Lazy Weekend

February 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunday is one of those days where I always seem to find the most amount of time to get things done that I couldnt do during the week. Stuff like laundry, sitting aimlessly in front of a computer screen, getting more tattoos, haircuts, things like that. I get a bit of OCD when it comes to doing anything meaningful during the week because I feel as if it cuts into what little free time I have that should be spent not worrying about anything. Nothing important really occurs on a Sunday outside of sports games, so its a great day to get out, spend money, and drive around aimlessly.

This weekend was kind of a waste, having had my wisdom teeth out on Thursday, so there was definitely no drinking Friday night. I woke up yesterday and felt pretty good most of the day, even accidentally drinking soda with no problem (which they tell you not to because of the carbonation) so I decided to give it a shot and go out for the night. I’ve been going to Copperhead Road for close to a year now, as it’s the only bar in Colorado Springs that resembles anything close to what I’ve experienced back home at The Packing House or Phat Kat’s Tavern. The cover is relatively cheap compared to some of the shitholes in the greater Springs area (i.e. Sodo’s Nightclub – $15), the drinks aren’t overpriced, and the atmosphere resembles that of Coyote Ugly- plenty of beautiful women working the bar, making drinks, and dancing to the music. Although it’s a bit of a drive from Fort Carson, close to 20 minutes depending on the traffic, it’s well worth my gas money every weekend.

One of the great things about having a regular bar to attend, is the general atmosphere and demeanor of the people inside it. Copperhead Road is where country music meets a strong dance beat and everything flows from there. Even with a largely country touch on everything, not everyone that shows up is dressed like a cowboy, ensuring that no one will feel out of place. One of the main highlights of almost any night that I’ve gone is a regular by the name of Joseph. The guy is somewhere in his 60’s or 70’s but this doesn’t stop him one bit from ripping the place up. For most people that age, theyre in retirement mode; Joseph does this:

He Dances on the bar with girls young enough to be his grandkids; he doesn’t care. When the moment comes, he’s up there on the pipe doing pull-up after pull-up, 20 is the nightly standard. America is full of fat people and old people making excuses for not getting anything done; he’s out to have a good time. I’d like to be this awesome when I reach that age. The night went off without a hitch and  i was back inside the gates around 2am.

After finally dragging myself out of bed at around 9:30 this morning, i put enough effort together to get outside by 11 am to go get lunch. There’s nothing that seems to fill an empty stomach or fix a hangover better than a big meal at a place like Denny’s and the Ultimate Skillet did the trick today. The combination of Spinach (odd enough), peppers, tomatoes, eggs, and potatoes will fix any hunger problems in a heartbeat. Still bored, I figured I’d roam around the mall and ended up buying another pair of shoes because I figured that having 5 pairs already isn’t enough. That leads me to now, where I’m stuck doing laundry and reminding myself that its back up at 5:10 tomorrow morning and back to the daily circus that is Goof Troop.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Media

February 11, 2012 Leave a comment

You guessed it. A major staple of what the world revolves around. This can be looked at in a variety of ways. The music you listen to. The news, movies, shows, etc. that you watch on television. The internet. As in, what I’m bringing to you right now; media. As technology grows and things and events happen, they can be put out and discussed through all of the above forms of media. The world in its current state relies on someone’s take or opinion of a moment or event to form and base their own opinion.

This is the very reason that I haven’t owned a TV for almost a year and a half now. Sure, I’ll go home or go to the bar somewhere or eat someplace that has one and I’ll catch whatever happens to be on, whether it be the news, a ballgame, or a show of some kind. But the reason I don’t own one is that I’ll end up being glued to it, and chances are, I’ll see a big news story, specifically as of late, a political one. News outlets, whether you can see it or not, have a way of putting their spin on things to make the good guys look great and the not-so-good guys look awful. This is most obvious with Fox News and MSNBC. Both networks are heavily controlled and swayed by their respective political parties, the Republicans and Democrats. Fox News, even if they happen to be right a good portion of the time, paint the President as a man who portrays everything currently wrong with America and that it would be foolish to re-elect such a failure. MSNBC portrays him as a savior, a man reforming all the major problems with America’s infrastructure, everything from the economy to the way our medical care is controlled, and that we should stand behind this man because he is the one who “brought down the [almighty] Bin Laden”.

These two takes alone describe best why I despise the media. Could each network be right? The answer is yes, but both are so focused on a partisan political agenda that they fail to see the real truth behind what goes on. In reality, our country has seen a tripling of the national debt, the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs (Obama considers temporary 3-month job acts “job creation”), and a complete disastrous takeover of our medical care system. People who are raised by their parents to devote their viewership to either one of these networks are easily likely to raise their own children to believe the same way, similar to the way they devote their belief to a specific religion. The brainwashing cycle runs and runs, until no one is able to form their own beliefs anymore. It baffles me to see that the country seems to be running in reverse, that everyone stands for something, simply because it is what their parents believe in and tell them to continue in. I’d like to say that I can agree with my mother and father 100% of the time on everything, but where would I find the room to put my own opinion in? Somewhere down the line, you have to break free from the “cocoon” of  family beliefs and discover what you stand for in your own life and who you are as a human being.

