History may repeat itself but if I am involved, I have a choice about my role
“History repeats itself” is an old cliche’ that fits what I have to say in one sense but not in another. Because even though a similar event occurs, whenever it does, I have another choice that I may make based upon my experience with the first event. I do not have to do as I did before.
From my observations and what I read along metaphysical and esoteric1 lines, life does run in cycles.
1esoteric [ˌesəˈterik] adjective: intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with specialized knowledge or interest.” esoteric philosophical debates” Synonyms: abstruse, obscure, arcane, recherché, rarefied, recondite, abstract, difficult, hard, puzzling; Antonyms: simple, familiar
In my search for meaning, decades ago, I noticed a strong correlation between my life events and ten-year cycles, some of which I wrote about in blogs and other published content.
The following is a modified excerpt from my essay, The Price of Change that I will use to show an example of an event I foresaw but failed to act to avoid what I knew was to come before my last arrest on August 18, 1988:
“When eventually released from prison, I wanted to become a successful law-abiding citizen. I was fortunate enough to succeed at getting a job at one of Atlanta’s Top 100 companies where I quickly climbed the ranks. A year after I had started the job, I was doing better than ever: driving a new vehicle, wearing nice suits, living a respectable life. What I struggled with was doing what is normal to most people, such as having to be responsible: paying bills, balancing a checkbook, and having to work a lot of overtime to make what I needed to pay for the life I wanted. I stressed myself out doing it.
“I also had an issue adjusting to family life, having to deal with somewhat normal people, who had their problems I wanted to “fix” but couldn’t. I couldn’t even fix my own. After spending most of my life in prison, I had adjusted to the typical prisoner’s mentality, which is not normal. At least, not for those who have to learn to survive in a violent environment: we become desensitized, stop feeling, stop feeling empathy; become emotionally disconnected after being around years of brutality and helplessness, wanting to help someone, but knowing to stay out of it or suffer dire consequences.
“The avalanche that destroyed my plans to be a successful law-abiding citizen began with a 7-ounce beer. I am an addict and alcoholic and the beer started a chain reaction. I was back to smoking pot within a month. [I’ve now been clean and sober since April 1995.]
“What had happened was that I had gone out with a woman who wanted to seduce me. I didn’t resist. I was nervous because we were in a foreign place, the house of her friend, who had several other people sleeping there, some on the floor. One couple had to give up a guest bedroom so we could have it, so, when we went to have sex, I experienced performance anxiety or something, and drank the beer to help relieve the anxiety. That’s typical behavior for many of us who get out of prison, especially males who listen to the wrong head for advice.
“A year later, I was back to shooting cocaine, plotting, and scheming on ways and means to get more [the same thing that I had been doing ten-years before that lead to me being arrested on August 28, 1978, in Kentucky, within ten days of being exactly ten-years before I was arrested again, pulled over in Tennessee by the Kentucky State Patrol. On the previous and last arrest, I had told both partners who wanted me to carry them to Kentucky that I knew we would be arrested if we went to Kentucky. Ten years before, in 1978, another crime partner from Kentucky, also wanted to return to see his father. I told him we’d be arrested if we did go there, and we were].
“I was insane, as is evidenced by my shooting doses of cocaine so large that I often laid on the floor in convulsions. I’d pray and ask God to save me and promise not to do it again if He would, but then when I survived, I would get right on up and do it all over again.
“It didn’t take long for me to quit my job, and to stop making car payments, which resulted in the repo man taking my car away. By that time, I had begun robbing and stealing, pretending to myself to need money to pay bills, but any money I took went into the arms of me and my associates. I had an insatiable urge to stay high, which lead to my putting cars, houses, and relationships, all into bottomless syringes. [Only by the grace of God did I not contract HIV.] My desire to stay high was more important than any amount of devastation my actions caused in the lives of others. I was one selfish, self-centered, SOB, and a crazy one at that.
A good example of my insanity was in response to my fiancés’ warning. She said, “’Honey if you don’t stop what you’re doing, you’re going to end up back in prison.’”
“’I know baby doll. I just want to do some more cocaine.’” That was the extent of my madness. I knew I was in the middle of a train track, and that the coming train would kill me when it hit, but I was unable to get out of the way. After I ended up in jail for more charges than I ever imagined, I wanted to kill myself because I was disappointed that I failed to succeed and had returned to the lifestyle I vowed not to do. But somehow, I was able to think about how my actions would affect the lives of my loved ones and chose not to put them through such pain.”
THE PRICE OF CHANGE, Essays & More Straight from the Pen
To tie those events into the Rest of the Story for the conclusion of this blog, I will share more of my personal life experiences.
INSURANCE COMPANY ISSUES
Other events that occurred before my arrest in August 1988, was having State Farm Insurance Company to improperly cancel my insurance because of a speeding ticket, which costs me a lot of money when trying to find another insurance carrier.
On several occasions, I attempted to withdraw funds from an ATM machine. It didn’t give me the money but deducted it from my account which lead to me having overdrawn checks. When I went to the bank and complained, I was told the machine was right, and that no adjustments would be made to my account.
Shortly thereafter, the ATM receipt showed my account balance was over $161,000, which was wrong, of course; however, when I returned to the bank and asked for my $161,000, the machine was wrong.
As long as it was stealing from me it was right but when it tried to give, it was wrong.
Those two experiences made me resent banks and insurance companies.
A Different Man Makes Different Decisions
On July 13, 2020, I received a letter from Nationwide Insurance Company stating my insurance policy would be canceled on July 23, 2020, because I failed to show having insurance coverage for six-months before starting my policy with them.
I did not have a vehicle until January 15, 2020, and had relied on public transportation and family assistance to get from point A to point B. I explained that and expressed how ludicrous it was to require me to have insurance coverage when I did not own and was not driving a vehicle.
After several discussions with Nationwide representatives, who really tried to help me resolve the issue, I was told that the underwriters would not make an exception. I hung up the phone and then went online to return to my former insurance carrier (Root Insurance Company). Within five minutes of hanging up the phone, I was reinsured.
I canceled my Nationwide policy.
I am in the market to buy a home and needed a precertification letter from a bank. I had one from Credit Karma but the real estate agent wanted one from a different financial institution, so I contacted my bank for what I thought would be a simple process since I have good credit and pay my bills on time.
Over a week later, I was still trying to get that darn letter and was not happy about it because I was having to complete forms and provide information for fictitious amounts that I may not even need, for a house in an area I may not even find a house in, so …. I was not happy with dealing with a bank, again.
Different Response, Different Choices, Different Results
This time I weathered the storm and got all I needed. I did have to do a lot of praying for guidance and direction from my higher power, whom I choose to call God, but I did not revert my old behaviors (didn’t use the frustration as a reason to get high or to go and take something that wasn’t mine because I was angry).
Before the end of the week, I had gotten my pre-certification letter for my real estate agent and was happily insured, heading off onto another exciting adventure into the beautiful world, far behind the galaxy that makes up the Universe.
Yes, history repeated itself, in that I experienced problems with two agencies that I had had issues with over thirty years ago, but I chose to respond, rather than to react, and to accept that life happens just as it must. Now I am waiting for that special lady to ride with me into a future so bright we both need to wear shades.