Rod is in the toll caused backup on I-95. Two years ago, he would have
bypassed this by using the EZ Pass lane, but one year and 11 months
ago, he discovered his identity had been stolen, and one year and 11
months later, he is still trying to get it straightened out.
One year and 11 months ago, Rod rolled past the toll with his EZ Pass
in the window. He thinks, in less than 5 minutes later, he is out of
the car, on the ground, surrounded by police officers with guns drawn.
Once in the police station, he learned that "he" had rented a car,
robbed two banks, and was on the run from authorities. He was in jail
for 3 days before his wife was able to convince police and prosecutors
that Rod was not in the area of the robberies, didn't look like the
picture taken of the robber, and that Rod's identity had been stolen.
Even though the EZ pass was convenient, he canceled the account.
Unfortunately, all of his financial accounts had to be frozen while
the mess was worked out. It took 3 months before the accounts were
unlocked and he was able to get new accounts. He had to get loans from
family members to pay some bills while the financial mess was being
resolved. The bank that holds his mortgage still has not updated his
credit report correctly, despite filings with the state and financial
regulators and hiring a lawyer.
Since then, he has decided to go "off the grid" as much as possible.
He and his wife don't do financial transactions on-line anymore. After
getting new social security numbers, they also got individual tax
identification numbers that are used when they are forced give a SSN
for some purpose. But they found out that when you push back against
giving your social security number, 9 out of 10 people don't press the
During this time, Rod has become a part of the underground barter
network. He has been able to barter his computer skills and his
handyman skills to learn how to butcher wild game. The local butcher
needed help with his computer system and Rod bartered his expertise
for lessons on butchering game. Rod also has learned how to hunt deer
and wild fowl. He already knew how to fish, and enjoyed it, so he
feels confident that if the world goes to hell, he could keep his
Rod's wife, Pam, doesn't like it, but Rod is now a gun owner. During
the time the bank accounts were frozen, Pam feared they would have to
do something drastic to keep food in the house. She thought about
shoplifting! So, Pam sees this as a way to have a back up if something
happens. She's not as far into the apocalypse scenario as Rod, but she
has been through enough to worry.
As Rod gets closer to the toll booth, he makes sure the pouch on the
dashboard and the pouch on the ceiling, are within easy reach. Rod had
placed documentation of his identity theft, the arrest and release,
and any other documentation he thinks is needed in case he gets
stopped by police again, for being a bank robber.