This leads me to a current major trend in the media, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where all opinions are “welcome”. Much like the news on TV, an event happens, people then post that news and a discussion occurs. I can’t shake social media, as it is the best way besides a telephone to contact someone and know whats happening currently in their life. However, this is where everyone seems to forget how to help themselves at crossing the line between what they want to say, and what others want to hear. As much as you want to break the news of your recent life successes, someone else is entitled to a full opinion of what they think of your “success” and how/why you got there.

This can best describe the current “baby boom” happening between women (mostly late teens and girls under 21) back home in Littleton. These pregnancies are occurring at a rapid pace, and all pregnancy updates are being posted online in full detail. As much as I’d like to be proud that families are being created/added to, I can’t comprehend the lack of understanding by some of these future mothers when someone states an opinion on the impending childbirth through a media source such as Facebook. When you post publicly that you are “experiencing financial issues”, you “party heavily whether its Monday or Saturday”,  you “live with/depend on your parent(s) or family for support”, and especially when you state that “the father of your unborn child doesn’t even have a job”, of course someone is going to question your abilities to raise the child in a loving environment. “Love may conquer all”, but it doesn’t pay the heat bill or put gas in the tank and food on the table. That job at McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts isn’t going to buy diapers for the next 2-3 years and possibly support your life choices as well. The decision to create a family should take careful planning, everything from living arrangements to transportation to feeding the child and keeping clothes on his/her back as well as yours. A child isn’t something you become ready to raise overnight. A family support system is a great thing to fall back on in times of need, but not everyone has parents willing to babysit so you can go look for a job or go to the bar every weekend. Some of these people don’t even have parents to rely on, as they were raised themselves by a parent with no support system who was totally unprepared to raise a child. In a good majority of cases the cycle just repeats itself, over and over again.

All of these issues are discussed openly on a daily basis with the general public, but when someone expresses concern for the welfare of these people, they are told it is “none of their business” and to “stay out of my life”. It amazes me how ignorant people can be to crave  attention, but when they are drowning in it, they don’t know how to handle it. TV shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and pregnant” glorify teen childbirth as something that can be taken in stride, but all networks like MTV do is stick false ideas into the heads of their target audience. Your parents are not going to drop everything and raise a grandchild because you don’t know what to do. That isn’t what happened when you were born 16-21 years ago, why should it happen now? Apartments and hotel rooms aren’t a viable (or even affordable) living environment when the primary breadwinner of the new family makes 8.50/hour. These girls need to wake up and smell reality, and it isn’t going to be a TV show that pays all of your living expenses (why do you think the girls on these shows live such a supportive lifestyle? That car and all those clothes had to be paid for from somewhere).

Until that day comes when I decide to have a family, I’ll just continue to live life one day at a time, until i have the financial and moral foundation that is needed to help put a successful son or daughter out there into the world.

Troop Cuts

February 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Troop cuts have been a big topic the last several months in the Army. The force needs to cut roughly 80,000 (originally 50,000) soldiers and they have 5 years to do it. Retirements (20+ years) and ETS’s (soldiers finishing their enlistment contracts) are helping with thinning this number, but it is nowhere near enough. Originally, major offenses like murder, rape, robbery, etc. or testing positive on a piss test were grounds for starting the paperwork process to chapter somebody out. Being faced with a staggering number like 80,000, commanders are now giving the boot for DUI’s, multiple punitive actions taken against the soldier (Article 15’s, Court Martials, etc in a given span), and failing PT tests. Since last March, the top two positions have seen new faces take over; a new chief of staff (Gen. Martin Dempsey) and a new Sergeant Major Of The Army (SMA Raymond F. Chandler III).

SMA Chandler has made several changes since taking over the lead enlisted position of the Army, both good and bad. He got rid of the black beret for all soldiers, which was a failed attempt to match everyone with the green berets, worn by Special Forces, red berets worn by Airborne soldiers, and black berets (now tan), originally worn by Rangers. He is in the process of updating several regulations, and has completely revamped the tattoo policy to what it once was, making it harder for current soldiers such as myself to get more tattoos and almost impossible for anyone with tattoos to enlist/become an officer. Currently having 12 tattoos, this puts me in the middle of the issue, but I have seen many soldiers (including those of high rank) with almost full coverage in most areas. With the current cuts in place, this appears to be another reason for booting people out.

