Expect the Unexpected – Real Life Situations – What Would You Do?
In this series of blogs, I’m looking at real life events where a person has found themselves in an unexpected and untenable situation. You may think that this kind of stuff could never happen to you, but think again.
When the phone rang this morning at 0530 hours, I had no idea what my day was going to be like. And while my day sucked, it was a whole lot better than the day the lady on the other end of the phone was having. It was a call from an acquaintance who found herself in a pickle. It made me wonder what I would do in that situation. Let me tell you her story…
I am a single, middle-aged female, hit hard by the recession in the remote desert area of Southern California. To keep from losing my home, I’ve started renting out one of the bedrooms to a gentleman in his late 60s. At the beginning of this month, he failed to pay his rent. Without that income, I can barely pay the mortgage, with nothing left over for food or gas. After a week, I am becoming rather desperate, taking solace in a glass (or more) of wine. When I approach him again, the renter becomes belligerent, telling me that he will not pay rent, and there’s nothing that I can do about it. A verbal fight ensues, and I call the police. The fight makes its way out onto my driveway as we wait for the police. I admit, I am rather vocal, and it is late, about 11 pm on a Saturday night. The police arrive, look over the situation, and arrest me for public intoxication. I am thrown into the police car, and the officer refuses to allow me to get properly dressed (I’m in a ratty T-shirt and boxer shorts, my normal sleep attire), nor am I allowed to get my wallet or cell phone.
At 0500 hours on Sunday morning, I am told that I am free to go, but I cannot leave unless 1) someone picks me up; or 2) they will drop me off at a “neutral location,” whatever the hell that is. I am at a jail facility 20 miles from home. There’s a pay phone in the holding cell where I am to wait. Did you know you can’t call Information collect? It is early June, and I know that most of my friends are on vacation; unfortunately, the only phone number I know off the top of my head is a friend in Northern California – damn those cell phones, no one knows anyone’s phone numbers anymore. I call my friend collect, but what is she going to do 400 miles away?
Call a cab! There’s the answer. And she does. Only problem is that there are only two cab companies that are willing to pick up people from the jail (gosh, I can’t imagine why), and they want cash up front. One would normally take a credit card, but their system has been down for three days. “Would you like to send a Money-gram?” Uh, no.
Now I’m without anyone who can pick me up, no cash on hand to pay for a cab. They need me to leave, and will drop me off someplace, but not to my home. I’m in my pajamas with no ID, no money, no credit cards, no cell phone. I suppose I could try to hitchhike home, but in the desert heat, wearing my night clothes, I’m not sure what kind of ride I might attract. What should I do? What would you do?