The Time I Stole A Car

In lieu of still being hurt and having nothing to say about basketball, here’s the story of how I finally got my own car:

First, a little background.  When I originally signed my contract I was under the impression that I would have my own car and my own apartment.  Apparently when a contract says “will make available an apartment and a car” it does not mean you will get your own apartment and your own car.  To the upper management, making available meant giving me an apartment and car to share, which is not the end of the world, but I have previously written plenty on why my specific roommate could potentially make this a living hell, which of course he did.

Basically, the way my roommate goes about making things inconvenient is by lacking any and all ability to share.  I am not really fond of paying 6 dollars a gallon for gas, so I was not using the car very much, and my roommate took advantage of this by leaving with the car whenever he wanted.  He would never try to see if there was somewhere I needed to be (maybe a knee rehab appointment?), and it got to the point where he was using the car 90% of the time, and would fight me tooth and nail when I decided I needed to take it.

Eventually I got fed up with never having access to the car. Also, it became readily apparent that we could not co-exist in the vehicle at the same time.

I tried on multiple occasions to arrange a schedule.  Something like he gets the car Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and I get it the other days.  This was met each time with a simple “No.” No counter plan, no discussion, just “No. He would counter with “If we start sharing then they win, and we will never get our own cars.”

I would then tell him that my agent and I were still working on getting my own vehicle, it is just a slow process, so we should probably work something out in the meantime. “No.”  The problem with me being the pro-active one trying to get another car was that my roommate acquired this misguided notion that the car we were sharing was his and his alone.  He began to say things like “I mean, I’ll take you where ever you want, but it’s my car.”

I took my cue from the Allies in WWII, and decided that appeasement had gone far enough.  The situation was getting out of hand.  I needed to show him what it was like to be without transportation when you really want it.

So, two nights ago, after a day spent sitting around without any possibility of leaving the city because I was car-less, I seized the keys when he put them down on the table at night. I told him I was leaving.  No joke, he threw a legit hissy fit.  “When are you coming back, I need to go somewhere, blah blah wah wah .” I could not believe what I was seeing.  I pointed out that he takes the car ALL THE TIME and I never use it. He was unswayed, and as I walked out the door he boldly proclaimed “I’m the last person you want to mess with!” His voice was dripping with disdain.

All this set the stage for the following night.  I decided I needed to send a message by taking the car two consecutive nights, which seemed perfectly reasonable to me considering he had it for the previous two consecutive days.

My plan was hatched when we were in the locker room.  I made careful note of where he put the keys before practice.  Once everyone had left to go on the court, I went and got the keys from his bag, replacing them with my spare house key.

The team had a yoga instructor come in lieu of practice, and the entire time I was stretching and breathing I could not take my mind off the great escape I was going to make once it was over.

Finally we were released, but I really wanted to do some extra shooting, so I got some shots up with a teammate and then excitedly headed to change.  I did not see my roommate in the locker room so I assumed the coast was clear, and happily walked toward the car.  But, lo and behold, standing at the entrance to the gym was my roommate and my coach.  And, to make things worse, they were discussing the trouble that my roommate and I were having in terms of living together and sharing the car.  My coach saw me approaching and motioned me to come join the conversation.

At this point, things started to get heated.  My poor coach is the nicest guy, and he was only trying to help, saying things like “It is important that you are friends and we need to work this out, etc…”  I explained how I was doubtful that management would spring for another car, so we had to figure out a way to share.  My roommate would counter with his usual stubborn ignorance.  “I am not sharing a car, my credit card is on file so I am liable for anything that happens while you drive.”

That is simply not the case, and multiple people have told him this.  I made a special trip to the rental place to scan my license so that I would be able to drive the car.  I was constantly telling him “Worst comes to worst, I dent the car and for some unknown reason they charge your card.  I am going to pay you! You know who I am! What am I going to do, just run off somehow and stick you with a bill????”  He either did not see or did not understand the logic, culminating in him saying, while getting right to my face, “you are never touching that car!”

Now, imagine the joy I felt inside knowing that the keys were in my pocket, and he had no clue.  It was pretty great. (Quick Aside: I just had to take a break to get my clothes out of the washer and HANG THEM ON THE CLOTHESLINE. I swear its like Little House on the Prairie out here.  If they told me we were taking a covered wagon to our next game I would not even blink.)