One of SMA Chandler’s main targets of these troop cuts are the deadbeats, people who honestly serve no purpose to a unit or the Army (and these people are floating around in every unit). What annoys me the most, is that these are the people that need to be kicked out the fastest, yet they are being pushed too slowly to meet this goal in a way the Army would like. From a basic observation of my own unit, it has taken nearly 9 months just to get the ball rolling for paperwork to start kicking these people out. The average time it’s taking to medically chapter/retire someone is close to a year (far too long). Ironically, it’s taking longer to cut someone early than to go through the normal retirement process. Sadly, what ive witnessed in less than two years since Basic Training, is that many who have joined in the last 3-5 years seem to think that they’re just going to get a free pass for an entire enlistment without ever putting in any work. Despite joining to “get off the streets”, or to make something of themselves, many of the guys I’ve served with still seem to think this is the block back home and “how hood you are” dictates what goes on. I don’t want to make an issue out of this, but most racial/gender stereotypes that ive largely ignored early on in life, exist everywhere in the Army. With the role of  women becoming more prominent, many leaders are considering allowing them to serve in roles previously allowed only for men. Yet many of the women that I attended Initial Training with have done little more than show up to a unit, get pregnant, and sham out. I have no issues with a woman’s right to create a family, but the realization has to be that you plan your life around being a soldier first.

What I’m seeing on a daily basis is that no one seems to care anymore. Signing a contract to serve and protect the country seems to have little meaning these days. They tell you in Basic, “remember what you’re getting into isn’t a job, it’s a life changing experience”. I beg to differ. I see a group of people who stumble into work at 5:45 am with a cup of coffee, and are trudging back out at 5pm, in a hurry to get out the gates and go home. I’ll be the last guy to tell you that I want to embody everything that the Army stands for and be a “Super Soldier” every day, but I aim to finish my enlistment with an Honorable Discharge.  This Army has become completely watered down, as Basic Training lacks everything that it used to be about, and AIT consists of everything that your unit will teach you on the job once you arrive anyway. Discipline is being stressed in all the wrong places, and daily life on a regular Army base  has become more serious than going through an overseas deployment. Two of the four people I came to Fort Carson with are already out of the military after less than a year and a half of service; one dead from a car crash he could’ve survived with a seat belt, and one for being “crazy” (the easiest excuse to cut ties nowadays).

The Army Times ran a headline article (taped on the door of my office in Afghanistan) on why people were getting out (“Quitting”, as they put it), blaming bad officers for poor leadership. The truth is, the people that have stuck around long enough to make a career and get promoted to sergeant and above, with a few exceptions here and there, are far less qualified than they should be for their rank, and they use their position simply for their own personal gain. Most of them don’t have a clue on how to lead or treat people like human beings. The NCO (non-commissioned officer; (sergeant and above) Creed states that an NCO is a leader of lower enlisted soldiers and has a responsibility to train and teach these individuals. All I’ve witnessed is a group of power-hungry individuals who are either trying to push everyone around, or using their rank to stand around and get out of any kind of task. As I’ve seen during my time in “Goof” company, most of the NCO’s here fit that description. I can probably name 4-5  NCO’s in my time in service that have had any kind of positive influence on how I should do things and how to conduct myself. These guys will all be retired within 3-4 years, leaving us with a bunch of complete jokers to run our units. All I can do for the next 607 days (yes, I’m counting down, I have been for a while) is hope to avoid the cuts and not get caught up in the bullshit that goes on daily.

Hiatus/Current Happenings

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

After a 3 1/2 month hiatus, ive decided to bring 7’s back to the table. Having been in Afghanistan, there wasn’t much to talk about outside of my same daily routine 7 days a week. After finding out at the end of September that I’d be going home in 2 1/2 months, that was all i could think about on a daily basis. Those last 60-70 days at Camp Stone were nothing more than counting down until I’d be able to drink beer and go outside of a 5 mile radius for once. Since returning to the US in mid-December, work has been nothing more than sitting around in the office all day, with an occasional menial task to do like paperwork, more paperwork, and online/classroom classes.

At the end of December, i got to go home for the first time in 8.5 months and really saw a lot of things that disgusted me, which led me to a long series of solid Facebook rants. As is with the current state of social media again, people tend to get butthurt when i throw my opinions out into the open, instead of tucking them away into a place like this blog. After a January/ first week of Feburary of hardcore ranting, i was urged by several people to create a blog/bring this back. Already having 7’s in place, I’m able to come back right to where i left off.

As for current happenings, I got my 3 remaining wisdom teeth taken out yesterday with the aid of IV sedation. Having never been “put under” before, I didn’t know what to expect, but figured nothing abnormal would happen. I remember the doctor’s assistant putting the IV in, talking to her for 5 minutes and then the doctor showing up, and then the next thing I know, im talking to the da again and I’ve got a funny taste in my mouth from all the blood and gauze. Medical technology sure has come a long way from the days of cutting people wide open with no medication at all. As for post-surgery, they advise you not to drive, as you’ll be feeling all the side effects from the drugs during the surgery. Other than sleeping half the ride back, I felt totally normal, with no “drugged out” feeling whatsoever. The pain is totally comparable to when I had my first wisdom tooth taken out, and even without the pills I was prescribed, there is little to no pain at all. The bleeding has stopped for the most part, and by eating a full dinner last night, the whole “no solid foods” diet for the first 24-36 hours seems like more of a precaution than a requirement.

