Recently my friend Christopher Waldrop wrote a post on his blog where he made a funny quip about being pulled over for driving under the influenza. I told him in the comment section that if he told me that story, I would reciprocate with a story about the time I got arrested for walking under the influence. Turns out he was just kidding. I, on the other hand, was not. So I am going to make him come to my blog to read the story. I’m just needy like that.
I had kind of a tradition of hosting a party on the NFL Championship weekend. Everyone had competing Super Bowl parties, so I thought I was being clever holding my party the last round of games before the big one. This year I had invited all the usual friends but I was getting some tepid responses on the RSVP’s. The word I was hearing was that everyone was tired of crowding around my 25″ TV to watch the games. One of my friends had just gotten one of these brand new fangled 50″ projection TV’s. Yes, this was back in the dark ages before flat screen LCD and Plasma. My friend was considering hosting a party of his own and everyone was holding out to see if they could claim a few of those 50″ viewing angles.
Of course I was a bit miffed. My pleas to tradition pretty much fell on deaf ears. Even a promise of whipping up my famous Taco Dip was not enough to get any hard commitments to my soiree. I briefly thought about getting a new TV of my own, but I was in one of my single phases and I didn’t have projection TV kind of money lying around.
That weekend rolled around and I went ahead with my plans. Surely they would come to their senses right? Nope. As game time drew close I found myself the only one in attendance. One of my friends at least had the decency to call me and tell me he was going over to Mr. Fantastic Fucking TV guy’s house. He tried to convince me to go too but I knew I had planned on drinking, like A LOT, and I would not be in any shape to drive home. He offered to come pick me up and bring me home afterward but my feelings were hurt so I told him to get bent and hung up the phone. Five minutes later I called him back and told him to come pick me up.
Holding my taco dip, now in a Tupperware container (presentation completely shot), I rode over with my friend to behold the wonders of 50 inches of viewing pleasure. Goddamn, it was awesome. Couldn’t deny it. Copious amounts of beer were ingested during the two games featured. When that was done there was a general consensus that we should all go over to a nearby bar that we frequented often. However, people kept milling around and nobody actually made the move to head that way. So my inebriated ass decided to walk to the bar and I told the other slowpokes to meet me there.
Nope, I didn’t get arrested while walking to the bar. Hold your horses, we’ll get there. I ambled into the bar, which was called Pirates, and ordered a galleon of beer, which is pirate speak for BIG ASS beer. After drinking two of those mother fuckers, none of my friends, including the one that promised to give me a ride home, had shown up. Was this the worse offense ever committed against mankind? No. But my brain was now swimming in fermented fluid and I took great umbrage. So I decided I was going home. With no vehicle in which to do that, you would think I would remember that there was a whole industry built around providing that service for a fee. Namely, a taxi. However, this drunk fuck had a much better idea. Yea, I would walk home. 8.5 miles. Nothing could go wrong with this plan.
Off I went! Probably got at least a mile or two when I came upon a piece of the sidewalk that had been pushed up by a tree root. It couldn’t have been more than a couple inches above normal height but I still managed to trip over it and down I went. Rolled off the sidewalk into a thicket of bushes that had these sticky things that imbedded themselves in my right arm. I managed to right myself and sit down on the curb. My head was bent down attending to the task of removing these sticky things when I noticed a change in the ambient light of the surrounding area. It was now filled with red and blue flashing colors. I looked up to see a police car pulling over to where I sat. How nice, I thought, a police officer checking up on me to see if I am OK.
“Sir,” the male police officer said, “Are you OK?”
“I’m ohhh kay, offissser,” I eloquently informed him. “Just fell and got some sticker things in me.”
“Let me help you.” The police officer helped me to my feet. What a nice guy.
“Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”
“Yes sir! That’s why I’m walking and not driving.” I was thinking a medal was in order for my responsibility. Maybe even a key to the city?
“OK, step over here near the car.”
Why would he want me to step over near the car? Maybe he wanted to help brush off all the detritus I had collected on my clothes when I took my unfortunate tumble. What service! I stepped closer to the car and he, in fact, moved behind me for what I thought would be a brush down of my back. Instead, I felt one of my wrists, shortly followed by the other, enclosed in the cold metal of handcuffs. Whaaaa?
“Sir, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent…”
I immediately gave up that right by exclaiming, “WHAT? I was walking so I wouldn’t drive drunk!”
“We appreciate that sir, now watch your head,” was what he told me as he was guiding me into the back of the police car.
WTF? Where I came from in one red light town, Texas, a policeman would give you a ride home in this situation. Evidently that was not the case in Ventura County, California. This jizz waffle was taking me to jail!
