I walked in the doors of the downtown jail at 6:57am after walking the block three times trying to convince myself this would be drama free and simple. There was someone sitting in the bail and release window, so I sluggishly walked up to the window, showing as little emotion as I possibly could, and told them my name and checked myself in to be arrested. As I sat in the lobby, waiting apprehensively for what was in store for me, the place was a ghost town for seven in the morning on a Saturday. Off duty officers displaying their monstrous built arms in cut off tees, packing body gear and gym bags, came and went and didn’t bother to pay me any mind. In a previous time, I had given thought about getting into law enforcement as I felt like I could outsmart criminals, but looking at the size and physical shape these men were in…yeah, I’m glad I possess little intrinsic motivation. After about fifteen minutes (it seemed like an eternity as I watched multiple homeless people use the bathroom, look around for anything left in the lobby, and leave) a sheriff came out to get me. He took my wallet, phone, and keys and my money for the house arrest program, and after patting me down, handed me a cup to pee in.
Ever go into a pee test knowing…well…you have to pee, but knowing you’re going to be standing there with your dick in your hand for ten minutes? That was me. Like a scene from the movie “Waiting” where I was giving myself a pep talk to just let my weathered, cancer beaten anatomy will itself to dribble a stream of pee to fill half a cup. Closed my eyes real tight, hummed to cancel out the noise of the other cells screaming and crying for attention. I imagined Lake Superior, Dr. Pepper, and even those whiskey filled nights where I debated peeing in my bed over rolling out to crawl to the bathroom in time. All the while I’m forgetting I’m in a fucking cell that has audio/video equipment. They knew when I had Harry Potter’ed enough magic to fill the cup with dribbles and the sheriff said, “That should be enough.” Again, freaked me the fuck out until I realized they’d been watching me talk magic spells and speak of waterfalls to my penis for the last five minutes.
After the traumatizing failure that is my urinary system finally de-stressed itself, I was led into the common area in which had four seats, facing what had to be an eighteen inch television screen, with ABC news quietly recapping the most recent mass killing. Trying my best stealth search, I looked at all the different holding cells; there were drunks sleeping on the benches in county uniforms, a couple boys staring at me wondering why I wasn’t in a cage with them, a lady screaming into her jail cell phone about not caring about her kids or where they were but how anyone was going to come up with $878 for bail; I was definitely the generalized privileged white male sitting uncuffed in the lobby of the dispatch. The news came and went and I was called up for my celebratory mugshot (since I was so intoxicated the past time they just wanted to book me and get me the fuck outta there) and DNA sample (sucking on cheek swabs) and then I was printed. By God, that’s a process. All fingers, rolled, palm prints, side prints, covering their bases in case I decide to do anything else stupid ever again.
Once I could return to my seat, I started watching the shows after the news - the Saturday morning shit I swear no one ever sees - Jack Hanna, Jeff Corwin, the animal lovers that no one has cared for in ages. What happened next can’t thoroughly be put into words. The sheriffs started joking about ‘this crazy lady that wouldn’t stop talking yet never answered the question you asked her’ and after about 90 seconds, I wished they had put me in a cell. This lady, Jesus Christ. They had her in a makeshift vest as she had been restrained and had no clothes on. She claimed she was 65, and I could see that, as she rambled like that of a talented old bat that had been left to talk to only her cats for years. Drowning out her high pitched whine with the sounds of Jeff Corwin doing a shitty mock Indian accent while saying ‘masala chai’ with a Spanish accent was proving to be difficult as I couldn’t quite determine which was worse. The sheriffs were hiding behind their desks and laughing now though, so I had to tune in to listen. The lady was now at the mental health desk being asked a set of questions that I had simply answered with ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or some variance of one word approval.
“Ma’am, do you ever have suicidal thoughts?”
“HUH? YOURE GOING TO HAVE TO SPEAK UP, THEY STOLE MY HEARING AIDS. They never even read me my rights! Do you see my hair? It’s such a pretty blonde when I live in Los Angeles, but ever since I answered my door and you people arrested me, I haven’t had my medication and I can’t tell what color my hair is anymore.”
“Okay, but ma’am, have you ever had thoughts of suicide? Are you depressed right now? Do you take any medication?”
“YOU’RE SPEAKING SOFTLY AND I KNOW YOU’RE TAUGHT THAT BECAUSE I’M LOUD BUT I REALLY CAN’T HEAR YOU. Now, I have four different medical degree and have been a nurse for 30 years until I just got fired and of course I’m taking drugs but I don’t have health insurance, which shouldn’t be a privilege in this world but a humane right, and I haven’t had my pills in two days and I feel very anxious and scared and you’re holding me against my will and I would just like to go home. I’m always depressed. Look where you have me…”
“Do you have any history of head trauma or any accidents..”
“If I learned anything today, it is to not answer my door, even for the kind police. I am in here and they took my clothes, I’m an old lady, see, you can see it in my chest (I can only imagine she was showing her saggy breasts at this time and I got the willies and almost squirmed off of my chair. Meanwhile, the staff is all either laughing or hiding behind computers, phones, walkies, crying with laughter)…and I just want to go home, better yet you could send me to LA where I can rest with my favorite movie stars…”
At this time, I requested to go back into the bathroom so I could finally ‘finish peeing’ and I shut the door and started laughing while I was undoing my pants. I said, out loud to myself, Jesus fucking almighty, never let me get like that God. Hey, guess what, remember? I’m in jail. They hear me at the desk giving myself a life pep talk as I’m trickling out more pee. I walk out, the old bag isn’t there anymore, and they’re all staring at me. The place erupts with laughter.
The clinician sums up mine and her thoughts in one sentence; “It’s 9am and it’s way too early but I feel like I need a drink after that one.” A-fucking-men sister.
My sheriff ride shows up shortly after this. I thought I was being transported to a different place to have my anklet strapped on and have some kind of lecture to reinforce the severity of my mistakes. Nope. My guy was hilarious. We talked about how dumb I was, he told me that it could have been much worse, that I seem like a ‘bright fella and everyone gets a fuck up or four’ and as we talk about the women we’re passing that are working up and out for the CrossFit games that are in town, he tells me its too bad I’m ‘incapacitated’ because ‘you seem like the kind of guy that’d appreciate checking out these fine athletes.’
We get to my place and he eyes it up and looks around and says, “man, I love easy days.” HAHA.
He walks in to my apartment and sees my three roommates all sitting on the couch awaiting the delivery of their lawbreaking roommate. Mr. Sheriff looks around, asks if there are any drugs, weapons or alcohol in the house, and we all say no. (Important side note, when I had left the house at 6:15am that morning, there was approximately 24 bottles of alcohol on the kitchen island, awaiting to be stored in a safe place that I didn’t have access to. If those would have still been there 4 hours later, I would have seriously been not able to be writing this right now, head shake.) He wanted to search my room, and as he looked in (I had spent hours picking up but it was still in no shape for a room belonging to a 33 year old bachelor that had a girl over the night before) he saw folded laundry and audibly declared “Fuck it, you’re good. just follow the rules and come back to the office in two weeks.”
I then plugged in my anklet and passed out for half of the day, partly from stress and partly from not sleeping for two days. All in all…
Life could be much worse than the non stop video games, intermittent napping and feasting I’ve been doing. It’s almost unfair to call it punishment, so I figured my penance would be to update everyone daily for the next couple weeks.