Monday, April 30, 2007

Standing at the Crossroads

I am going to jail tomorrow. Yes, I will be spending the next 2 weeks in jail for a DUI that I received in November. It was my second in the last 2 years. So, I am sitting here enjoying the last few hours of freedom for the next 2 weeks.

Now, I am sure there are some that are judgmental saying, "good, you deserve it". Perhaps you are right. But perhaps, you might want to say, "there but for the grace of God, go I." It's certainly not something to be proud of nor something that I will be putting on my resume should I ever decide to look for another job. But, the consolation is if any, is that I will be getting work release, or I am supposed to, so that I can go to work. I will be allowed out for 12 hours a day to go to work and then have to be back after work and stay in 'the tents'. This is the infamous tent city run by the Maricopa Sheriff's Department and none other than Sheriff Joe Arapio. The ironic thing? I know Sheriff Joe personally. I used to technical direct at a radio station some years ago when Joe would fill in for a local show host. He also knows a good friend of mine that I have known for years. Every time I would see Joe, he would ask, "How is Steve?". And when Joe has come to the station, and I was working, he would always say hi. I doubt if I will see him though and even if I did, it probably won't make any difference nor would I expect it to.

Am I worried? not really. A little apprehensive, maybe. Am I scared? no, not really. I figured I brought this on myself and I have no one else to blame. Worrying about something you know is going to happen is pointless. The best thing to do is to just do the best you can, keep your head down and do what is asked and don't cross the guards. I spent a night in there for the 1st one and it was miserable. I didn't get much sleep with the PA blaring constantly and they are always trying to bust people for doing stuff like smoking cigarettes or pot or whatever. They also have a head count and well, they just want to intimidate people.

That's why they call it jail.
I am not proud of it. What I did to get there was stupid. Luckily, I wasn't involved in an accident and I am not going to sit here and 'blame' anything or anyone for the circumstance I find myself in. I am certainly not looking forward to being there and I imagine the next couple of weeks, I will probably not get much sleep, except when I get a chance to get home and catch a couple of hours.

But that doesn't end it. After I am released, I will have to spend 47 days on house arrest or detention or whatever the hell you want to call it. I will be monitored for doing any drinking or drugs (that won't be a problem) and I will also have restricted movement as I have to spend 12 hours a day at the house except to go to work. Now, I have other commitments, so I will have to ask what I can and can not do. Since my mom is not in the greatest of health, I will have to do the best I can to make sure she gets and has what she needs. It might allow me some time to get back to working on some music and other things that I haven't been able to do.


Tent city or the 'Hanoi Hilton' as I call it, is a hole. It's old Army surplus tents, set out in a field
with fences (obviously) everywhere, a guard tower, a PA system that blares constantly and a huge population. There is no TV, no smoking, no coffee in fact, not much at all. The good thing is, unless I do something that pisses off the guards and I am certainly going to avoid that, I can wear my street clothes. The inmates there for more serious crimes or for longer time have to wear the infamous pink underwear and the 'stripes' that you often see in pictures and on TV. The razor's edge you walk in the 'Hanoi Hilton' is that if you cross the guards the wrong way, they will 'roll you up', meaning they put you in 'stripes' and then you probably end up staying there longer than you should be.

The hardest part is when they take you in for processing and they make you wait in a 'tank' sometimes for
up to 8 hours while they take their time. Then they shackle and handcuff you and take you over to the 'yard' where they let you go in. They call that place the 'con-tents'. It will interesting to see in the least. Since I have long hair, I am sure they are going to say I have to cut it. I will politely refuse if they do. The last time I was there they told me that if I didn't cut it, I would go in the 'hole.' I told the D.O. then you will have to put me in the hole. I am not in there for a long time, relatively speaking, and since I do take a shower everyday and wash my hair, or practice good hygiene, I don't see why it's a big deal. But that's part of the intimidation they use.

Anyway, I will try and post my experience while I am there and when I get a chance to get to the computer. I think given my current profession, working in TV and having done 'journalism' and being a 'journalist', I can offer some insights to those who want to know what it's like. Many of the people I will run across are like me, they have done a stupid thing and have to do time for it. I am hoping to get out relatively unscathed, but only time will tell. I have no expectations of what will happen and I am not going to live in fear of anyone or anything. I will get through this, more than likely a wiser and better man for the experience and perhaps I can counsel some of the people in there that struggle with alcohol & drug problems. Maybe I can help someone through their experience there and lead them on to a better life through AA or something. We'll see.

Either way, I am not proud of what I did, it was a very stupid thing to do and I am glad no one got hurt as a result of my careless actions. That being said, that doesn't make me a bad person by any means. It just means I made a mistake. I have thought long and hard about the implications of what happened and I am bound and determined to never repeat the experience. I have worked in the media too long and seen too many stories, some very tragic, that were the result of the very same careless actions that I myself am guilty of.

So, for those of you that know me, wish me luck and say a prayer for me. For those that don't, take heed from my mistake and kindly do not try and repeat it. It is not worth it. just like many times in my life when faced with adversity, I will face it alone. It always seems that I always have to go through such times alone, using only my own skills and knowledge to get through. I have friends that do matter and want to help, but ultimately, it will be just me having to go through this but I will endeavour to get through it as I always have, with God's help.

I will attempt to post all or most of my experience and stories that I bring away from the stay there. I am just praying however, that the time goes fast without any problems so that I can get back to living my life and moving forward. I am going to try and use it as a learning experience and get the most and make the most of a bad situation. Wish me luck, and I will see y'all on the other side.

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