Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Yes, I am HARD CORE.

Once upon a time, I went to jail.

And I readily - even proudly - admit to it. It's especially amusing when someone starts boasting about being in jail and how the food wasn't so bad, and I can casually respond, "I don't know, I think the food sucked!" And when they don't believe me, I whip off my shirt and show them my prison tattoos as proof.

It was a balmy summer afternoon in 2003, and I was on my lunch break from work when I got pulled over for having expired tags. Tags which had expired...THAT MORNING. Thankfully, the officer told me she would let me off with a fix-it ticket, just as soon as she ran my plates to make sure I didn't have any outstanding warrants. We both chuckled heartily because me? Outstanding warrants? I would imagine someone with outstanding warrants leads a far more interesting life than I do.

However, she came back to my car a few minutes later with a grim expression and told me that she was going to have to take me to jail, on account of...an outstanding warrant. My clever reply was, "Don't you think if I did something to deserve a warrant out for my arrest I would remember it?" She asked if I had any unpaid tickets and I suddenly remembered my speeding ticket from a while ago. But it was a $35* ticket, and surely they don't send people to jail for that, do they? Turns out, they do! Happily! She had me get out of the car and lean against it spread eagle while she patted me down. Then she cuffed me. With handcuffs. Around my wrists. And did I mention that this was just a few blocks from my work on one of the busiest streets around, so hundreds of people driving by are witnessing this?

She kindly let me sit in the front of the car with her. That was nice because if you see someone in the front of a cop car you don't automatically think LOW-DOWN WORTHLESS CRIMINAL SCUM like you do if you see someone in the back. By the time we get to the jail, I was laughing at the pure silliness of the situation and was in good spirits.

They checked me in, and luckily I happened to have enough cash in my purse to cover the ticket so someone ran next door to the courthouse to pay it. They assured me that doing that would mean I'd be free! In no time! I joked with the prison officials, and after they took my picture, I asked if I could get a copy - or better yet, take a picture in an orange jumpsuit. Unfortunately, the jumpsuits were only for people who were being processed to spend the night, and I was getting out! Any minute! Again with the reminder that I would be leaving jail very soon!

They put me in a holding cell - a small, cement, L-shaped room with stained cement benches lining both walls, a phone at one end, and a toilet tucked into the foot of the "L". The room reeked of urine and sweat, and there were ten or so other ladies packed in there. I use the word "ladies" very loosely there, because the one on the phone wearing (I'm not kidding) a red evening dress? I'm pretty sure "she" was a he.

Apparently I was WAY overdressed for the occasion of being put in jail in my skirt, heels, and white button-down blouse. I looked so out of place that the women immediately latched onto me and started questioning me about what I had done. After I admitted to not paying a speeding ticket, and such a small one at that, the women in the room took up my cause and loudly proclaimed to the guards outside that I should be let out, and that this was a travesty, and advising me that I should call my lawyer.

Which reminded me I actually should probably call someone - work or the boyfriend, at least - and tell them where I was. Only problem was, the phone was being hogged by the cross dresser. I tried several times to use it, only to be rebuffed in with a gentle, "Bitch, don't you DARE try to take this mutha-fucking phone away from me, I am talking to my goddamn son of a bitch lawyer who charges me a dime for every mutha-fucking minute on the phone, and there is no way your little cunt ass is cutting in on me!" I asked the guards if there was another phone, but they just pointed me back to the phone in our cell. I wasn't quite comfortable tattling on the cross-dresser, mainly because I wanted to leave jail with my entrails still safely tucked inside my body.

I'd been in the cell a few hours, still laughing and joking with the guards and other inmates, when someone came by and told me that my paperwork had been done for a while, but that the NCIC database was down and they couldn't release me until they had checked for out-of-state warrants. I would have argued that I was pretty sure I didn't have any, but then again I didn't think I had any IN-state ones, and look where that got me!

He also informed me that they stopped processing at 8PM and if I was still there at that time, I'd be staying the night. Oh, and since it was Friday, make that the whole the weekend too. At that moment I burst into tears. I was cold and hungry and frustrated and scared. My crying caused the ladies around me to renew their campaign for my release, and they started alternately trying to comfort me and threatening the guards with bodily harm.

Finally, the computer came back up and they were able to clear my name. They still had some paperwork for me to sign, so they sat me in an interview room and went to get it. No surprise this took another hour or so, and while I was waiting I was treated to a brown-bag jailhouse dinner of a smooshed PB&J, apple, and warm milk. Yum! Once I had signed the release forms, they let me out. Only no one knew where I was. I had no car, no cell phone (it had died) and no money (I had used it all to pay my ticket). I was across town from home in a not-so-great area. Despite that, though, I was in a great mood. I had just been released! From jail! I think I started giggling to myself in the middle of the street.

