When I left off, after a very long aside about car wrecks, I made the statement that Hell was now looking to me for pointers. I still consider that to be true. The fact is that I am going to really have to sugar coat this next section to make it possible to post it at all. The people involved are all still alive, all have their livelihoods to think about, and probably wouldn’t want to recount the experience anyway. If I ever get around to writing a story about my life I might be able to recount this all factually, for now I am going to have to settle on vague details and no names.
I was on the lam at this point. I would have honestly been arrested if I happened across the path of any law enforcement officer. It is not that I am proud of the fact that I fled the state to avoid my just due, no, it was more about being young and stupid. Of course the last thing that I wanted in my new home was to come into contact with any sort of police officer. Much to my horror, I found that the little trailer park my mother lived in was basically ‘Crack Central’ in the town. Frequented by junkies and the cops alike. Just fucking perfect.
I have never been in law enforcement, but I can tell you that if it takes them months to identify and bring down drug dealers they simply aren’t trying. All you really have to do to find the dealer is find out which houses still have lights on at 3am, have cars coming and going every five minutes around that time, and a couple of guys deciding that this is the perfect time to paint the house. This is likely, at the very least, a distribution center of small amounts of the substance.
So I had gone from the hell I was in in Oregon, where it was easy to simply blend in and not be noticed, to being in the middle of ‘Crack Central’ in a brand new state. A place where the cops looked at everybody with a suspicious eye. I didn’t want to be any part of it, but the truth is I really didn’t have a choice.
I had been working there for only a few months when the owner began to feel a bit of pity for me. Especially since my Mom was now planning on returning to Oregon, the state I really needed to avoid for a while. The owner gave me quite a deal on a little studio apartment, so good that I won’t even go into detail here. It was at exactly this point that my life started to suck just a bit less.
I was able to pay off all of my outstanding court fees in Oregon, as well as almost 10,000 dollars in debt in that state in only a couple of years. All, that is, except for one outstanding DUI conviction that I had agreed to go through a diversion course to strike from my record. I made many attempts to resolve that issue. The problem is that the judge in Oregon wanted me to actually appear in his courtroom to talk to him. I was in no position to make a jaunt across a few states to talk to the judge, I needed to be able to resolve this over the phone. No go.
It seems that when I fled the state I had not left a forwarding address (well, duh! That was why I fled the state.), therefore I had failed to appear in court a few times, since I had never received the summons. The judge thought that I might be a “flight risk”. Which I think is wonderful. I fled the state, lived in a different state for a couple of years, then I contacted the court to try to take care of the matter, then they thought that I might be a “flight risk”. Way to mind your records.
I had exactly two options. The first was to go back to Oregon to face my day in court. This option would only suck because they would likely add on failure to appear charges for every summons they sent, yet which I never received. The second option was just to wait for the statue of limitations to run out. It is only seven years, after all. That is what I did.
Over the years I befriended a woman who works at the local court (the small town that I live in is actually the county seat), she gave me a couple of ideas about how I could try to remedy the situation. One of them was that I could ask them if they would let a judge in the State and County I was in rule on it, still the judge would not allow it; he wanted to see me in his courtroom. I was never able to resolve that whole situation, well not in the way I would have liked to, but it eventually went beyond the number of years where they would have been able to prosecute. Biggest wimp out of all time.
Once the time frame for prosecution had expired, I called the courts in Oregon to see if I had any outstanding fines. I did, to the tune of only 700 dollars. I wrote a check out and put it in the mail. A couple of weeks later I called back and asked the same question. No outstanding fines or warrants, sweet. I then called the DMV in Oregon to check on my driver’s license status. It was listed as expired. Not suspended (which it had been), not revoked (which it had been), simply expired. It would cost me 138 dollars to get it back since it had been expired for so long. Unfortunately they would not be able to send me a copy of the license, but they could send me a paper that stated that I had a valid driver’s license in that state, with no driving infractions in the past seven years. They did exactly that.
When I went to the DMV here in Arizona I was expecting to have to take a driving test. I had really only had my license for six months or so, over a decade ago, before it got taken away. I was really surprised when they simply looked at the documentation, checked it out on the computer, then asked me to pose for my license photo. I was trying to look stoic, but to anyone who knows me, that photo came out to look a bit mischievous, maybe more than a bit. When I look at the photo I think that I look like the guy that ate the dog, that ate the cat, that ate the canary.
The reason that I was trying to make sure everything was resolved at that point had little to do with me. I was to be married only a month and a few days after I finally got my driver’s license back. I wanted to make sure that my future wife wasn’t going to be marrying a felon. I am quite happy that it worked out the way it did. Even happier to find that having paid off all of that debt (from Oregon) had actually improved my credit rating. To the point that the wife and I were living in our very own house (well the bank’s house for thirty years) only eight months after the wedding.
Suddenly, as sudden as it can be after years of toiling to make amends, my life was sucking less and less. I now have a wife who truly loves me, a home that is ours (outright in a mere 27 years). In lieu of the 2.7 children, we have 2 dogs, 7 cockatiels, tons of fish, & (the wife has) several horses.
I would have to say that I am pretty happy and content with my home life. I am living my own version of the American Dream and it is wonderful. I couldn’t rightly ask for anything more. Nor could I want anything more. Happiness is very subjective, I have found exactly the amount of happiness that I had always hoped for, but if that Powerball ticket ever hits I won’t bitch about that either.
Post Script: I really doubt that I will ever take the time to go over this portion of my life again (though I will probably try to lump the five or six stories together on a single page for ease of navigation. No promises). I do, however, feel an urgent need to answer a question that no one has ever asked of me. That question is: “If you had it all to do over again, knowing what you know now, would you have made the call to keep your father alive? Knowing that the decision would have made it so you never would meet your wife, as well as one of your best friends?”
That is a question that I ask myself A lot. If I had it all to do again I would certainly want my father to live, however, I am still unsure about dad’s desire to live or die. Yet, were it not for his death, I would not have met my wife, my friends would be different people, my Mother and Brother might not be who/where they are today (hell, they might not be at all)…
Just now the wife came into the “computer room” to give me a hug and tell me that she loves me.
While I would love to have both a wife and a father, I would not have this wife were it not for the death of my father. That pretty much seals it. Sorry dad.