to confirm what I already knew to be true. My call could not be completed as dialed; the scam artists have dropped that number and are using a different one to terrorize innocent people into handing over their hard earned money.