Because of the medications, I cant go out and drink this weekend, which is a downer, but i feel as though I’ve really tapered off drinking-wise the last few weeks. I don’t know if it’s boredom, drinking at the same place every weekend, or something else, but it feels like I’ll get to a certain amount of beers with no buzz and then i just don’t feel like drinking anymore. Having started smoking cigarettes again in the ‘stan, I’d been making the mistake of trying to equal out my beers by smoking cigarettes after every beer or every other beer. All this was doing was making me more dependent on nicotine, and causing me to spend more money and hamper my abilities in PT during the week. I “stopped” after two weeks ago, when I woke up Saturday with no voice and a major cold. I’ve only had about three cigarettes since, and overall, I feel a lot better. As for this coming week, because of the surgery, I’m off regular PT until Thursday, which leads right into a 3/4 day weekend for us. Hopefully by the end of this week, It’ll warm up out here and it won’t be so damn cold to run in the morning. Being forced to wear black gloves (the one color they don’t issue for work gloves in the Army) has caused nothing but numbness in my hands the last 3/4 days outside.

Being back online, we’ll see what i can bring to the table, and hopefully I can get excited about writing again. Until next time…. 7’s

Categories: Uncategorized

Entertainment In The Land Of Sand

October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

After a few days of the internet being down I can finally post again… Every day here has been exactly the same for the last 4 months. I wake up between 530-545, take a morning piss, shower/shave if I didn’t the night before, and get dressed to head off to eat before my never-ending 12 hour a day, 7 day a week shift. Sometimes, like today, there might be a game on TV, as 6 am here is 8:30 pm back on the East Coast. The walk from the DFAC to my office isn’t that far, maybe about five minutes or so. I come in and have the same start to the shift just about everyday, booting up my laptop while handing out passes to the endless stream of Afghans that come in between 6-830 am to go to work. I visit almost the same group of websites everyday, and this consumes most of my shift until I go outside to work with the guards around 3pm. In no particular order:

Facebook/Twitter – I have both, and alot of people are seeming to creep over onto the Twitter side, sick of FB “drama”. I know almost everyone spends countless hours on FB, whether it’s status updates, recent pictures, or just creeping random profiles. Many people spend more time on these two websites than actually working, (provided they even have a job) working out, or doing something purposeful with their life. My favorite part about this is that so many people in this generation have their lives wrapped up around a computer/the internet, that they have no idea how to handle real-life situations or problems. Getting butthurt because of what someone said over a social networking site and then using the “don’t talk to me, I want to be alone” excuse has become a daily occurrence (especially for a large portion of the users that are OVER 20). Maturity has taken a huge dive, and most venting that I witness appears to be lazy fucks who are incapable of completing simple tasks at a simple job. I enjoy reading about how so-and-so’s vacation is going, or how they just got a promotion, or how they just had a child, or they’re moving somewhere exciting.

What annoys the shit out of me is the growing number of people who don’t understand what the purpose of a real job or education is, are too afraid to stand up for anything since they view “drama” as a small argument online, and take out their own failures on ex’s or bosses at work. If your boss or supervisor at work tells you that you’re doing a shitty job, there’s probably a reason behind it. Its not because this person dislikes you (maybe they do), its probably because you actually are doing a shitty job. Even better are the people that I’ve met since joining the Army who complain about the most mundane shit. I’m over here, even if I’m not being shot at at all, and you’re complaining (still back in America, not deploying anytime soon) because your unit “made you work through lunch, they don’t even give us an hour”. Nowhere in the contract to join does it say anything about “lunch breaks” or even being given time off for such.

