Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
Tales of an Insomniac: The First Night in San Diego
Some times people get eased into their new lives, with little speed bumps here and there. Life is wonderfully easy for them, as they are generally stress free, they don’t have much to worry about, and they get things done at a pretty decent rate.
This kind of philosophy doesn’t work for me.
On June 2nd, I was watching the World Jiu JItsu Championships in Long Beach and had to work that same night at 9:45. I decided to leave around six in the afternoon, as it only takes a good hour or two of speeding to make it from Long Beach to San Diego. The fast and constant driving made my car stressed, however, and it needed gas by the time I got to Oceanside. I thought “This is cool, I got enough money to pay for it”. I slide in my credit card into the machine and it was denied.
I was screwed. I don’t get paid my cash until next week, and my credit card is probably maxed out. This left me to do something I didn’t want to do at all throughout the duration of my new life: I had to call my parents for help. My generous parents gladly accepted to help, and they wired me some money that wouldn’t go into my account until 24 hours later, new Wells Fargo rules. So since I couldn’t use the gas money they sent me, I had to scrounge what little cash I had in my car to pay or a few gallons of expensive California gas, and I managed to make it home to change and head to work in good timing.
Working in San Diego is much different from Vegas. You have to find parking on the street or in the parking structures, as there is no assigned parking for employees in downtown. This forces people to desperately park on running meters, illegal parking in red zones, or ignore street signs and properly park in yellow zones, like what I did. Since my dumbass self decided to park on the street, I ran the huge risk of getting my car towed because of the piece of shit marathon that was happening that morning in San Diego.
Anyways, the club I work at is one of the more popular clubs among locals for electronic and house music in San Diego. The club essentially a tinier version of Marquee Nightclub. Doing security at the club isn’t anything spectacular, and it is like working back home in Vegas, only with shorter hours because all bars in California close at two in the morning. The first night of work was pretty eventful, we had a lot of crowd control to do, a few chicks throwing up, a fight on the streets, and some dude who was selling drugs. The security I was working with were all very proficient and knew what they were doing, so I’m happy to work with a good group of bouncers.
After the night was over, all the guys kind of hung out for a bit, and I decided to head down to the Hard Rock since I got a call from their manager. I met with him and he told me he still wanted me to work for them, so I was happy for that. Potential two jobs maybe?
After the Hard Rock, it was time for me to go home, or so I thought. I remember walking up the street of downtown San Diego and seeing a forest of yellow lights from this towing company called C and D Towing, and they were towing literally five cars at a time from the street.
Five damn cars. These guys tow cars away by the bulk, they definitely don't mess around here.
I accepted the fact that my car was probably towed and I quickly walked to where my car was. Noticing it was gone, I called the San Diego Police Department dispatch to find out where the car was, and the dispatcher (who had an extremely sexy voice) was very comforting in telling me how to get to where my car is. I called the towing company and realized I am dealing with an entirely different monster in these guys, as the lady essentially wanted me to kill myself by “Walking through the shady area of town”.
I decided to walk for about three miles, which took me about an hour, through the roughest area of San Diego. The things I saw during my walk is as follows: • A skinny gay homeless guy running up to an escalade and soliciting themselves to the car, and then running after me trying to ask me a question. I had to tell him to piss off or else I’d beat their ass, and they stopped on their track. • An army of homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks with their tents pitched and shopping cars near by, littered all over National avenue. I’ve seen homeless people sleep and pitch tents before, but I’ve never seen an entire street filled with them. It was like the city decided they could just sleep all over this area and nowhere else. • Two young gangster kids walking out of what looked like an abandoned house. They were talking on the phone and started following me a bit, asking the guy on their phone “Where you at? Yeah I’m ready for the stuff”. Next thing a know a guy came, picked them up, and they drove off pretty quick. I should have gone back to that house, maybe I could have found a nice brick there. • Right under the highway of National Avenue is a gorgeous park detailing the history of Mexican and Indian culture. It was probably one of the most beautiful parks I’ve seen, and the fact it was located in such a shitty area of the city was disheartening but made me smile at the fact that there is some beauty in the worst of areas. • I almost got jumped by three dogs in a Mexican auto shop. • There was some kind of drug trade going on in the top floor of this one apartment complex. • After seeing a few tow trucks driving by, I realized I was almost there, and quickly picked up my pace through the rest of the street which was littered with nothing but Mexican music which was still being played in two in the morning. I keep forgetting that Mexicans never sleep.
Upon my arrival of the towing I quickly realized just how messed up this city really is, as there was probably a line of thirty people standing outside the office. The city of San Diego literally just told this towing company to “Tow away each and every car without warning”. I overheard someone in the line said they towed away something around 90 to 100 cars, and it costs a little over $300 to bail out your car. Doing the math in my head, I realized this company is making about $27,000 to $30,000 on this night a lone. What an easy living.
“NO!!! GIVE ME MY CAR BACK!!!! I NEED MY CAR YOU BITCH!!!” was what took me to break my focus from my algebra lesson in my head. Some young black girl started flipping out in the office for about five minutes because the tow company didn’t have her car yet.
“Ma’am, if you don’t stop yelling, we’ll send the cops on you”.
“SEND THE COPS THEN!!! I DON'T CARE!!!”
This is the first five minutes of me being at this towing station. This is going to be a long night.
