Monday, July 5, 2010

Please God... at least let my mugshot come out cute.

I'm at the apartment now listening to the fireworks exploding outside.  And this sounds silly and way too forrest gumpish, but i can see the reflection of the multicolored confetti lights over the lake which is our balcony view.  I tied back the curtains and raised all the blinds and Meems, Peaps, and i are respectively napping, sniffing about, and admiring the show from the coffee table.  And per usual, I'm sitting here with my legs tucked beneath me typing this blog entry (which will be my most difficult to date... you'll understand why... keep reading).  Oh, and just in case you wanted to know...i'm also watching Andrew Zimmern and waiting for a Digiornos supreme pizza in the oven onto which i added extra onions, green peppers, parmesan, jalapenos, and salt and pepper (because there are never enough toppings evarrr).

Today was a cloudless, crystalline, smolderingly hot, bombshell of a PERFECT sailboat summer day.  We got up at around 7:30, tied on bikinis and swim trunks and went out to Lake Lanier in a speedboat with an icebox full of beer, cold white wine, the chicken wraps i made this morning out of a fresh rotisserie chicken mixed with sour cream and a bit of cream of mushroom, cumin, lettuce, corn&bean salsa, and all wrapped up in an extra large soft flour tortilla.  I also packed cupcakes, bags of candy and family size Doritos, wavy bbq lays, cookies, deli turkey, salsa, dips, endives, and snacks gaaaaloooore that i had purchased in bulk at Walmart the day before.

I used to love Walmart because with cooking for 3 big guys (and my insatiable, ginormous scoobysnack and soda requirements) i always have to buy things in bulk and Walmart is ridiculously cheap and has eeeeeverything i'd ever need.  (But now i hate them and want to sue them... just keep reading and you'll see why). 

Anyways, today we had so much fun on the lake.  Beer tastes the best on a gorgeous boat-filled lake with the wind blasting in your face and the smell of tanning oil in the air.  It's just like that.

Yesterday, the day before July 4th.

I had Saturday off to prepare for our day on the lake.  I took the dogs out and set out fresh filtered water for them before grabbing my keys and bag, slipping into my keds, and rushing out the door.  First stop:  Walmart to buy food, snacks, and spf90032.

To make a long story short:  as always, i walked into the grocery store with an organized and specific list and ended up at the checkout line with my cart overflowing with my list items plus all this extra unnecessary crap.  That day, i was so scatterbrained and had soooo much crap that it filtered out to the bottom of the cart.  Somehow, in my manic holiday weekend rush, i didn't see a few items that must've fallen behind the 24 box of soda or something and the cashier lady didn't see them either because she scanned the soda with a gun and didn't say anything.  i checked out while i was on the phone with my sister laughing and talking, took my receipt and stashed it in my bag, and headed to the doors struggling to push my 200 lb cart (because i somehow always get the cart with the one retarded wheel that won't turn).

And then.... it happened.

A man in plain clothes stopped me and mumbled something.  "What???" i ask totally baffled.  And then i realized what he was saying.  "Ma'am, i believe you have items that you did NOT pay for."  I was still confused and took out my receipt.  WTF is this dude talking about?  i had just bought over $100 worth of groceries!  As i walked back with him, i kept picturing how sorry he'd be when he realized his mistake and how he'd try to compensate me for my trouble.  He rushed me to a back office, sat me down, and retrieved the items in my cart that i hadn't even noticed that i apparently had not paid for.

The items are:  1 bottle of A1 sauce.  3 cloves of garlic.  1 ribeye steak.  I had totally missed these items in my cart.  But i figured that i'd be ok since i obviously had not meant to steal these dumb things.  I'm scatterbrained.  But that does not make me a food thief. 

"Ok, that's fine, i'll go pay for them now.  I must have missed those."
"No ma'am. I'm afraid that won't be necessary at this time."
"I don't understand... i purchased all this other stuff...."
"License or ID please."

