Arrested Part Two: Inside The Joint

(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?)

It’s a great color but does not go with brown prison slides AT ALL.
Photo via http://makebeautynails.blogspot.com/

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.

Nick Nolte ain’t got nothing on me.

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.

What kind of swanky prison is this? This one is clean and has privacy.

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

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Arrested Part One: Cuffed

I spent the morning yelling at kids, gathering towels, looking for sand toys, and yelling at the kids some more. It was a Beach Day. The plan was to meet the kids’ grandmother at the beach at 10:00 AM, before it got crowded and parking was impossible. We were, as usual,  running late. We backed out of the drive-way 15 minutes after the scheduled departure.  It was a costly 15 minutes.

police lightsI got maybe a mile down the road when I saw the blue lights in the rear view mirror.  “Which one of you brats isn’t wearing a seat belt?” I roared to the back seat. (“Brats” is a term of endearment.  Ahem.) The kids cried out in protest. I scanned the back seat and, sure enough,  all 5 were restrained.  I did a mental checklist.  My tags were up-to-date. I was wearing my seat belt. I hadn’t used my car in an armed robbery. I didn’t steal the car. I was flummoxed.

The police officer approached the car and asked for my license. Before he even looked at it, he asked me if I was Ms. Quinney.  That’s not a good sign.  “Yes, sir.”  He asked me step out of the car. Again, “yes, sir.”  (I am a very polite Southern girl.  Especially to police officers who know my name.)

“You are driving with a suspended license. How many kids are in your car? Do you have someone who can come and get them and your car?”

Wait.  What?

“Because I can’t allow you to drive this car anywhere and I’m going to have to arrest you.”

Wait.  What?

“Ma’am, do you understand?”

“Yes, sir?” It was a question because I most certainly did not understand. My husband was pulled over twice with a suspended license (don’t ask why, it wasn’t anything serious) and both times the officer impounded his truck and had somebody come get him. He wasn’t arrested.

“Somebody has to come get the car.  Normally, I’d impound the vehicle, but since you have the kids with you…” Oh.  Super cop was being generous.  “Can you call someone?”  I nodded and headed back to my car. “Miss, you don’t want to call anyone who might cause a scene.”

Well, that certainly left my husband out. I know that man of mine and he wasn’t going to let his wife be hauled off in handcuffs.  Again. (Yes, I’ve been in handcuffs before.  Read about that here.) I called my mother-in-law, who was convinced he was staking me out.  Why else would he run my plates?

stick family stickers

Highly suspect…

Turns out, Corporal James R. Hollingsworth (yes, that’s his real name and isn’t it fantastic?) ran everybody’s plates because what with the murders and America’s Most Wanted capturing escaped criminals all over this little town (true story), it’s an excellent use of his time. When he comes across a land yacht with 7 of those adorably cheesy family stick figures on the window, backing out of the driveway, he runs the plates, and sees suspended license for a “failure to appear in court” over a lame-o “no proof of insurance” ticket–which is absurd since in the state of Georgia, every cop can see if a person has insurance simply by running their plates–and there are five kids in the back, obviously equipped to go to the beach, and a hardened criminal frightened woman who obviously had no idea her license was suspended, he decided that, yes, she should be arrested and taken to jail immediately, with no regard for the overcrowded prison cells and the colossal waste of time it is since she won’t be held and they won’t even be able to collect bond for her crimes.  Or maybe he just didn’t like people who write in run-on sentences.

I called my friend to tell her the hilarious story. It wasn’t until I was talking to her that I remembered I was dressed for the beach. I would be taken to jail in my bathing suit, cover-up, and flip-flops with my greasy hair in a bun and no make-up on my face. My mug shot would be awesome.

The kids realized we weren’t going to the beach and the whining started.  “I’m going to jail and I would appreciate it if you didn’t cry because you can’t go to the beach!  How about a little perspective here?” That shut them up.

Billy (the 6yo) offered some advice. “Forget about the police. Just drive away.” When I didn’t start driving, he made a suggestion.  “Can’t you just punch the policeman in the face?”  I worry about that kid’s future.

Not what he used, but they look comfy.

The MIL arrived and the nice policeman took me to the side of the police car.  He opened the door (to shield the horrific and potentially trauma-inducing sight from the children) and asked me to place my hands behind my back.  He cuffed me.  “Is that too tight?”

“No sir.”

He put me in the back of the police car.  I was officially arrested, though he didn’t read me my Miranda Rights. Isn’t that, you know, a requirement?  You’d think Officer Hollingsworth, that most conscientious of peacekeepers, would remember that.  He drove away (too fast) and I realized that yes, indeed, the cuffs were too tight and that there is no way to get comfortable in the back of a police car with your arms wrenched behind your back and your knees jammed into the metal seat back.  On top of that, my glasses were inching down my nose, which is really annoying. I have back problems, too, and every bump gave me a spasm. It was miserable.

And then it got worse. My arresting officer started flipping through radio stations.  He found one he liked.  “Turn your knob to BOB 106.9!  Savannah’s home for new countryyyyy!”  The voice of Kenny Chesney oozed out of the radio speakers:

 “The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom
And no shoes, no shirt, and no problems!”

Jostling around in the back seat of a police cruiser, en route to the jailhouse, I finally understood the concept of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

To be continued…

read to be read at yeahwrite.me