Oh, pardon me, sir, ma’am, but did I invade your privacy?
Excuuuuse me for peeking into your mail, most of which even you haven’t read, since much of the correspondence, which goes back to the year 2004, is still in sealed envelopes. And lots of the items are the same. Those things happen when people keep dunning you.
Let me explain:
Saturday morning, as my son, Diego, and my wife, Bonnie, went for their daily constitutional, behind Camp Luna, past the rifle range, toward a place we call Los Abeytas, they came across something you must have dropped. If it had been a wallet or a driver’s license or anything else of value that could be identified, we would have made a special trip to return it.
What you left was pounds and piles of trash strewn about. We didn’t find much of real value. We now know your name, address and phone number, and in sifting through some of the stuff, we’ve been able to create a mini-profile of the family.
The stash of trash we came across by the side of the road includes possibly a dozen envelopes from Presbyterian Health Plan. Most weren’t even opened, so we took the liberty of peeking into them.
And here’s where another excuuuuse me is in order. We wanted to discover to whom these bills were addressed, so we opened them up.
You know how annoying it can be when creditors — people to whom you owe money — keep sending bills to deadbeats. Somehow these health organizations — Alta Vista Hospital (a bill for $449) and a number of health-care organizations like urgent care centers, and pharmacies like Plaza Drugs — seem to think they’re entitled to their money. What a strange notion.
But enough of the sarcasm. We looked into your correspondence and found a phone number. Did we invade your privacy? No more than you invaded ours by dropping so much junk just a short distance from the transfer station, where you might have been able to unload for free. And what a bonanza! Here are some of the things we saw, and since we don’t believe you or your family will be returning to clean up the mess, we’re describing them:
• Any number of framed family photos, all the glass shattered. My son said he knows a boy in a discarded photo. Was the systematic breaking of all the glass an act of rebellion? Could a family member have died and the possessions simply been carted away? And to some people, destruction for its own sake is therapeutic. But does that entitle people to create a mess that covers 100 square feet on a public road?
• We found a couple of expensive-looking support boots, the kind doctors often prescribe to help patients with leg injuries.
• There was an invitation to enroll at West Texas A&M University in Canyon. It was clipped to a phone bill from Qwest, showing overdue charges of $266.35.
• We found a couple of I.D. cards regarding state music competition in Albuquerque. A First-Step Bible, written for kids 5 or 6 years old, was among the objects we discovered.
• We found five coffee cups, all standing up, as if they had been carefully placed there; one of them had a slight chip.
• There’s a bottle of liquid Ibuprofen, for pain, prescribed by former Las Vegas physician’s assistant Albert Bourbon, and a Flovent “puffer,” prescribed by the UNM Hospital.
• We found a paperback, Rage of Angels, by Sidney Sheldon.
Another item, is a questionnaire regarding the garnisheeing someone’s wages.
• And there is a letter from LIHEAP, an energy-assistance program that awarded your family $140 to help heat your house. There’s a notice of a missed appointment to secure your food stamps, and an overdraft notice from the State Employees Credit Union, with a penalty of $40, for a couple of bounced checks for Internet service.
If we were to confront the family, I’m sure they’d swear that “someone else picks up our trash for us,” and “we don’t know his name but he drives a pickup.”
Somebody else, probably unknown to the litterers, will end up picking up the trash for the family.
The family obviously has enjoyed creature comforts, as there are receipts for Avon products, such as sprays and “soft and sensual foam bath.”
So, have we fleshed out enough information about the family?
We might have gotten to know you better though a phone call to tell you about the material you misplaced (as in “dumped”) along a narrow road by the shooting range.
We tried, but the number we found on the unpaid phone bill has been disconnected.
• • •
Las Vegas: There is a home auto/cycle/bicycle collection unlike any I’ve ever seen. Seldom has there been such an ocular treat as we experienced last week in conducting a Senior Profile interview.
John and Della Gonzales, of El Llano Road, allowed Optic writer Lupita Gonzales and me into their home to take in the amazing collection of classic autos and ‘50s memorabilia.
There’s a ‘52 Chevy converted to a barbecue (carbecue) grill, a shiny yellow 1930 Model A whose front section juts out of a wall, and a 1947 Pontiac “Woody,” also called the Torpedo. And that’s just a start.
The Gonzaleses also have working jukeboxes and old-fashioned soda pop machines, one of which doubles as a door to another roomful of interesting objects.
I believe the three-hour tour-interview was way too short. It would require several hours to take in all the items. But we respect their privacy, so we cut the visit short. If you hope to view their collection, be sure to call first.
Several photos of the house and its possessions will appear on the photo page, Page 1, Section C, of this Friday’s Optic.