Even better are the ones who figure out that in order to avoid a deployment, all they need to do is get pregnant. Women are making a push to be able to join infantry related units, “because we are as tough as men are” but we’ve got stupid whores getting knocked up just because they can’t man up and wield a weapon for 12 months. I even saw a status update quoting that one of them was “beating deployment” by being pregnant. I understand women, and their right to do so, to want to create a family because the Army is a hard job to accommodate such a thing. But to make a claim like that is a disgrace to the entire Army and disrespect to the people who serve for the purpose of fighting for their country. Yes, I got stuck out here in this office job, but I make the most of what I have. These women complain about something as simple as having to actually work 8 hours a day (OMG). – This depends on whatever sport is in season. April to late September is baseball and nothing else to me. Six full months of crunching numbers and seeing whats going on. October to January is where I’ll be on, during the season. As for Nascar, I don’t follow it anywhere near like I did when I was younger, but I’ll still check in from time to time. – This is a forum i have been a member of for about 2 years, since it broke off into its own website. There aren’t many nice things to say about this place, other than its a group of people like myself who enjoy lowbrow humor along with the occasional retared or extreme news story. One of the best threads on here is the WTF thread, which has carried on for 6 years between the original site, and the two new ones. Nothing is out of bounds here and all can and will be posted. – I discovered this site a few months ago, and it has become a solid source of laughs. Basically the premise is a guy who got the idea to do a blog style posting of various people’s nudes sent in by anonymous users. Its a simple format, the persons’s name, facebook page, a few normal pictures, then their nudes. The message is simple, just like the TV commercials, never trust anyone you send pictures to as they could end up anwhere, especially a place like this site. Some posts are hilarious, such as the daily gnargoyle (a really fat girl) or posts with ironic titles (am I fat?, I think I have a bad case of the man face, most beautiful girl ever posted). There really isn’t any seriousness here, but some people get butthurt and call the site out as an invasion of privacy (false, you sent the pictures), and attempt to “threaten” the administrator with a lawsuit (nothing has taken place against the guy). Rule #1, if you’re fat and/or ugly, don’t bother taking pictures of yourself, nobody wants to see that. As if the pictures of the people aren’t enough for laughter, the guy will post a reaction to each set of photos, usually in .gif form (short looped video), and most of these are spot on. I have yet to see the same one for different sets of photos.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Altima, Part Six: The Arrest/No More Jarmobile

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Having graduated college towards the end of December, I was really fucked in terms of finding a stable job in the carpentry/masonry trade. I spent the first two weeks at home doing nothing on purpose just because I didn’t feel like doing anything right after I was done school. For the last few days of December & the first week of January 2010, it started getting boring and I made a pledge to have a job of some kind by the end of the month. After only a week, the boredom continued and I pitched the crazy idea to my dad of joining the army if I didn’t have a job by the end of the month. He apparently didn’t think I was serious, and questioned the effort of my attempt. A week later, and with two weeks of no answers from the Unemployment office, I gave up and called the recruiter. A few days later, he was at my house. Less than a week after the first call, I had signed the initial paperwork. On February 12, I officially signed as a recruit. One of my favorite questions that the recruiter asks involves drug/alcohol use and abuse. And this is where the conclusion begins.

At the beginning of March, the Summers Bros. were on school vacation up to Big Poop’s new house down in Thornton. I had just gotten my old job back at Lowe’s and had money to my name once again. I travelled down to do what else, drink beers and smoke some mary-jane. Travis “Danger” Miller had been calling for about 2 hours telling us about a party that was going on down at UNH. It was only 7:30 at this point, but we somehow were intent on staying put where we were. At some point “Black Nate” McBeath and “Kitty” Friedmann showed up, I don’t remember when. By about 9:30, 945ish, after a solid amount of bong hits, we were in no shape to leave Shiloh’s room in the basement. Travis called yet again, and somehow at about 10pm, we made the sudden decision to stuff all 5 of us in the Altima and make the 2 hour drive down to Durham. Supplies were needed, so an unnamed amount of Bud Lights were thrown into a backpack and we were off. For 2 straight hours, It was almost impossible to open my eyes more than a crack, so I could only see about 30% of the road the entire trip. I also regret not pounding a road soda on the way down.

We got onto campus sometime just before midnight and then spent a good 20 minutes trying to find a parking space in what has to be the most poorly constructed student parking lot of all time. We find Travis and make our way into the dorm for this “party” he’s been screaming about for 4 hours. The first things I notice after walking into the suite:

1.a couple of fat kids to the left standing in a group with no beers in their hands,

2. at least 3 girls I went to high school with to the left behind the fat guys

3. a group of about 10 slow dancing (yes, THEY WERE FUCKING SLOW DANCING AT A “party”) straight ahead of me

4. A loud, obnoxious, scrawny girl crying about the rules of beirut while playing against YET ANOTHER person I went to highschool with

5. I won’t ever remember what music was playing, but it was something godawful.

I honestly drove completely stoned 2 hours for THIS. Any kind of buzz I was feeling before this, GONE. I’m at a school with over 15,000 students, the biggest “college” in all of NH, and I’m really in a room where I know 6-10 people here? I ask one of the fat dudes where the beer is at, since there doesn’t appear to be a sign of a full beer anywhere in this suite. He then tells me there is none. I am almost irate at this point, having already witnessed 1-5 and I’m starting to flip out. It took the next 20 minutes or so to convince the other 4 guys to leave, with Travis trying to convince everyone the entire time that an alcohol-free party was going to be at least slightly interesting. After waiting for what seemed like an hour we left as Nate felt the need to pick up a quarter which was seriously wrapped in paper towel (classy UNH drug dealers) and cost $125 for what was really $40 worth of weed. Satchel insisted on trying to find Taylor Caggiula’s frat and going there, but I’d already had enough of UNH and wanted to head back. We made our way back to the parking lot and set off.

