Git off muh land!
Late September, the IN Dept. Of Transportation's road crew removed our existing highway to correct a line-of-sight issue. Their work started at the foot of our front driveway and went west beyond the shop driveway. And this is when the fun began.
With minimal barricades, and little conviction to actually control their jobsite (which, I might add, included not only our frontage, but many other neighbors', too), Crider & Crider (the road contracting company) left the roadbed open for ambitious and/or moronic drivers to seize a 4-wheeler opportunity: "These barricades arent for me!" Countless rednecks stomped their feet to the floorboards, swerving their Broncos and their Willies all over the roadbed, rutting the worksite, adding hours to the contractor's job and encouraging other malfeasant yahoos.
On one October Sunday, Casey (my neighbor across the street) came over to tell me he and his son Ian used yellow caution tape all over our backyard (where the shop is), because they just witnessed 2 vans drive up to the shop, through the yard, pause at the propane tank, then drive all the way around the shop to return the way they came. Feeling a bit PO'd about the idiocy of anyone thinking our yard makes for a fine roadway, I put up even more caution tape. The theory was to keep the honest people honest -- a solid theory for the honest people. What about that "10%"? The complete morons?
The next morning I spoke to the Crider & Crider site superintendent about this situation, and in extremely diplomatic language pointed out the holes in the barricade and how they might be remedied. That week, the super effectively strung-out his heavy equipment, creating a barricade that actually barricaded! It forced cars to turn around in the road and admit, "Yes, these barricades are for me." Well, that Friday evening, for whatever reason, the super did not erect his barricade.
Rose, Missy's mom, arrived earlier that same Friday for a weekend visit and heard all of our addition stories and roadwork complications. And that evening, another story occurred. It was 10:30pm; I had shaved and just got in the shower when Rose yelled into the bathroom, "Adam! A car's stuck in your yard! Missy's out there with the flashlight, and they're trying to back out the way they came!" In a flash, jeans, shirt, coat, boots and shotgun were on me, and I stormed past Rose to the backdoor. "Oh, Adam, you don't need that," she said. Instantly, I recalled how Mother Nature had mercilessly tried to cancel our excavation with torrential summer rains, how our house had nearly fallen over, how the road crew had funneled ambitious drivers through our yard, how we strung caution tape everywhere and how this time, I wasn't going to tolerate any more malicious liability. I said something gruff, marched past her and out the door.
From about 20 feet, I saw a Jeep Ltd. stuck on the inclined grade of yard at the glen-side retaining wall, where there was barely enough room for our riding mower (or so I thought). To get to that location, the driver had to go through our backyard, over the septic mound and around the upper retaining wall. The honest people would've stopped about 20 yards ago; this jerk was simply brazen. All the occupants looked to be in their early 20s, well dressed, clean, straight teeth, and in a Jeep much too expensive for their age: college students, a major demographic of that "10%" who think repercussion is a myth. Two of the passengers were trying to push the Jeep back up the incline, as the driver kept his door open to get a visual on their efforts. A girl sat in the backseat silent. All had just noticed my presence when I pumped the shotgun to clarify my mood. "Oh, Adam..." Missy said. She said more to me, but it was lost to an aurally focused sensation, like how water feels filling your ear canals. The fury behind my eyeballs coupled with the click-click of a pump action shotgun got the Jeep people's attention: the two guys pushing suddenly found a wealth of horsepower and pushing strength they'd never known, the driver's wide-open eyes fixed on his steering wheel, and the girl in the backseat became transfixed with her motionless hands atop her lap. All of our project's challenges, setbacks, and runaway budget now had a name and a face: a doofus in a Jeep.
Something in my id exploded out of my mouth, and every sentence began with the letter "f". Each time the driver went to close his door I flung it back open, and continued a late night rant on the edge of the woods and cow pastures. The driver did try to make apologies but it was useless. He was a jerk, and I wanted to make sure he knew it, too. It was all I could do to remember that an ex-cop told me it's illegal to point a gun at someone, and I reluctantly refrained from pointing it at this punk kid. In fact, that is the only moment of the evening I came to derive any pride, otherwise I was a bombastic lunatic with a shotgun.
Somehow, the two mule boys got the Jeep back up the incline, and they went the way they had come. Missy and I stood there quietly and motionless for a minute or so. With a bit of disgust she said, "You have shaving cream all over your face." And I did. I also had an unloaded, nonfunctioning shotgun and a sense of futility.
So, the moral of the story is this: when given the opportunity to match-make idiots with consequence, especially when they're out to pour liability upon you, don't waste the moment as I did. Oh, by all means, take your shotgun (its highly entertaining and cathartic, even if only for you), but also remember your cordless phone and camera. Give that "10%" demographic meaningful consequence and repercussion of their actions through prosecution and photographic positive proof of their inherent and inescapable doofusness. I'm sorry to report to my fellow members of civilized society, where honest people are honest, that I may have let this punk in a Jeep remain unaffected by his idiocy, and allowed him to remain at large, today. In these regards, I think our best policy is to simply shoot him on site.
Mail Order Osama
May 2002 -- So, look what came in a shipping box: a carefully cut-out newspaper photo perfect for the dart board.
The Next Addition
Hey, Mom, look what we can do! Let's just say, the addition will be done by November 7, 2002.