So, he storms back in to get his stuff, and I make a bee line for the car, which is right across the street. My coach is absolutely flummoxed, because I am sure he assumed my roommate had the keys. So I am starting it up and pulling out just as my roommate is coming back out of the gym.  I felt like James Bond after he had swindled a Russian crime boss in a poker game or something (I’ve only seen like 1.5 James Bond movies, but that seems like something he would do.)  I wish I could say my roommate ran after me cursing, but sadly he didn’t.  He just looked on, probably too confused to fully process his anger, and I drove off the victor.

One of the funny parts about all this is that I had no absolutely nowhere I needed to be or wanted to go.  My sole aim was to teach my roommate a lesson, so I ended up just driving up by the gas station and hanging out while I pondered my next move.  My fear was that I was the one who looked like a power crazed lunatic, stealing the car and leaving my roommate to walk home ( a whole 200 yards, big whoop.)

If someone did not know the whole story, they could paint me as a madman, which I am sure is exactly what was happening.  I bet my coach was just like “what kind of f’in weirdos am I dealing with here, I am a god damn financial consultant at a high tech company, I don’t need this in my life.  I try to have a simple conversation and next thing I know there is a face to face confrontation, yelling and a car jacking.”

Considering the coach was the only level headed person that was part of this conflict, he of course called me and asked that I come back.  I was very reluctant.  I kind of wanted to soak in my victory a while longer.  Eventually, seeing as I had nothing to do and knowing that my good name was being slandered, I agreed to come back.  But, I made no promises to give up the car keys.

When I got back the group had grown to the head coach, the assistant coach, Eddy the manager and our teammate George, who was to stay overnight at our apartment because we had early practice and he lives in Tel-Aviv.  I parked, got out, and was informed that one of the owners was on the way to try and resolve things.  Eventually both owners showed up, and more fighting commenced.

I calmly stated my case and then commenced to play the role I have honed so well over the years (just ask my mom, brother or coach white.)  I play the understated victim. The wise-cracking, I am so sure of my innocence I am going to be over the top sarcastic to make my opponent as mad as possible and push every one of his buttons routine.  It worked like a charm.  In my mind, I came across as the guy who just wanted his fair share of car usage while my roommate ranted and raved about his lawyer and stuff.

It is kind of hard to describe with my feeble writing skills, but I am sure there are enough of you out there who have been annoyed by me to realize how I was able to get my roommate pretty worked up.  He got in my face and started saying what he would do if I ever went through his stuff again.  I pulled the “is that a threat? I think he is threatening me!” looking around to see if anyone was witnessing him badgering me. Then he would stomp off, utterly frustrated.

He would then start in about how he had lost trust in me.  I mustered up all my sarcasticness with a “No , you don’t trust me?  OH MY GOD! No!” He eventually could not take it anymore, snatched my backpack from in front of me, and started desperately going through the pockets. Immediately everyone there jumped in to stop him.  I was very proud of myself for needling him to the point that he felt his only option was to retake the keys in a fit of rage (which were in my pocket anyway) while the entire coaching staff and management looked on.

I once again presented my idea that we arrange a schedule to share the car, but at this point I guess management came to a conclusion that our situation was beyond repair.  They personally guaranteed that they would get me a car the following morning, and for the first time in the history of guarantees, they followed through. (They also said they would get us our own apartments in the next 2 days, but I am very skeptical that is going to happen.  But, my roommate’s Dad is out visiting and they have been looking at apartments, and my roommate insists that he is moving out with or without money from management, so I am pretty pumped about that possibility.  As always though, I’ll believe it when I see it.)  So, I am now the proud renter of a scratched, dented Suzuki Liana with 90,000 miles on it.  Despite all that, I could not be more grateful, because I finally have a car of my own.

The crazy thing is it took all this drama to kick start the process of getting a car.  If I had just continued trying to deal in a manner that seemed normal and decent I would still be without a set of wheels.  I guess this is a classic case of desperate times call for desperate measures. I just can’t believe this is all happening in a good area on a team owned by an American, god knows what goes on with some of these other teams.  They are probably playing for a falafel and the bus fare home.

Speaking of basketball, I am supposed to be back on the court in 2 weeks.  Thank god it’s ok to do set shooting, or I might go insane.  This MCL thing just lingers and lingers, and it is not helped by me consistently making it sore every time it feels well enough to do some activity.  Patience is a virtue I really need to learn.  I seriously cannot be more excited to start playing and put all the madness of these early months behind me.


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