As rough as the trip down was, the trip back was easier but more frustrating, until we rolled up a few J’s for the ride back. We had just finished and thrown the roach out the window when we approached the store next to the road where my uncle lived before he passed away. As we got within about 500 feet, a cop car up ahead flew into the parking lot and made a lightning fast U-turn. As we drove by, he almost slammed into me pulling out. He then followed us for the next 2 miles or so before throwing on the flashers. Of course we still had the weed on us, and of all our great ideas for hiding it, Shiloh put it under the front passenger seat. After waiting forever the cop finally walks up and shines his light directly into my eyeballs and starts asking the usual cop questions. Immediately, he becomes more interested in the aroma of mary-jane emanating from the car and asks if he can take a look around. As quoted by Satchel, I then blurted out “there are no drugs in this car” [false] and within five minutes we’re all standing outside being questioned as there was no way I was gonna fuck with the threat of them bringing the K-9 unit in.

Five minutes after they pull us out I’m in handcuffs and being put in a cruiser with Shiloh, still without being told what I was ever pulled over for in the first place. As we’re waiting for the rest of the group to be locked up, I hear a clicking noise, and the Fat Fuck driving the SUV cruiser turns around. He says something to the other officer and at this time, we both realize he locked himself out of his own cruiser even though he forgot to shut my door all the way when he closed it. After about a 20 minute wait, a third crusier shows up, they unlock our crusier’s front doors, and then drive off with Nate as the only passenger. (apparently black people have to be taken away alone) While we were waiting for the third cop, I watched a flatbed wrecker appear out of nowhere, pick my car up, and then back down into the garage we were stopped across from. (really?) About an hour after pulling us over, these “cops” finally drive us down to the police “station”.

They take us in, unhandcuff us, then have us wait to get fingerprints and mugshots. The whole process was a joke as the cop really had to consult Shiloh for a second opinion on what my facial hair type was (beard, goatee?). After that, I then went to a room with a table and a big bowl of M&Ms (which we ate most of over the next 90 or so minutes). The K9 guy, apparently bored from not doing anything on shift, shows up and starts bullshitting with us. Shiloh left his jacket and Pacers hat in the room and he spent a good 15 minutes telling us how he would get raped wearing those to the Rockingham County Jail. He then tries telling us after 5 unsuccessful tries of calling Caggiula that we would be sent to the drunk tank for the night if we couldn’t get anyone to pick us up. We then spoke with the bailiff, who gave us our paperwork (charges, court dates, bail fee, etc.) We get let go at about 4:15 am, with no idea where the nearest gas station was, seeing as all our travel was done at night after business hours. We then groveled for about 4+ miles or so over the next two hours, with me wearing Kitty’s jacket as I had conveniently thrown my sweater in the trunk upon departing UNH. At this point, Satchel also realizes that the outstanding officers never bothered to fingerprint or mugshot him.

At some point just after 6, we found a shell station that was open for the morning and walked in. They had one of those in-store Subway’s with all the tables and chairs. I found one and passed out instantly. I was woken up about an hour later by Satchel telling me it was time to go. Apparently, some woman walked in on her way to work at some nursing home further south and he told her a solid lie about being left there by our friends (who somehow had a vehicle big enough to fit all of them and all 5 of us) and she believed him and agreed to drive us 20 minutes out of her way back to UNH. We had gotten hold of Caggiula by this time and he agreed to let us stay in his room (which meant I would have to be within 15 feet of James Conklin, the only kid cool enough to rock a bowl cut mullet past the age of 18). I got to sit in the corner with the TV on my lap, and the trip back seemed a lot longer than I remembered the night before. We got dropped off, found T’s room, and passed out for a few hours (with me using one of Conk’s shoes as a pillow).

Somewhere around 11, Nate was able to call his mom and come up with another great lie, that I’d illegally parked in a no-parking zone and had my car towed. She made the drive all the way down to pick us up and took us back to Big Poop’s. I ended up calling the garage first thing the next morning and found out that I owed $250, for the tow and the two days that the car had sat in their impound lot. As I didn’t get paid until that Friday, this was impossible, and they told me it would be $500 to pick it up then.  I ended up working out a deal to pay them the $250 and to sign the title over to the garage. A car that I had gotten for free, paid thousands in repair, and was still quoted at $4500 damage for the t-bone and guardrail incident, was going to cost me money to get rid of. The Altima had gone out on its last drive with a bang. I called my recruiter, who in turn emailed the prosecutor, and all I got out of the whole thing was a penalty of a $60 online alcohol awareness course. (I didn’t even drink a single beer that entire night.)