Here is the turning point of the entire day:
He asked for my social security but i told him i didn't know it by heart, because i learned never to give my social unless absolutely necessary.  In hindsight, i realize this was my biggest mistake because he conducted a search by name in the Walmart database or something while i sat back, terrified.  "Wow, you're in here a LOT."  i was flabbergasted.  "Wha~!!!!?"  I couldn't even protest because before i knew it, he was making a bunch of phone calls and I started having a panic attack--so hard for me to breathe and i put my head down, concentrating.  I didn't know it while it was happening and was too freaked out to care at the time, but he was calling the police.  After he put that call through, he sat back and asked me for my middle name.

"I....I....I don't have a middle name."  


"Oh.  Never mind, that's not you then."

But it was too late because the cop had already arrived.  i was shit out of luck.  WHY hadn't i just given him my social security number!!!??  I could have been walking out of there by now if they had seen that i wasn't one of the other Elizabeth Parks in the national Walmart database.  How many Elizabeth Parks steal from Walmart anyway?  JESUS yall screwed me by having my name.

The cop.  A red-haired, freckle-faced, 30something-year-old SOULLESS ginger.  He just LOOKS like the bully older kid in middle school.  His name is Kenneth Peck.  He is a mean, mean man!  He grabbed my little hoodie sweater and bag and said "wow, is this Gucci?  You steal and you carry a Gucci bag? That's somethin'."  Then he went on to make comments about my hair color, my dress, my tattoos, my eyelashes, and the items i allegedly SHOPLIFTED!  I couldn't even speak because i was overwhelmed.  How do you form words when people are treating you so horribly and mocking you?  I tried in vain to explain myself and to reason with the officer.... "how can you accuse me of shoplifting when its so obvious that it was an accident?  and plus, i paid for everything else?  Why would i check out and pay for all my groceries and decide to just steal 3 cloves of garlic, A1 sauce, and a ribeye last minute?  PLEASE~!!!!!  ARE U KIDDING ME?!!?"

He got SO riled up that i was getting an attitude, but how can you not get an attitude when something this absurd happens?  u know what...YES I have been guilty of shoplifting-when i was 17 and that was clothing and accessories - but who didn't do that when they were young?  But honestly, i am freaking 27 years old, and do i look like i would steal food?  hello, i'm not homeless.  and on top of that.... HELLO I PAID FOR EVERYTHING ELSE! OBVIOUSLY IT WAS A MISTAKE ON MY PART AND MAYBE EVEN THE CASHIER'S FOR FAILING TO REMIND ME OR SAY SOMETHING!!!  Here's my wrist.  Slap it.  Let's go. I wanna check out and go home now.

And then he said the cruelest thing ever. "I'm going to throw away all of the groceries in your cart because a thief doesn't deserve to keep anything."

Ok, now i think this guy is a sadist.  I think a long time ago, he might've had a crush on a girl like me and had his heart broken or something and has an inferiority complex that he takes out on helpless women.  He probably got a badge so he could pick on people like me.  He is a bad, bad person.  At this point i almost started to cry but i didn't because i was way too pissed to cry, and i wanted to kill this pig.  I turned to one of the Walmart workers and said "I need those groceries for the lake tomorrow.  Those are mine and they're paid for and you have no right to throw them away."  Finally, they let me make a call to get them picked up. 

Ok, so let's hurry this story along, shall we?  He cuffed me so hard my wrists felt like snapping.  He then complained that my wrists were too tiny and said i needed to gain weight.  HORRIBLE.  What kind of cop says things like this???  He kept asking in this mocking tone, "why would you get Queen Elizabeth tattooed on your wrist like that?"  But you know what?  I get it.  Cops are allowed to make you feel terrible.  A lot of them get off on that.  They think they're justice incarnate.  We live in a country of puritanical hypocrites.  He led me to the patrol car--parading me through Walmart with my hands cuffed behind me like a lamb to the slaughter--shoved me in, and took me to Dekalb County Jail.  He ate peanut butter crackers in the car.