Out of nowhere, three or four cop cars quickly drove onto the parking lot of the towing area as if someone got shot around the corner. Everyone watched the cops walk out and head to one of the employees of the towing company, and while they were talking, they turned their lights on over to my general direction. I didn’t know why they were shining their light on me, but a little bit after that, the cops walked right towards me and said “Sir, take our hands out of your pocket and don’t resist”.
I was speechless, I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, all I did was walk from downtown into the tow station! What did I do to get arrested?
A little bit after, the employee shouted, “No not him! The one next to him!”
The cops were like “Oh, my bad”, left me a lone, and quickly put handcuffs on the right guy.
What. The. Hell did I just get myself into?
I find out a little after that the guy threatened the employees and threw a brick over the gate, giving the police good enough reason to arrest him. Fair I guess, I wouldn’t want some guy doing that shit in my work.
I wait for another few hours, and a group of four guys speaking in the Iraqi dialect rolled up. They were joking around right away, typical Iraqi style, so I started talking to them. They owned a shawarma restaurant right next to my work, and told me about the good locations for all the Iraqi people in San Diego. We talked about work and life, typical Iraqi style with jokes and insults. It made the wait fly by quicker, it didn’t take long for my turn to come up into the teller line. I gave them my information and my registration, and the lady was thankfully a little nice about everything, up until I was supposed to pay for the car.
I have no money. I am broke in San Diego, I am broke for the next few weeks. I couldn’t even afford $30 for gas, I remembered, and now I can’t afford to pay $300 to bail out my car.
I was screwed. It is 4 in the morning and I had no one to call to help me out in San Diego. If this was Vegas, I would go straight to a casino, force a hooker to give me some money, and then pay my way out of this, but I’m not in Vegas any more, and I’m trying to live a new life.
I have no money, and I’m broke in San Diego, one of the most expensive cities in the USA.
I had to call my parents one more time, and tell them my situation, and they quickly scrambled their way into getting everything together. Unfortunately I couldn’t get their money until eight at night, and my apartment in San Diego was nearly fifteen miles away from the towing station. It would take me the whole day to walk to back home. The only solution was to find an open western union, where no one knew where it was.
I had to wait. It was four in the morning, and the union in Vegas doesn’t open until nine. My car got towed around 12:00, which means I will be homeless for nearly five hours and counting. I finally understood the life of a homeless bum, and it sucked. I couldn’t do anything, and I spent my time walking around bridges and random corners of the area. I found a nice little gulch where all the homeless of the area hang out, and they were all sleeping in their sleeping bags. I thought about curling up with them for a second, but quickly scratched that thought out of my head.
I started walking around a little more and contemplated suicide. I thought that I had everything set for my life already, I thought I had enough money saved and everything was going to be a steady uphill climb for the rest of my life, but after this simple thing of getting my car towed, everything just started coming down on me. What is the purpose of me being independent when I don’t even have money to pay for gas? What am I doing by myself when I make intentional decisions to get my car towed? I am a worthless piece of shit human being, I am a loser, I am nothing but part of the worst scum of the Earth.
I looked at the homeless people and realized I am one of them now. They made bad decisions, couldn’t live a healthy life, and are now forced to sleep under a bridge. I always figured to kill myself before something like that happens to me, and here I am.
I started to cry for about fifteen minutes. I never cried that hard in my life.
My phone started ringing and my dad was on the other line. He heard my sobbing and told me to man up quickly, forced me to act better. I apologized to him for doing this for me and he said this is his duty in life, that he needed to help me out because I am his son. I told him it’s not fair for him to do this and I shouldn’t be in this position at all, and he told me this is something I have to go through. He told me people always go through rough times and that I am no acception. I told him that I shouldn’t do this thing in San Diego, that I should just get a job in Vegas again and not doing anything, and he told me to just shut up.
Some times I think God will pose as people you’re most comforted to and convince you He will always be on your side.
I quickly snapped out of my emotional state and started walking on the normal street. After about an hour or two hours of walking, I saw a western union.
God does exist.
I called my parents, told them about the union, and they quickly sent out the money I needed to bail out my car. I ran back to the tow station, and met with the absolute monstrous employees of the towing station who all had absolutely no care for human life, proceeded to pay for my car, and drove off quickly without a look back at the hell I was just in.
I drove up town to San Diego State University where there was a nearby Lebanese flat bread restaurant whose owner I was in comfortable terms with. I walked into the restaurant and was met with a Lebanese man who was busy organizing the restaurant. I helped him organize the chairs and restaurants, and told him my story of the night. He was pretty astonished, and about ten or fifteen minutes later, he made my order of cheese and zaatar on the flat bread with some water. I paid for the food and walked out, but he made me come back and gave me my money back, saying “I want you to have a better day than what you already have”.
Some times have an easy life if they do everything right and don’t break any rules. Some times people can do a simple infraction and will suffer an extreme reprecaution for their mistakes. After this night, I realized that there are two extremes in this world. God has given me an opportunity to live this life I have chosen, and He purposefully made it so I realize it is not going to be an easy life. I am blessed for having a great family around me, and after my encounters with both the law enforcement and gracious Lebanese people of San Diego, I noticed that this is where my personal character will be catered.
The first night of the rest of my life has ended, and I should be happy I get to sleep in a bed.