Ozzie Ausband


self flagellation

[Previously posted 4-12-2011]

Will someone tell me when this misery is going to end? I will go to sleep & wake when it’s over, because I can’t see much reason for the things that are happening to me. Sometimes, I don’t know what I’m living for. The day started fine. The sun was out & birds  dripped from limb to limb,  pouring from the trees. They sang & answered each other. I loaded the truck with the pumps & assorted tools. Grabbing a coffee, I drove through the early light listening to Peter Yorn & scouted some pools. We would be riding on Sunday & I wanted a few fresh pools readied for the crew. At one potentially good left-hand kidney, I was struck with a problem. The house sat on the top of a hill with properties surrounding it on the hillsides below. If I drained the pool– which was huge– all the water would probably flood some yard below. That would not be a very neighborly thing to do. It would make for a bad day. The property was huge & the pool sat way back in the yard. It was a long way to the street.  I knew that I needed longer outlet hoses for the pool so I could get the water all the way out front to the driveway & gutters. I would check with Salba later & see if he had any extra.

I left & drove around a bit more, checking a few old favorites & new foreclosures. Salba had told me of a pool nearby that needed to be checked. I cruised up a wide tree-lined street & banked the wheel of the truck. I soon found myself coming to a stop. I backed into the driveway of a faded foreclosure. The house was pale & lifeless. The trees sagged in the morning sun. It was a picture of emptiness. Whatever miracles of home & family that once existed here, were certainly long gone. I saw the locked gate & the pool beyond. It had a wooden frame over the entire thing. This frame was covered with plastic sheeting & a metal grid was stapled over it. I grabbed my three foot bolt cutters & was quickly inside the property. I  pulled back a bit of the plastic by the deep end & found that the transitions looked pretty good. There was very little water in the deep end. The plastic had done its job. I knew that I had to get inside for a better look. I took my bolt cutters & cut away a small area around the shallow end & shimmied down inside. It was like a sauna & mosquitoes quickly bit into me. I took  a few photographs & realized that the shallow transitions were kinked & the surface was pitted. It wasn’t worth the work.

Pulling myself up out of the pool through the hole, I saw shiny boots & knew the game was up. Police. The two male officers questioned  & immediately hand-cuffed me. They were pretty mellow & seemed like they were going to let me go.  They looked through the images on my camera & saw that they were all pool images. They looked through my truck & saw that there was nothing out of line. I have no record. Then, a female ‘Watch Commander’ arrived. I overheard them  explaining things & when she saw my bolt cutters, she started swearing. “This is bullshit!“  was one of the nicer things that flowed from her profane mouth. It turns out that this was her ‘beat’. These guys were her backup. She called the shots…. and she did. She quickly had me placed into a cruiser after informing me of my lowly place in her grand scheme of things. “You need to act your age!” She spat this at me as if the words were leaving a bitter taste in her mouth. As they hustled me into a cruiser, I saw her frothing her fury & thumbing through my possessions.

In about an hour, they had read me my Miranda rights & had the truck impounded. I winced inside as I watched the flatbed towing vehicle roll away with my truck on top. The male officers transported me to the correctional facility. I was searched, finger-printed, had photographs taken & was led to a stinking concrete cell & locked inside. My wrists were sore from the hand cuffs. I looked around in the cell. There were five of us & the faces that turned toward me were unfriendly. One sucked-up scrawny guy rocked in the corner mumbling to himself. He looked like a rumpled bag on a dirty sidewalk. It was a long day. I spent five or six hours in that reeking concrete cell. They finally let me out. They called us up one at a time, had me sign some forms, gave me a court date & my wallet then turned me out into the street. I had left my cell phone at home. I walked to a payphone & called Salba. His was the only number I remembered. He asked my room-mate Michael to come pick me up. It was almost dark.

I phoned about my truck. It’s going to cost me $349.00 to get it out on Monday. They kept the bolt cutters (obviously) & my camera or I would show you a few pictures of the pool. It was an expensive day. When you do this thing we do, it can be dangerous. People don’t react well to someone found lurking in their yard. Dogs & violence are an ever-present danger. Law enforcement is as well. People have a misconception. They think that we just show up, sweep the pools out & grind away the afternoon.  People think that there  is no muck, filth,  danger or hard work. Well, I am here to show you– as I often have– that this is not the case. I took one for the team yesterday…  Skate- Ozzie

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Addendum: A year or two later, the RN Board saw that I paid for my actions. They wanted to hold a hearing to talk about the case. I didn’t think that I had anything else to say on the matter… I simply didn’t show up. They revoked my RN license and I’ve never felt one pang of regret over it. I suppose people will read this and think I’m foolish. After all, I went to college and worked very hard to obtain my license. I understand. This is not lost on me. I’m the one that went through it all. I also am the one that sat up all night with dying AIDS patients and zipped them into bags wondering where God really was. In those moments – and they were many – I felt my occupation eating at my soul. I’m happy to never go into a hospital again. If I have to shovel holes for the rest of my life… I’m good with it. Regret is one of the most expensive things in the world. I won’t go there. Skate - Ozzie