6:30 pm on a Sunday afternoon… and three other vehicles pulled up in front of my parking lot.
You might think that’s a good thing, and it would be if people didn’t park everywhere.
A person parks in one direction. The guy coming from the west parks right in front of this guy, and so on. It happens in an endless combination until the process of getting people out becomes a personal pantomime of moving cars. At certain times of the day my work becomes comparable to that of the late Marcel Marceau.
I knew I had to do something about it. However, I never expected anything to become the catalyst for my 11-year-old son’s criminal record.
The day started innocently enough. Every Sunday afternoon, my family and I will always do three things.
We eat a lot of samples when we shop.
We take long walks with the dogs.
And finally, we do something semi-athletic.
It can be throwing a Frisbee. Shooting rings. Or on that particular afternoon, play with a slightly deflated soccer ball that is easier for young children to throw and hold.
This is the low-cost, weekly version of our family’s preventive health care plan. This time we set off in a 1983 Mercedes 300D and make our way to a nice parking spot on the outskirts of Deliverance Country. A small town. There are no stores nearby.
One would think that the place would only welcome a few local cycling enthusiasts and this rare Georgian family eager to do some outdoor activity.
Well, the park was completely packed to the gills. Everyone and their dog had left on foot or by bicycle. Just as the ’70s era sparked a fitness craze on the West Coast, the temperatures of the ’70s brought a turnout of outdoor enthusiasts that felt more like California and less like…well…Georgia. .
So we went out and I played soccer with my son. A game of catch. Some basic soccer games. I shot, he ran. He shot, I ran. The world was beautiful and sunny.
After about 45 minutes of this we decided to take a break and get some water. That’s when the world started to get complicated.
The first water fountain we went to was broken. There’s no water. No opportunity. So we started walking down the trail to find another one.
Now when I say track, I really mean a biker’s paradise. The Silver Comet Trail is one of the few things to do in my part of the country. Flat and smooth terrain. Lots of shade. Everyone follows the rules and the landscape changes enough to make your car-free trip interesting whether you go north or south.
However, if you’re a walker like the two of us, every minute or so a small fleet of bikes will pass you by. After a while, you start to hear “To the left!” so much so that you think everyone is trying to identify your personal politics. So after walking a mile and finding another water source that didn’t work, we decided to take a real dirt trail parallel to the Silver Comet.
This area turned out to be a local dump. Every few hundred meters there were old sofas, children’s games and an endless stream of empty barrels.
So we found this…
Now when we found this sign, it was embedded in a nice sized hill of mud, about a third of which was submerged in Georgia clay. Stop symbol. Arrow. Speechless. It sounded like the perfect illiterate version of the words “Please stop here!” So naturally we scooped up the remaining mud, scooped it up, and put it in the back of the old Benz.
It’s perfect. After finding a working water source near the fire station, we headed to the nearby Home Depot to straighten out that little lower section of the needle.
We might as well have pissed into the wind. If nearby outdoor spaces were crowded, the Home Depot was overrun. After about 10 minutes of not finding anyone, I took it upon myself to use nearby pliers to straighten out the bottom a bit. After a few herculean tight turns, the panel was a bit straighter, but not by much.
So we both headed out into the field and that’s when the proverbial dim light bulb went on in my big head, “Why don’t you use the car to flatten out that part of the exit sign?” So that’s what we did. My son kept his future Eagle Scout eyes glued to the underside of the panel as he placed the right rear tire of the Mercedes on the flat ground. The first try was a bit off. The second try… perfect.
I was planning on letting the thing settle in overnight and then heading back this afternoon when to my surprise a large Latino family showed up wanting to try out some minivans. The interest in minivans in North Georgia is roughly similar to the interest in the New York Mets in the same locality. I had three in my field since the end of 2013. So naturally I gave them all the time they needed.
15 minutes turned into 30 minutes, which eventually turned into an hour of combined testing on all three vehicles. They asked questions in English, I answered in Spanish, and soon the mix of Spanglish turned into a lovely late-afternoon conversation. Turns out they bought me a truck three years ago, and even though I didn’t remember them, I did remember the vehicle because as far as used trucks these days, nobody willingly buys that damn thing anymore.
My son came up to me and reminded me of the sign, and I asked them for a little help. So we used some leftover wire and hung the thing up.
No problem. All was well until I got home and shared my recent find on Facebook.
One guy: “It’s government property!”
Me – “This is abandoned government property…”
A guy named Frank: “Let me tell you about the time I used a road sign like this to hide some rust and some joints on an old MG. I almost got five years in jail for these acts!”
Another guy not named Frank: “To hell with the panel…tell me about the 300D.”
Yet Another Guy – “Abandoned or not, it’s still government property. You don’t know who left it. Basically, it could be possession of stolen goods.
Me: “Since the government sells these things like junk to the general public, I don’t care too much.”
Fellow writer: “…and just 24 hours later he found himself in Guantanamo Bay, shaking the electric water table.
“Where’s our Steven?” he asked the editors of TTAC, Yahoo and R&T, “why he owes us so many stories.”
“There never was a Steven,” the Georgia Department of Traffic and Counterterrorism man said, adjusting his mirrored Raybans and pointing his Glock at the ceiling. “Do you feel Me? “
It turns out that the old neighborhoods of Atlanta were bombarded with neutrons during the subprime crisis. So, to be honest, a lot of the concrete sewer panels, posts, and fittings are still there right now. But did I make a mistake? Will recycling a piece of metal for use get me back to Georgia’s version of Sing-Sing Prison?
I’d be willing to take the risk… if it weren’t for the fact that most of my customers still ignore the sign. My next plan is to buy a line of deer heads and put them on the fence with the words “Park here deer!”
Source : thetruthaboutcars.com