Yup, to jail on a charge of intoxicated in public. For real? I had seen all out bar brawls that didn’t result in charges and I was going to jail for walking drunk! A few hours later I found myself dressed in Ventura County Jail orange pajamas and being escorted into a two man cell on the top tier of a cell block. As fate would have it, my first cell mate was already in residence and at the moment, taking a dump on the gray steel toilet that sat in one corner of the cell. Was quite the reception. Turns out he was in for rape. Yea, they didn’t house people in this jail according to severity of their alleged crimes. I met all types in the cell block. Those incarcerated for crimes such as drug possession with intent to sell, breaking and entering, assault, and yes, murder. During the times we were let out of our cell to mingle in the common area for meals or to watch TV, the new guys always got asked what they were in for? When I was asked that question I instinctively figured that walking drunk was not really going to win me any respect in here.
“I stabbed a mother fucker!” was my response. I tried to make a real mean face when I said it. I’m not sure it was really that convincing but for some reason no one ever challenged me on it. That might have been because I managed to incur a bit of favor from the other inmates. There were two pay phones in the common area where you could make collect phone calls. One of these phones was missing the receiver (for Millennials that was the part of the phone we used to talk and listen). That left us with only one phone. Not too long after I got there I was waiting in line to use the phone when the guy currently on it got, what I can only assume, was bad news. He proceeded to beat the shit out of the phone and in the process damaged the cord to the receiver on the last working phone. The guards showed up and dragged him off somewhere, the hole? I don’t know but I can tell you they were none to concerned about getting the telephone man in there to fix it. So now we were without any telephones. Wouldn’t you know it though, I just happen to be an electronics tech. I managed to splice the damaged wires in the cord and we were back in business. That won me some brownie points with my fellow miscreants. One of them even gave me his chocolate pudding dessert because he was so happy he had the chance to call up his wife and tell her he was going to fuck her world up when he got out. That was some tainted pudding, but I took it all the same.
Have you noticed I am talking like I was in the hoosegow for a while? Good observation. I was in there for three fucking days! That happened to be a federal holiday weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. day and there was no court on Monday. When Tuesday rolled around they had such a backlog of cases that they did not get to me until Wednesday afternoon. Before we get to that I have a few other jailhouse tales.
Remember when I said this happened during one of my single phases? That’s not entirely true. I was involved in a long distance relationship with my now current wife, Michele, who at the time lived in Vancouver, Canada. We talked every single day, either on the phone or chatting online. The last she had heard from me was a message saying I was going to a football party. I had tried to call her from the jail but you could only make collect calls and, for some reason I still don’t remember, she had a block on her phone for collect calls. You would think I would just call one of my friends and have them call her. That would have worked if I didn’t have a terrible memory for numbers. Hers, mine, and my work number were the only ones I had committed to memory. I actually had a Palm Pilot (remember those?) with all my other numbers in it. Think they let me keep that? Yea, not so much.
On Tuesday, I managed to make a collect call to my work number (Holiday on Monday, no one there) and my friend picked up my phone. Ironically, it was the same friend who had hijacked my party with his fucking fifty fucking inch TV. Now, however, was not the time to point that out to him. I told him what had happened, got him to put me on vacation days, and call Michele. When I called him back later he told me Michele had already figured it out. After calling all the hospitals and getting nothing, she called the jail and was informed I was there. However, she was not informed why I was there. My friend told me she met his explanation with some skepticism. Hell, I didn’t blame her. I would have too.
I experienced one more exploit before gaining my freedom. The cell block I was in was set up with two tiers of about 20 cells and a common room with tables and a TV. Due to overcrowding they had set up bunk beds in the common area to accommodate 20 additional prisoners. We were only allowed out in the common area a few hours at a time and when we had to go back to our cells, the ones in the bunk beds had to go lay down and not move. The ones in the cells at least could move around a bit but not the guys out in the common area. Ventura County has a significant population of Hispanics, and it seemed like mostly those were the ones getting stuck in the common area bunk beds. This was not lost on them and the grumbling about it grew louder and louder as the time went on.
It finally came to a boiling point when we were out in the common area watching Cops on the TV (most of them cheered on the criminals). The guards sent us back to our cells and shut the TV off right in the middle of a crackhead attempting to jump a fence and getting his underwear caught on the barbed wire. The guys in the bunk beds were pissed and started overturning their beds and throwing shit everywhere. Then they started pounding on any guy they knew that had their own cell. I was one of those guys and my phone repairing favor was not going to protect me from this full out riot. Sirens started going off and general chaos ensued. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge my way back to my cell without getting bodily injured. Shortly after, a multitude of guards in riot gear showed up and commenced to quell the uprising. The jail stayed on lockdown from that point until I got out.
On Wednesday I went in front of a judge on close circuit TV, and on the advise of my court appointed attorney, whom I had met five minutes before that, pleaded guilty to one count of public intoxication. I was sentenced to time served and a $300 dollar fine. That was some expensive beer I had drank. I was also sentenced to much skepticism by Michele who did not believe for one second that I had been arrested for walking drunk. She maintained that I must have been doing something worse. Like sexual congress in public. If only…
When I got processed out, there was another guy being released at the same time. As we walked out the door he asked me if I knew where the nearest bar was. I gave him an incredulous look and turned to, you guessed it, walk home. Luckily, the jail was only half a mile from my house and I managed to navigate my way past sidewalk upheavals caused by evil tree roots.