Monday, May 16, 2005

Notes on Thursday:

We arrived into town about 4:15, stopped at Home Depot to pick up a couple of hard hats, entered the property and unloaded everything into our unit, and parked the car outside the gated area.

At five, a security guard came to tell us that we had to be out of our unit. Lyman said we would not be leaving. The guard said he had to report that to his boss.

Sometime later another security guard came by to tell us to get out. Lyman said he was not leaving.

Later, the chief of security for the property management company came by and told us to go. Lyman said no. He said he would have to call the police. Lyman said fine.

Then a young officer came by to tell us that we had to leave. Lyman asked what ordinance or statute we would be violating if we remained. The kid said he would need to call his corporal. He stepped outside and spoke to his corporal, then returned and said the corporal was on his way to explain the situation.

In the meantime we discussed Lucy and the view, both of which were gorgeous that evening. Lucy rather liked the young man, and so she should have. He was very courteous and regretful at the position he was in.

The corporal arrived with a few other officers in tow, and told us we had to leave, or he would have to arrest us. Lyman explained to them the overall situation, and his view of it, including the point that a certificate of occupancy was under discussion by the board as late as Tuesday.

The young man said regardless, he would have to arrest us if we didn't vacate the site. Lyman asked what crime we could be arrested for. The young corporal told us that we were "interfering in a governmental action," under state statute. Lyman later said he should have asked them to cite the statute. (That boy is sure enough out of practice.)

Lyman asked when bond could be set. The magistrate would set bond the next day, he was told.

Lyman asked the whole troop to step outside so we could discuss it for a couple of minutes. He decided that he really didn't want to spend the night in jail. If he could have posted bond that evening, he would have gone through with the arrest.

That's when I should have risen to the occasion and said, "Take me." They all felt bad, and saw through the foolishness of the situation. They would not have cared one bit for arresting a woman for doing nothing more than occupying her own home.

So then it was a matter of getting all our things back to the truck, which was parked outside the now locked gate. There is a pass-through for pedestrians, but no access for cars.

No one on the site had a key to the gate. Lyman suggested they call the contractor and have someone bring a key. They did, and found out the contractor was an hour and a half away in Mobile, and would not return to unlock the gate.

They pondered a minute, and Lyman said, "Y'all are all fit guys (by now there are three security people and four cops). If each of you will grab a piece of stuff, we can get it all out of here in one trip."

They didn't like that much, and suggested we return for some things in the morning. We agreed to that. The first young cop picked up Lucy's travel cage; I put Lucy in the Pet Pocket, shouldered my purse, and grabbed my custom-made briefcase from the Winnfield prison; and Lyman rolled the suitcase and carried the laptop.

There were two squad cars by the gate.

They escorted us to the car. We loaded what we had and got in and started to drive away. The young officer said, "Sir, you backed over something." And brought us the laptop case. Lyman had left it beside the back wheel while we were readying to go.

(It appears to be repairable -- booted right up, but the screen is a mess.)

That was Phase I.

UPDATE: Some explanation.

The way things are structured at the site now, I could arrive at the condo at eight in the morning, take a shower, wash and iron some clothes, cook some breakfast, watch a little TV, sit on the balcony, take a long nap, cook an early dinner, and leave the property at five without any complaint from anyone, so long as I wore a hard hat while walking through public spaces.

Seems when the workers go home, the place is suddenly dangerous, and it is criminal to be there.

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