Earlier this year I wrote a little bit about being arrested for Harassment and Domestic Violence. The entry is called “Jail” and you’re more than welcome to go back in the archives (March, 2013) and read about the events leading up to my arrest. In fact, I demand that you read it because I’m not planning to rehash all of it in this post. I’ll just say that my ex-husband called the cops on me because I removed him from laying on top of Madeline during a fight we were having. I didn’t hit him, he wasn’t hurt in the least, but in Colorado if the cops are called, someone gets arrested. Since he made the call, I went to the slammer. Today is the two year anniversary of my arrest, and I’m forcing myself to write about it now. You’re going to love it.
When I last left off, I was barefoot in the back of a cruiser, the plastic handcuffs a little too tight for my taste. The officers were talking about the Broncos and my mind was scrambling with how I was going to get out of this mess. My phone was left behind with my shoes. And my coat. And my bra. It was early morning, after all. Who gets arrested before 8 am on a school day? Me.
As the officers gripped my arm to “assist” me out of the back of the cruiser, I remembered that I was supposed to volunteer at the school library that day. Dammit. Should that be my one call? Just not showing up would be in poor taste. But my hands were tied. Literally.
The officers ushered me in to the intake area. There were two other men there, eyeing my bare feet as they completed their paperwork. Getting judged in the intake area at 8 am by these two nearly turned me into a real criminal. The intake officer was sorta nice. I sat on the edge of the hard, plastic chair, trying to keep my feet off the disgusting ground. I felt a little like Goldie Hawn’s character in “Private Benjamin” when she first joined the army and stated, “I think there’s been a mistake. I joined the army but I joined the one with the yachts.” Clearly, there had to be a better jail for a middle class lady like myself, right?
The officer saw me trying to balance on the edge of the seat with my hands tied behind me and my feet hovering (which is an excellent workout for the core, by the way) and got me a pair of paper booties. Then, taking his kindness a step further, he snipped off my cuffs. I thought to myself, this might not be so bad after all! Then he said, “You know, in a domestic case, you can’t be bailed out. Your case will be heard in the morning. You’ll be staying overnight.” My vision narrowed as all hope drained out of my soul. I thought I was going to be able to call my attorney dad, beg for some cash, and get out within a couple of hours. My thoughts of making it to my scheduled volunteer time at the school crumbled before my eyes.
The next few steps were humbling. They took my measurements to outfit me in a jumpsuit. “Are you a large or an extra-large?” It was the first statement that completely jarred me out of my thoughts. My face screwed into a “what the frick are you talking about? CLEARLY, I am a MEDIUM,” kind of look. Well, just so my fellow readers know, the jail system ups you a size. If you didn’t feel bad about yourself for being arrested, you could now feel bad about yourself because you are deemed heavier than you believed you were. I jerked the proffered blue jumpsuit, size L, from her cynical, non-manicured hands and stepped into the small closet to change.
Now outfitted with a Correctional Facility bra, I felt safe again. The guard took me down to the holding cell, took out her janitorial-style keyring that could serve as an alternate weapon, and unlocked the cell door. Before allowing me to enter, she said, “These ladies are not your friends. Do not talk to them. Do not discuss your case with them. And, if you’re smart, you won’t tell them where you live. Keep to yourself. We’ll bring you breakfast in a few minutes.” I entered the holding cell thrilled to see that I was the only one present. The long, narrow room had one bench that spanned from the door to the opposite wall. It was deep enough to lay down on, which I had already made up my mind that I was NOT going to do. There was one pay phone affixed to the wall at the end of the room. Even if I had stored a quarter in my, well, never mind, the phone was inoperable. Why it was there, I’ll never understand. It was probably a prop that brought hours of entertainment to the guards who peered in on what we were doing throughout the course of the day.
Regardless, the door slammed behind me and brought a chill that could not be alleviated. I noted the metal toilet/sink/water fountain set up that was in the corner and knew at some point I was going to be forced to use it. I have a very sturdy bladder but I’ve never gone an entire day without needing to evacuate. My survival instincts surprised me as I grabbed for the sole roll of toilet paper sitting beside the contraption. I stuffed wads into my Size L bra to save for later. I was going to hold off on using that thing as long as possible. And no way in hell was I going to take a drink from it.
The guard reopened the cell door and threw in a plastic coated mat and a military grade wool blanket. She said, “Sleep while you can.” I shivered in disgust of using a blanket that many other criminals had curled up beneath but my chill was worse than what comes with a skyrocketing fever. I couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering. And I don’t know if it was the cold or the intense fear of what the rest of the day would bring. Or utter disgust of eventually needing to use that toilet thingy.
This day was never going to end. So I sat on the bench, shivering desperately, and started counting the stark, white cinderblocks that caged me in.
Tune in tomorrow (I promise I won’t make you wait like last time!) to meet the “Cast of Characters” who eventually became my friends. 🙂