I was out front of the rehearsal studio crushing cans for the recycling and wondering why musicians can’t seem to finish their beer when I saw an 18 wheeler quickly slow down in the street
He put it in reverse and started to back into my lot
As some of you know, I am very protective of the property and have taken some very inventive steps in order to avoid confrontation with all manner of interlopers , from homeless zombies to douchebag construction companies loading their equipment and cracking our parking lot
This guy totally ignored the NO TRESPASSING sign posted at the front of the property and was attempting to turn his loaded 18 wheeler around in a parking lot that was never built for such pressures
I yelled at him to stop and told him that he was not allowed to turn around in our lot
He replied “I’m already halfway in” (for the record he was 1/4 the way in)
I told him that he would damage my parking lot whereupon he replied “Fuck you! You can’t stop me”
Whereupon I proceeded to run into his blind spot and prepared to jump out of the way if it turned out that he wasn’t bluffing
He got out of the cab and started towards me in an aggressive stance and yelling that he was going to run me over
I told him that all of this could be avoided if he just put his truck in gear and drove down the street to turn around
He got in his truck and put it in reverse and I stepped back in his blind spot
After he got out again, I told him that this was his last chance to end this without incident and I was prepared to call the cops
He started in on me with vague threats so I took his picture and his plate number then called the cops
I also pointed out the security cameras that were recording the incident
Meanwhile, his rig was completely blocking the street (including the fire station down the street)
Once the cops arrived, I let him speak first and maintained my distance
When they heard my side, I explained that all I wanted to do was for him to leave and that I wasn’t interested in pressing any charges
The end result was that he was ordered by the police to go down to the end of the block to turn around and he didn’t get charged with trespassing or blocking a fire route or making violent threats
So, the lesson of the story is that keeping a cooler head helps you to succeed when there’s a confrontation right?
The real lesson is what I saw in that person
And that was myself
This person had to know that the easiest way to solve the problem would be to get back in the truck and drive a few hundred yards more to turn around
It stopped being quickest way to solve the problem, and became a power issue
He tried to use his truck to intimidate me into giving up and once that didn’t succeed, he tried to use personal intimidation tactics
I even noticed that he became a lot more ghetto once he realized I wouldn’t be intimidated or drawn into a confrontation
Was it because I have psychic powers or some telepathic lobe?
Could I read this man’s thoughts?
No, it was because I had recognized a lot of his behavior in my own behavior
There was no difference between his false bravado and my “scary, pierced up, crazy dude” angle (which used to include long hair) and is a basic assessment of someone’s weaknesses at the point of confrontation
If you’re afraid of a certain type of person, you are more likely to let him back his 18 wheeler into your parking lot
And a lot of white dudes are intimidated by black dudes, so that’s the angle he took
The REAL moral of the story?
It’s OK to use those types of tactics when you are suddenly plunged into a situation where you have to bluff your way out
But it’s no way to treat your friends, co-workers or anyone else that you perceive as a hindrance to you getting your way
It is a bitter pill for someone to swallow that has felt opposition their whole lives
In my case, it is the opposition to my ideas and artistic endeavors
In his case, I’m guessing some of it is the fact that he is a black man in America and can’t even get a break when he wants to turn his rig around and shave off a few minutes in the hot ass Texas sun
How many times in my life could I have just gone down the block a few hundred yards and turned around?
Instead, I planted my feet and lowered my shoulder
How much damage did I do to my life by resorting to such tactics?
Luckily, I realize that it is almost instantly repairable because my present day life has become very positive indeed
And it wasn’t so long ago that I was like him