It's almost four A.M. on a Saturday morning, or a Friday night. I'm not sure. After hanging out with a couple of my friends and drinking some beers and watching a movie, I have retreated back to my room to fall asleep. Yet it escapes me, as I ponder the days' situations. It was an out of the ordinary day.
It all started around 9 o'clock, when I woke to my daily alarm, telling me to get up for class. Today however I decided i was too tired to go, which must have been some cosmic sign because what occurs next is a one in a shot chance. I will tell you the back story leading up to this moment first.
Last year, around October, with my fake i.d. in tow, some friends and I decide to get some four lokos, because lets face it, those get you properly drunk, and that is what we were aiming for. The alcohol law enforcement had other plans, for as I left the gas station, malt liquor in hand, they wait to pull us over down the road, issuing us each a ticket; I received the worst of it since I purchased the drinks however. Fast Forward a year, and a court date is coming up for me. I have hired a lawyer to appear in court for me to get a continuation, which is just lawyer lingo for moving the court date back. Only the assistant district attorney was having none of it, and issued a warrant for my arrest instead since I failed to appear at court, which my attorney said was unnecessary. Fat help that was at this point though. Back to waking up for class though.
I press snooze, hoping for 10 more minutes sleep, but 10 turned to 20, 20 to 30, and then it was mid-day. No point in going to class anymore, especially not with what happens next. My roommate speaks out my name, saying I have visitors. I groggily turn over, only to see two police officers standing there. Shit. I know what this means. I silently accept my fate, thinking this can't be to bad right? They don't take scrawny male college students to real jail do they? False. After embarrassingly being cuffed and walked out of my residence hall. I looked down at the ground the whole time, making an effort to avoid eye contact less I see a familiar face. The car ride to the "Detention Center" was quite uncomfortable, as the back seat of a police car is made only for the wicked and cruel apparently, made entirely out of plastic. We drive 10 minutes out into the country, pulling into a eerily looking compound, that turned out to be one of the worst places I have ever been.
I am ushered inside, not knowing what may come next, just wanting to make my phone call, and acting pathetic in order to receive empathy from the arresting officers, hoping to make them give me a break. But the law is unforgiving. I am taken to a waiting room, where I am searched, and allowed to take down any numbers I feel are necessary to get me out of this place. I choose my lawyer, and a friend I have grown to realize that he is the true definition of a friend. I am placed in a detainee cell, with a phone, and a toilet. I immediately call my attorney, but no one answers. Three times. Guess who is not getting a call back when I get out of here. A list of bail bondsmen had been placed in every cell, so I pick the name that sounds most sophisticated, in a ignorant reach out at innocence, only to be answered by a lady, who promises to do her best to get me out of their as soon as possible. My panic subsides. I have no other connection to the outside world but her. I sit back down afterwards, thinking it will all be over in 10 minutes, but this day would just get worse. An officer comes and knocks on the window of my cell (as they have ditched the old iron bar cells with the new glass/magnetized door, which was all the more defeating) and tells me to call her back. I do, and the news brings the panic back in full swing. A court case from 2 years ago, yes 2 years ago, has suddenly resurfaced after all this time and now my bail has been raised, and this meant bad news for her, since 2 years ago I lived in a completely different city. She told me it would take longer than she had originally planned, and that she would need the number of my mother, who would post my bail, as no one I knew had 1725 dollars just sitting around. All this is done, and another officer takes me to the nurse (who was a dick by the way and said I wasn't going anywhere, which scared the bejesus out of me, as I need Lexapro or I go with withdraw, and if any one knows how that feels, prison was not going to be easy). My asshole instinct decided to kick in since I might be here for awhile, so I begin acting sarcastic towards him, making his job all the more difficult. I was just terrified though. I believed I was going to be safe for only so much longer, for the next step of my adventure was now going to begin.
