*This was originally published to my old blogger account on 4/19/2011
It has recently come to my attention that my neighbors think I am a drug dealer. It’s both humorous and obvious looking back at the past evidence that has no doubt led them to this conclusion.
1) I keep to myself.
In a “typical” situation I don’t think this would be a big deal. However in my case everyone where I live is overly friendly. Everyone has kids but me and everyone seems to know whats going on in everyone else’s lives. Sure I’ll say hi if I pass someone but I don’t ever stop to try and talk to anyone. After a few months they all pretty much got the hint that although I live there, I don’t really wish to be a part of their community.
2) My car is too nice for where I live.
I definitely don’t live in a bad part of town. In fact it’s a very nice part of town, but the community itself…well let’s just say it’s far from being gated. When you pull into my parking lot you can instantly tell one car does not fit – mine. Typically there is a positive correlation between how nice someone’s home is with how nice their car is. I don’t fit this mold because I have different priorities. I don’t spend a lot of time in my home so it’s quite modest and that suits me just fine. However, I spend a lot of time in my car and like something that is comfortable and reliable. Unfortunately I’ve been told the combination of being a young male, driving a luxury car, living in a modest home screams drug dealer.
3) People coming and going at all hours.
I tend to have people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. If you’re familiar with BASE jumpers then you already know we rarely pass up a good opportunity to jump. If the conditions are right then chances are my crew is organizing something. Since my place is centrally located and close to one of our favorite objects it tends to be the meeting point. Combine this with the fact that most of us work during the day, the best wind tends to be at night, and we are less likely to be seen at night, and you have the perfect recipe for my friends to come and go when “normal” people have already called it a night.
4) “Shady Looking Characters”
I don’t mean any offense, but let’s be honest here, jumpers tend to look a little shady. This is especially true when getting ready for a jump. In keeping with old school ethics we tend to wear dark, loose fitting, nonbranded clothing. Throw on a pair of heavy duty boots and a beanie and suddenly we completely look like we’re up to no good. Frankly I find it downright amusing for people to see me wearing cargo shorts then glance down to see my tightly laced full ankle boots.
5) Strange looking bags.
Ah the stash bags. One thing I KNOW has got to be bugging the hell out of me neighbors is the stash bags. I mean, if you saw 5 to 8 “Shady Looking Characters” coming and going in the middle of the night all wearing identical giant black shapeless bags on their back wouldn’t you be a little suspicious? One neighbor has chatted with me a few times while wearing my stash bag. His darting eyes during the brief conversation make it painfully obvious he is just dying for me to volunteer to him what’s inside. I don’t however, if he wants to know he is going to have to work up the courage to ask. At that point I will probably just ho hum and avoid answering. He doesn’t need to know what’s inside…and if I told him the truth he would probably think I was lying anyway.
6) I leave town a lot for short trips and pack “too much.”
Another thing I know is driving my nosy neighbors crazy is how often I leave town and how much I pack. BASE trips come up fairly often, typically take a couple to a few days, and we usually plan on hitting a few different objects both slider up and slider off. Trips like this means a lot of gear: 2 Rigs, Gear Bag, and Clothes Bag. Every time my neighbors see bags or a suitcase they have to be friendly and ask “Wow, look like you are gonna be gone a while! Where ya goin?” I’m typically as vague as possible, tell them I am visiting some friends and will be back in a couple days. Now, even though they don’t say it, the look on their face clearly says they don’t understand why I have at least 4 bags if I am only going to be gone a couple days. It’s especially amusing when someone see’s me heading to the drop zone in the morning, and coming back that same evening, because I typically have around 4 bags then too. Sometimes I just feel like saying “Hey…if had enough drugs to fill these bags I would NOT be living here.”
7) Strapping and stowing of firearms in the parking lot.
OK, I know this one sounds pretty obvious, but a few of my jump buddies like to carry. Because of this we are frequently moving firearms around in the parking lot. Either from one car to another, or from the glove box to the hip, vice versa, etc. I suppose this one is entirely avoidable…but who doesn’t want CCW BASE?
Based on all this “unusual” behavior I really can’t complain too much of what my neighbors think of me. I am after all up to no good, they just have no idea what I am really doing. The result of being labeled as a drug dealer means my neighbors no longer try to talk to me as often, which suits me just fine. Classic misdirection. However, it’s going to be quite amusing one day when the cops knock on my door and to their disappointment they are not going to find any drugs, but they will find a LOT of nylon.