Me and Satchel drove down Friday morning in the Blazer to recover the contents of the inside. Amazingly enough with all the solid police work done by the Northwood Police Department, they somehow managed to leave every last scrap of weed, still intact in the paper towel inside my car. We signed the paperwork, and the Altima, sadly, was out of my hands. As far as I know, the weed ended up being sold to Matt Driscoll upon Satchel’s return to Ursinus. The car is probably sitting in a junkyard somewhere, just rusting away, nothing but a memory of all the stupid shit I did from the ages of 18-20.

These days, I look at the tale of the Altima as a turning point in my life. I had the high moment of having my first car, and I experienced rock bottom, being dead broke with an inoperable automobile. Now I have a guaranteed job, full benefits, a working car that has yet to be in a [major] incident, and I can pay all of my bills and loans with ease. I look back on my college days as a learning experience in life, and to not make some of the stupid mistakes I made. It’s entirely possible that someone aquired the Altima, and is now having the same life journey I had.

The Altima, Part Five: Rock Bottom

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

After the excitement of Turning Stone  died down, it was time to go to my last two weeks or so of work and go back to school for one last semester. Like before this meant two “solid” weeks of 30 hours over  14 days. Starting on the slide downhill, I was already broke and had to make an agreement with my off-campus landlord to pay as I could to finish my semester’s rent. I did my paperwork to transfer back to working at the Lowe’s in NY again and got ready to head out.

As they had been during the whole Turning Stone trip, the brakes were squeaking, although they were now grinding a bit too. I got to my new place which wasn’t too bad, and got my schedule which was pretty easy, considering I was only taking two classes. I was still broke, so my grocery budget was next to nothing. Conveniently, the $220.00 check i had waited for from my last week of work up home showed up as all of 88 cents, since the HR department fucked me (again) and transferred my paperwork without including my last pay period. I had almost nothing, since my bank account was basically empty and I didn’t start at the Oneonta Lowe’s for another week or so. Paying my bills became almost impossible, as my savings account was closed down, and my checking was reduced to 96 cents after paying my September bill. As I started work, I finally started getting a bit of money as I had guaranteed hours, even if it was only 20 a week. Their HR was able to unfuck my situation and after 5 weeks, I finally saw my last check from NH. On the 25 mile trip each way to work, I noticed that the grinding in the brakes was really starting to pick up. A friend of mine, Steve, who had graduated the previous summer, had moved back with his girlfriend who lived only a mile up the road. He offered to do the brakes once I was able to get the money together. At this point I was barely able to afford the gas to get to work each week, and my food budget was just under 4o dollars for the entire month, since I was no longer on the Delhi school meal plan.

About a week or so into October, the vehicle finally decided it had enough, as the grinding was about as loud as it could get, and as I pulled out of the driveway onto NY Route 10, I hit the brakes, only to have them go right to the floor. I pulled the e-brake in time and kept on my way to work. Over the next few days, I noticed that every time I came to a stop, the right front wheel would have smoke coming out of it. I finished up work for the week, (I had just worked out a schedule that day to work on some free time i had to bring me close to 40 hours per week) got paid for that Friday, picked up some brake pads at Advance Auto (as we figured this to be the problem), and pulled up the Altima into the yard to do the brakes. On first note, I had done my tires the previous winter, and having no torque wrench, I tightened the lugnuts to “my specifications”. This proved to be an issue while taking the tires off, as we could not loosen the lugnuts. Using a pipe for a breaker bar proved to be useless, as we then proceeded to break off 6 of the 8 studs on the wheels. After finally getting the wheels off, we discovered the root of the problem.

After pulling off the right tire, we saw instantly that one of the brake pads had been reduced to nothing but the metal heat shield on the back, and the cause of the brakes hitting the floor was the other pad, which had broken off and was lodged between the rotor and the metal plate behind it. The grinding noise was the brake cylinder dropping into the rotor and grinding every time the wheel spun around. Two hours and $130 later (of which Steve paid [loaned] about half), we were no further and couldn’t get any parts until the next day. Over the rest of the weekend the slide to rock bottom continued as we could get no further and the vehicle was now unmovable. I had no money to tow the vehicle, and my last resort was to take the bus from campus down to the school auto garage where they agreed to take care of the issues. My dad was nice enough to loan the money to have the only car dealership in town tow the car and I would cover the repair expenses. Over the course of this, the week I was supposed to start getting almost 40 hours, I was forced to call out for a week straight, meaning an entire week of no income. After almost a week in the school garage, I was able to finally get the car back. Lucky for me, this entire time I had been somehow been able to go the entire semester without paying a single dollar for a single beer I drank or any weed that I smoked. Work got back to normal, although for a couple days, I was back down to my last dollar to get home on gas.

