After years of talking, dreaming, and making grand plans about it, finally in the summer of 2005, my bestie and I got an apartment together. We were so excited! We had both left somewhat shaky situations, mine being an annoying, naive and whorish roommate who would invite strange dudes she met in local bars into our apartment and then bone loudly while I tried, in vain, to sleep. Mind you, we lived on St. Nicholas and 125th st. So the characters she brought home were interesting, to say the least. I came home from my nearby barjob many a night to cross paths with some sinister- looking, skinny, long white tee'd up mini- thug scowling at me as he rifled through my refrigerator while the dumb slore stood nearby, wrapped in her bedding and giggling, embarrassed.
Our new place was a cute privately owned duplex in a cute community in an up- and- coming section of Newark.
The owners, we'll call them Jerry and Barb, were thoroughly charmed by the both of us, and we were happy to be renting from some good sturdy middle aged middle class black folks with their heads on straight as well... there would be no slumlord in our future. We were determined to be the best tenants they'd ever had. There'd be no problems from us at all! No, sir!
Upon receiving our keys, we were given passes to the pool, and our assigned parking space. To go from coming home from work dodging baseheads eating Popeyes on the stoop and coming upstairs to hear thug loving, to my own apartment with amenities? I was in heaven!
We spent a long day moving in all our furniture, (by ourselves, i might add.. we were so gangsta wittit!) and running around for odds and ends. At the end of the day, as we were driving back in for the last time that night, exhausted and anxious to sleep in our beds in our apartment for the very first time, we drive into our parking lot... to discover that someone had parked in our assigned space! At 1am, at the end of a really long day, with NO other available parking spots around.
We were exhausted to the point of tears, and clueless as to what to do.
As we sat in our idling car, a neighbor who had introduced himself as we were moving in, an aging gay black man with a tiny puppy constantly in hand, came up to our car and asked what was wrong. We told him tearfully, "someone's parked in our spot!! We don't know what to do!"
The man (we'll call him Tim) snapped his neck back as if slapped and proclaimed "Oh NO! We do NOT play that around here! unh- uhh, hunny! ta- TOW, ta- TOW!!", and pointed to the sign bearing the number to a towing company.
We looked at each other, a bit taken aback. "Really? Just like that?", we asked him.
Tim: "Oh YES Hunny!! You have to let these people KNOW or they will be ALL up in here in our space, DOIN what they wanna do. Unh- uh! You better CALL that number!! The sooner the better! Ooh and yall look tired too!! When will YOU be going to bed? Ta- TOW!!"
We thought, well thats a bit much, isn't it? what if it's the guest of a neighbor? or a neighbor even?
Tim: "Hunny WHO is thinking of YOU?! It is ONE a.m. and you are OUT in the streets!! Do what's good for YOU, AND our comMUniTY!! Ta- TOOOW!!"
We finally come around. Yeah, we think. Tim's right! We've had a long day! We're sleepy! No one's thinking of us besides neighbor Tim! We need to put our foot down and teach these interlopers a lesson! Maybe this is the way they do things in this complex, and we need to fall in line and present a united front! TA- TOW!!!
We call the towing company, doze until they arrive, wait while they tow the offending vehicle, slide into our spot, head into the crib, undress and get into bed. About 15 minutes later, our phone rings. My bestie answers, and i hear her call me frantically. I run into her room.
"What is it?" i ask.
"It was Jerry's car we towed."
"Our new landlord, Jerry?!"
"The one and only."
On our first night of tenancy, we managed to tow our own landlord's car. Way to not cause any trouble.
The thing that hit us the hardest, was the fact that it wasn't within either of our personalities to tow the car, no matter whose it was. It was just more trouble than we had the heart to make, without the coaxing from Tim (whose name became "Ta- Tow" to us from then on). True, we were tired and frustrated. But left to our own devices, Im sure we would have found an alternative. Tried to drive around or something.
Damn mean man making us tow our landlord. SMH.
So, yeah. Don't be just listening to people. Especially when your spirit is telling you not to.