May 17 2008

License to Scam?

Published by at 12:12 pm under Life in Oaktown,Uncategorized

I’m pretty sure my $20 has been turned into crack.

It’s been hot’n’heinous lately. In a vain attempt to keep from melting/swooning/dying in my very own living room (if I must make a headline, I don’t want it to be as a cat snack), I had the both the front and back doors open to catch any stray breezes*. Since this is Oakland, I had both doors locked.

One sultry afternoon, I was trying to convince myself that the heat was an anomaly, it’s much worse where people have real weather, etc. when there was a pounding on the front door.

A tall, skinny, older African-American man stood there. Gasping slightly, he told me that he was my neighbor and needed $17.50 for a locksmith. His car keys were locked in his house and he needed to go and pick up his granddaughter. I asked him if he needed some water, but he said no. He offered me his driver’s license, which has an address on my street, and told me I could hold it until he brought the money back.

Caught off guard and slightly unnerved, I gave him $20. He gave me the license and ran down my steps, calling out, “I love you! I love you!”

I looked at the license. It expires in 2012, so it’s current, and the description and photo match the look of the guy. It’s been two or three days now, and I’m still mystified. It costs more than $20 to replace your license. Maybe it’s a scam and he has a bunch of fake ones he uses, or he stole it from someone else. Who knows?

Never a dull moment when you live in Oakland.

*The house appears to be set up for central heating and central air, but the central air doesn’t work. I called the landlord, who said vaguely that she had never used the central air, but if you open the front and back doors, you get “an awesome crossbreeze”. Thanks.

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