A few weeks later, thinking I had climbed out of the hole, I fell right back in. Now living on about $30 a month for food expenses, I would take my dinner to work some nights  including Tuesday and Thursdays which immediately followed the day’s lone class ending at 5:30 (leaving my half hour trip to my work shift which started at 6). Trying to save myself all of 20 seconds on break, I took off all the wrapping off my Ramen Noodles and threw it away. (backstory: from dropping my keys so many times, the already thin top portion of the key broke off, forcing me to carry the single key everywhere I went) Work went as scheduled and as the unload team worked straight through until 10pm, I was usually one of the last 10 or so people to leave every night. This was fine until I reached in my pocket for my key, which of course wasn’t there. This led to searching the front entrance trashcan (where the Ramen Noodle garbage was, no dice) and then a 20 minute climb into the compactor (the sign next to it says not to even climb in the tunnel where you throw your trash, I was jumping around the inside of the compactor itself). I was dead certain I found the bag where the Ramen Noodles were, although I couldnt find the key anywhere. The lone head cashier was nice enough to drive me all the way back, as it was less than 10 minutes out of her way. I was fucked again, as since I only brought the single key, the rest of my keys and the electric lock button were locked inside my car. Once again, I had no way of getting to and from work.

[Rock Bottom]I took the bus the next day from Delhi to the Oneonta station, after notifying my professor of my situation to which I wasn’t going to be able to attend his class and then walked the last 3.75 miles to work for the night. Despite not having any way of  getting home, I still worked thinking I’d find a way home. Apparently, I misunderstood the head cashier when she said she had something going on that night, as I waited until almost everbody had left to find this out. I then looked up the only two taxi companies I could find in Oneonta, and the only one who would even offer to drop me off somewhere in Delhi wanted close to 40 bucks. There was no way I could afford this. So at roughly 1030 pm, I set out hitchhiking in the last week of October on one of the steepest roads in Delaware/Otsego County, NY. With only a backpack and a 99 cent iced tea from the store up the road, it was gonna be rough. Somewhere around 1130, I made it to the other side of the city to start my climb up Route 28 south to Delhi, only a 20 or so mile trek in the dead of night. Every mile or so, I kept hoping somebody would see me and pick me up, as 90% of the traffic on 28 goes to Delhi or further west. About 40 percent of the way to the top, the stomach pains from not eating that night got me, and with no other options I ended up taking a shit in someone’s yard, having to duck down every time a car came up or down the road. Eventually somewhere around 1:30am, just as I’m nearing the top of the hill, some dude pulls over and drives me the last 15 miles or so back out to where I live.

The next day, Wednesday, Steve’s girlfriend agrees to loan me the 50 bucks i need to unlock the car, while I still have to wait until Friday to get paid and buy the new key ($120, as quoted by the Nissan Dealership). That day, I get a blessing, as i get a $140 refund check from the state as my fall loan was over the amount that I needed. Still with no car, and unwilling to hitchhike again, I call in that night. The next day, I get a ride to work courtesy of Steve’s girlfriend and the guy unlocks my car. I work my shift, wait for almost everyone to leave, then head out to my car as if I’m leaving. I make sure no one is looking, I pop the trunk, and then climb in and through to my backseat. There were still a handful of managers working, and I had to wait for them all to leave to be able to sleep without being seen. After a 35 minute or so wait, it was silent and I crawled into the backseat for the night.

The next morning, I woke to the sound of noises in the parking lot. I open my eyes to see that several of the morning shift employees have already arrived. It’s 5am on the dot. Not wanting to be spotted, I throw my shoes on and start my trek to the dealership. Had this been spring 2009, the dealership would have still been just across the street, making this as simple as pushing the car over there. I was now left with an 8 mile round trip there and back to the bus station as I would have to wait at least a day for the key to be made and delivered. I made it to McDonalds somewhere around 615, as I could at least afford to eat breakfast. Every rumor I’ve heard about old people as true, as there were about 15 of them in there, all wide awake, drinking coffee and reading the morning paper. I eat and head back on my way, reaching the Dealership about 7am, just as the first guy shows up to prepare for the day. I’m still outside, about 40 degrees at this point, and its about 8:15 before someone finally offers to let me in. I go to the maintenance department, where the guy recognizes me, they set up to have the key made and my car towed across town. All in all, saving 20 seconds on a 25 cent bowl of Ramen cost me $233 (lesson learned). I ended up getting a call later that day that the key was ready to go, as soon as I could come and pick it up. That night, I ended up going to a party at 18 Clinton, a place I’d partied at maybe 3 times  in 4 and a half semesters at Delhi. I ended up hanging around there the next day and was able to find two dudes who happened to live in Oneonta and were making a trip there that afternoon. I picked up the key and my car, and made it through the rest of my last semester without any relative car issues. December 18th marked my last day as a Delhi student, and the Altima made the last journey up I-87 to route 4 back to Littleton.

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