The sheriff of the "detention center" says I'm good to go, which any person with hope believes he is free to go. But don't believe it. I was now good to go, to go back to the real jail, where convicted criminals and felons are kept. The only thing I kept thinking was "I don't belong here, I'm studying to be fucking engineer" and "Will this be like the movies?". The later part was not true, to my foolishness. I am placed in cell in 0111, and the door is slowly locked behind me as potential freedom is ripped from my grasp without hesitation. I drop my issued tub of blankets and soaps on my bed and no thoughts run through my head. What do I do now? I had no idea when I get out, so I stand at the window and look at the officers. I'm sure they get that all the time. Then something unexpected happens. Another inmate, 5 or 6 cells down, I don't remember, calls out "whiteboy" which must be me, since I was the only white mail there, what are you in for? We begin a conversation through the crack in our doors, yelling so we can understand each other. I tell him everything that happened, from the mishap with the lawyer, and everything between. The most reassuring thing I have heard in awhile is spoken " Don't worry man that's nothing you'll be out of here in no time". This stoned me. Since when have inmates been nice or caring? Aren't they all just thugs and hardened criminals? My perspective was put into question.
The cellmate next to me did not want to miss out on this chance to escape the boredom that grips and person who is stuck in a room with nothing to do for an extended period of time, so he puts in his 2 cents. We begin discussing normal things 19-24 year olds will talk about, girls, alcohol, drugs, stuff that everyone must be guilty of trying at some point. What scared me most was that I had met people outside of this situation who behaved exactly like this. What made these people so different? They just want to enjoy themselves to a certain extant, with a girl or two that they enjoy. It's only natural. Yet here they were, held against their will.
That was the worst part. It was like being captured in a prison camp, or that's how I liked to imagine it for the 5 hours that I was there. I instantly compared myself to (spoiler) Davos Seaport, for any Game of Throne fans out there, and my respect grew for him tenfold. Shit sucks for him. I digress. The pacing, and the thinking, and the boredom grew unbearable. I needed to get out. But how? I wasn't allowed. I was trapped. The anxiety grew in me. I buzzed an officer and asked for food just to talk to someone in control, which was what I wanted. He responded, but with the tone of his voice I could tell the conversation would be brief. I never received that food I wanted. I sat on the ground and began reading the toothpaste I was given, hoping to memorize it before I left. Crazy right? Yes. Until that heavenly voice came across the speaker.
"McOwen. Pack your stuff, your leaving." I should have been ecstatic, but something was eating at me. I grew to realize it was these other inmates, these people that appeared nice. Who knows though, maybe they were insane people just trying to lure me in, but if they were, it worked. I wanted to let them all go, so they could try again, maybe trying to change their lives for the better. I will never know how they will turn out though, as I do no plan on going back there. Ever. It was unbearable. I just wanted to get back to my dorm room and lay on my bed.
The car ride back with the bails bondman was very awkward, as I could not thank her enough, but I'm sure she received that a lot. She owned her own business doing the exact thing she did for me, and planned on doing it for life she told me. Noble I thought, as any one would want to get the fuck out of jail, it's awful. As I turned on my phone, I receive a bomb of text messages, from my mother and father, my pledge brothers in my fraternity, and my girlfriend. My mother and father were just concerned, my pledge brothers had already found my mug shots and were making jokes about "dropping the soap" and such things, but my girlfriend did not even know. I'm not even sure I want to call her that anymore. This was the cherry on the sundae for my day.
We had planned on going downtown together to have a night together, but all of a sudden she had changed her mind. I knew she was upset at me, for bringing my friend along when we went to get a snack at a food shop, but I did not know it would get this ridiculous. Looking for comfort from her, I tell her I did not want to go out either, I just wanted her to come over to hang out, but she was not having it. She responds to me, that even though I had just been in jail for things that were not even my fault but my lawyers for a good 5 hours, she was even more angry at me and that I lacked manners or feelings. I told her I did not know what I did, as we had been fine 2 days before, and all I did was bring my friend along with us, but this made things worse. Somehow brining my friend along was my way of telling her " I just wanted her to drive me around and hook up with" which was not true, but thinking about this later, I realized that any girl that puts such ridiculous things in front of some one she supposedly cares about over the fact this person she cares about spent the day in a federal prison may not be the right one. I decided it would be best to just ignore her. I don't need things in my life like that. If she comes back, who knows; but for sure I am going to tell her she needs better priorities if she wants something more serious.
As I sit here writing this, I come to the conclusion that this day was all for the better, not matter how shitty on the appearance. My empathy for those inmates who just want to get home to their families and significant others suffer day to day to do so, which is romantic in its' own part. Secondly, my values changed, that the ability to realize others needs at the time may be more important dispute that may be forgotten in two or three days time. I would not ever want to repeat such a day, as I was in prison, and I began a break with my girlfriend, but I definitely am somewhat thankful it happened. The End