(Continued from an earlier post: Arrested)
The police cruiser entered a parking lot under construction. I tilted my head back to study the scene through my glasses, which by this time were hanging precariously from the end of my nose. We stopped in front of what looked like a giant garage door inside a high fence, coils of barbed wire perched menacingly on top. Officer Hollingsworth punched some buttons, inserted a CD of some sort into a drop-down disc drive from his police scanner thingy, and the door slid open. The car drove the short distance to the prison and stopped outside a metal door. The officer exited the vehicle and opened my door. I politely asked him to push my glasses up so they wouldn’t fall off. He obliged. (Isn’t he a sweetheart?)
He led me in the door and took the cuffs off me. I did the obligatory wrist rubbing routine like you see the perps doing in Law and Order. There were marks there that wouldn’t go away for hours. I had to take my hair down (the greasy hair that had been in a bun all day. They really want mug shots to look as bad as possible, it seems.) I had to take my flip-flops off and find a pair of brown rubber slides they keep in Rubbermaid containers in the corner. I could only find two mismatched shoes in my size and one of them had a tear. At least my toenails were painted a lovely shade called Calypso. I would be removing it and scrubbing my feet with bleach as soon as I got home. Gag.
Then I got “frisked.” As the lady officer was feeling me up (she only checked my boobs. Weird, right?) I noticed a chart on the wall. There were three questions they were supposed to ask, one of which was if I endured any form of brutality. I thought about the country music and wondered if that counted, but it didn’t matter because they didn’t ask me ANY of those questions. Odd, huh? I also learned that my officer was transferring somewhere in a week. Apparently to a division that pays for its officers’ gas. That’s an important perk, I guess. I only wish he’d transferred sooner.
I was waiting for them to hand me one of those blue jumpsuits I saw everyone wearing inside. For whatever reason, they left me in my bathing suit and cover-up. Apparently the regulations only call for prison issue shoes. Great. Now I wasn’t going to fit in.
When we entered the booking area, I felt even more out of place. I was the only one in the whole joint that didn’t have a neck tattoo. I’m getting one next week, in case I find myself in the clink again. I suggest you do the same. You never know when you’ll be arrested and you’ll want to spare yourself the embarrassment.
I had to answer a bunch of questions, the most amusing one being, “What is your occupation?” I doubt they get very many elementary school lunch ladies in there.. Then, they took my mug shot, which was every bit as awesome as I thought it’d be. I could show you, but let’s just say that Nick Nolte’s mug shot was like a Glamour Shot compared to mine.
I made my phone call to my husband, who was already in contact with a bondsman. I thought I’d be out in no time. Riiiight. Then they led me to a holding cell. For whatever reason, they kept me in a cell to myself. Even later, when they temporarily had to put a female inmate in my cell, they removed me to the “Female Disorderly” cell. I can only assume it was for her protection as I am wicked intimidating–neck tattoo or not.
The cell was amazing. All concrete blocks like the walls in schools, with a bench made of the same material jutting out of the wall. When you sat on it, you faced the stainless steel toilet/sink combo. I felt a twinge in my bladder. When I look at a toilet ( or even think of a toilet or hear the word, “toilet”), I have to go to the bathroom. I’ve had five kids. I lost control of my bladder after kid number two. I wasn’t about to go on that toilet, in view of everyone who happened to pass my window. I Kegel-ed like there was no tomorrow. Some people lift weights in prison. I strengthened my pelvic floor.
Between the kegeling and the comfy seat of concrete I sat on for 4 hours or so, I can barely walk. Turns out, those lovely fat deposits on my butt/hip area they call “saddlebags” are nothing like a saddle. They weren’t meant to sit on for long periods of time and as I spent a majority of my time leaning to one side as I slept against the concrete wall, I now walk with a limp.
I was bored out of my mind. I slept. I paced. I was starving. I refused lunch because I seriously doubted there were many low-carb options. I wasn’t about to add “cheating on my diet” to my long list of regrets for the day. The noise was unbearable. Always the sound of keys, jingling on belts. Chains rattling as they moved prisoners. The sound of clanging doors. As much as I complain about them, I’d take my kids arguing and “mom, mom, mom, moooooom” over that any day.
When I was about to go crazy from the boredom, loneliness, and noise, I got some relief in the form of a colorful cell mate. Her name was Barb.
…to be continued