I started walking up the street and finally saw a cab (it's actually rare that cabs are driving around like that in this area, so that was a huge bonus). He let me use his cell phone, and I made two calls: one to work, and one to AMBF. I was expecting worry and panic. Instead, I got this:

Me: "Hello, work? It's me...were you wondering where I was?"
Work: "Oh, no, we got slow so we gave out downtime. We just assumed you took it and went home early."
Me: "What? No, no! I was in jail!"
Work: "Oh..."

Me: "Hey! AMBF! It's me! I'm okay!"
AMBF: "Um...why wouldn't you be?"
Me: "What? Weren't you wondering where I was all day?"
AMBF: "No....aren't you at work? Haven't you been there all day?"
Me: "No! I was in jail! You mean, you haven't been worried about me??"
AMBF: "Um....no.....sorry?"

No one even knew I was gone - it's all that transvestite's fault for not letting me make calls! Next time I go to jail I'll make damn sure everyone knows I'm there so they can worry about me. And I always wonder how much it cost the city to arrest me and keep me in jail for nine hours and feed me, all to reap $35*?

I don't regret it at, though - I won't even tell you how many games of "I Never" I've lasted through with the "I've been in jail" card. But? It's a lot.

*Okay, $70 with court costs. But $35 sounds better in this case.


Kadonkadonk said...

I love "I Never"! I too, have been to jail (underground rave got busted on Christmas Eve when I was 15 - that was a great Xmas!), and love to pull it out during that game. No one ever thinks I have tattoos either. And I also enjoy using the "I've never have sex at Six Flags" card too. It's amazing how few people have done that!

twobuyfour said...

What a riot! Great story! I (like most people) have never been in jail. I had a ot of traffic related run-ins with the law, and have been in my share of courtrooms, and even had to ride in the back of a cruiser for a short while until I could convince the deputy that it would very easy to double-check my story BEFORE taking me downtown and wasting both of our time.

But I've never been arrested and handcuffed and put in jail. i'm glad I'm not you.

MrCorey said...

Arrested? Yes. Court? Yes, a few times. Jail? Nope. Phewf. Thanks for taking that one on for us. ;-)

Dick said...

Please dear God, post the mug shot!

Whisky said...

That made me chuckle!! Especially the entrails remaining in the cell.
And nobody knew you were missing!!! WTF! Next time you need them to broadcast it on your local news ;)

Reminds me of the time I broke down and three members of my family drove past me and waved! Errrm a little help here please LOL.

Gonna read some more of your blog now as I'm totally addicted!!




Calitri said...

Fall of '99. Thursday night, the first week of classes my freshmen year at Virginia Tech. I go to a party with my sophomore roommate and get plastered drinking jungle juice. During a vain stumbling attempt to make it to the bus stop, the cops track me down and arrest me for drunk in public. I can't dispute the charge. On the trip to the lock up, I puke in the back of the cop's car, doubly sealing my fate. He was not happy. A couple guards start to book me and I boot on the floor. They were not happy. I get thrown in the drunk tank for the night and proceed to claim the toilet for my own, throwing up two or three more times. There's nothing like a little alcohol poisoning to get you through a long night in jail. I wake up on the floor of the jail cell in the corner. A few hours of waiting and a 55 dollar fine and I'm a free man again. Only I didn't have any money to make a call, didn't know anyone at school cause it was my first week and didn't have a car. Bummed a quarter to call a cab then talked the cabbie into driving me home for free.

One of my best stories ever. Oh, and how much does it suck to sit in the car with your hands handcuffed behind you? Those things hurt.

The Muse said...

For some reason, people always assume that I've spent time in jail. Sure, blame the girl from Vegas. :P

:phil: said...

What a great story for the Grandkids one day. Very funny, and glad you didn't have to spend the weekend in the joint.

Which reminds me...I was arrested as a youth, charges dropped, I even found my weed again :-)

Julie_Gong said...

I will never doubt your 'hard coreness' EVER.

JoeyJoJoJo said...

I needed a good laugh today and you have provided! Thanks AMG, you're hilarious!!!

mysterygirl! said...

This is a fantastic story. I love how you rallied all the girls around you in the holding cell. Genius!

Em said...

Man, I wish I had been arrested! That story rocked. The transvestite was probably just jealous because you looked better in a blouse.

Hanmee said...

What a great story.

I'd be ticked if such a major event was missed by the people around me. For all they know, you could have been kidnapped and they wouldn't have known! Sheesh!