It started as a joke. It is a joke, but still, I want to achieve it. Here it is: I want to go seven days, seven glorious days, without having to go to the jail, court, hospital, doctor, detox, or have the police come to my door.
The last ten days have been an utter disaster. I’ve managed to go to every one of those places and most of them more than once, plus I had FOUR sheriff’s deputies at my door. In the last two weeks I’ve only managed to go two days without having to go to one of those places.
But it’s not all bad. When I went to court the defendant’s lawyer liked me so much he took me out to lunch. That was nice.
The worst was spending the majority of my Sunday bailing someone out of jail. What a fiasco. It all started New Year’s Day when my friend managed to get himself picked up on a warrant after getting himself stinking drunk. I wasn’t going to bail him out. I’ve never bailed anyone out of jail — even Graeme. I figure if someone gets themselves locked up they can figure out how to get themselves out. Maybe they will learn a lesson.
Carl’s situation was slightly different. If I didn’t bail him out he would have been kicked out of treatment. I made him sit for two days. But on Sunday he needed to be on the train to St. Cloud by 4:45pm or he would be discharged from the program. I decided to be merciful and bail him out.
I went to the cash machine and got $60.00. I figured I wouldn’t have any problem parking downtown on a Sunday morning. Wrong! I forgot about the Vikings game. I got stuck in traffic and there was no parking. So I went back home and had Kevin drive me to the jail. I figured we could take the train to Lake Street and then walk home when he got released.
I went to the Public Safety Building to pay the bail. The guard told me I needed the EXACT amount of money. I had three twenties from the cash machine. His bail was $50.00. So I had to go walking around downtown Minneapolis in -8 degree cold looking for some place to change a twenty for two tens. I was not happy.
I got the change and paid the bail. The bailer told me he would be out by 2:00pm. At 2:15 I asked the deputy how much longer it would be. He tells me the shift change is at 2:00pm and the person that actually releases prisoners won’t be in until 2:30 so it will be an hour or two more until he is released. I waited very impatiently for another hour and thankfully he got released.
When we got home, Carl discovered that the police had confiscated his tribal identification card. This is not unusual. When Matt got arrested the police “lost” his wallet which contained his state identification, his tribal identification card, and his school id. Despite three trips to the jail and the third precinct, Matt never got his wallet back. Carl’s backpack with his hat, gloves, and jacket were confiscated. He probably won’t get them back. And how will Carl pay to replace his “lost” identification card? By selling his blood. Here’s the worst of it: because so many people are selling their blood to survive, the price of blood donations has dropped $5.00.
I didn’t realize until I was in the Public Safety Building that I had been there before. Graeme had been arrested again, for what I don’t remember, and he was having his first court appearance. He had holds on him from other counties so he wasn’t going to be released. I just went so I could see him.
All the prisoners came in, 20-30 of them, dressed in bright orange jumpsuits. All of us spectators were seated behind a thick glass wall on the side of the courtroom. We could hear what was going on in the courtroom via a one-way audio link. We were told that no eye contact, gestures, mouthing words, or any kind of contact with the prisoners was allowed. I don’t remember all of the details of that day but I do remember being admonished once that no “conversation” or contact with the prisoners was allowed. A little bit later Graeme pulled up his sleeve and showed me his bruised and swollen arm from all the drugs he had been shooting up. I don’t remember if I cried or just had a horrified look on my face but the judge saw me and told me he would kick me out if we “communicated” any more. It was a horrible day. Do the authorities really think it’s necessary for flesh and blood human beings to act like a brick on the wall when their loved one is sitting in an orange jumpsuit in front of a judge? Does it really need to be that impersonal?
And add to my displeasure of dealing with the jail the cost of collect calls. The first collect call from jail cost me $10.00!!! The next calls cost $2 something. I hope it’s not $2 per minute, otherwise we probably racked up another $30.00 in collect call charges. I sure would like a reasonable explanation as to why I can talk to my friends in Egypt for TWO hours for ten dollars, but it costs that much for a collect call from the jail that is only a mile away.
Carl was mighty happy to get bailed out. He said he was locked up with a cell full of guys most of whom were locked up for domestic assault. He didn’t sleep much. One guy was telling his “homies” how he got stabbed after he kicked his girlfriend/wife in the face. Nice. Maybe Happy New Year’s partying brings out the worst in people.
Anyway, I’m still hoping to achieve my seven day goal. Although I didn’t go to any of those places today, I talked to someone in detox, I talked to the court about a notice I got regarding a hearing going on today, I talked to someone in the hospital, and I made a whole bunch of phone calls trying to get court records for someone else. So I’m not sure today should count towards my goal. And tomorrow is out already — doctor’s appointment.