Once i arrived, I was booked.  I had to get a tetanus shot, syphilis test, and pregnancy test.  All negative.  I was tossed into a holding cell with hysterical drunk white girls, pregnant girls, and black girls who looked like Precious.  Everyone was totally innocent.  Saying "i'm innocent" is mad cliche in a holding cell.  I hate cliches so i shut my trap and pretend slept with my head against the wall, hugging my knees to my chest.

The whole time i kept thinking how this is a huge joke.  I kept thinking Pleeeeease God at least let my mugshot come out cute.  I kept thinking, God if this is your way of punishing me for past sins, please give me some credit now.  I kept thinking about Officer Peck's peanut butter crackers and how disgusting the sound of his crunching was.  And how disgusting peanut butter crackers are in general.  Holding cells are infinitely bacterial and putrid.  They crammed 10 girls into ours.  I sat holding my knees like that for 7 hours.  Then my name was called and i was taken to the multiple purposes room to change into an orange jumpsuit.  it gave me the worst rash on my back because it was filthy.  i had to wear tube socks and those korean flip flop thingies that inmates wear.  You know... i felt kinda cool like i was in a rap video.  I sorta wished i could take a picture of myself in the orange jumpsuit with DEKALB COUNTY JAIL on the back and send it to my sister because she would never believe i was in the slammer!  A lesbian woman officer gave me a duffel bag that contained a blanket, razor, soap, toilet paper, pillow cover, and bed sheet.  Then an officer cuffed me and i shuffled along as she led me to another wing of the building.  I was led to gen pop.  Gen Pop in Dekalb County Jail looks like something straight out of NatGeo's Lockdown.  Officers monitor inmates from a tower.  Other than that, you're on your own with 50 inmates who may or may not be crazy, lesbo, violent, or lesbo.  I must admit, i almost crapped myself.

The door buzzed open and then slammed behind me so loudly and with such finality.  By now, even the inmates who had been watching tv in the far corner got up to come towards me and i found myself in the middle of a swarm of some SCARY. ASS. BITCHES.  all i could see was ORANGE and black girls and chola eyebrows and weaves.  almost immediately, someone took my duffel bag and dispersed the items.  I had no blanket.  I was scared shitless but i kept a brave face and sat at an empty table.  Inmates are like wary animals.  They just come up to you and poke you and examine you all over.  One girl asked me which cell i had.  Another girl yelled "she ain't your cellmate!"  An asian woman came up to me and i got so scared because she looks like one of those Mayan women from Mel Gibson's movie.  Her name is Mina Thompson and i swear to you she goes, "I'm in here for prostitution.  And i have the AIDS.  I gained 15lbs here in 25 days because i was a crack addict.  And i'm not Asian, i'm American Eskimo from Alaska.  I call your leftovers."  She explained to me how hungry everyone always is even after meals and showed me a list of special snacks that inmates can buy if they have money on their accounts.  If you have even 20 dollars on your inmate account, you can buy soap, toothpaste, gummy bears, chips, etc.  It made me realize how important it is to send money to friends in jail or prison.  It does go a long way.  It makes a world of difference.

I went upstairs to my cell #510 and climbed into the top bunk.  i had no mattress.  it was so cold i wanted to cry.  i was so pissed at the bitch who stole my blanket.  One thing i cannot withstand is being cold.  i can take having my hair tugged by black girls but i cannot take the cold.  i hugged my knees to my chest and prayed.  i counted the minutes in my imagination because there are no clocks anywhere.  everything's so disorienting in jail.  i took a peepeee and was scared to flush because it would be too loud.  being in jail feels like being on a long flight and you're DYINGGG to get home.  as i sat counting the minutes in my top bunk, i thought to myself how similar this cell was to my Creswell dorm room at UGA.  the block walls, the desk, the floors.  the size of the room.

every other hour, an officer would come by the cell doors and rap on every single one to check that everyone is OK.  it's never quiet.  there's always someone banging or someone's lunatic laughter piercing the brief moments of silence.

Finally.  Finally.  On the twelfth hour of my jail stay, my cell door was buzzed unlocked.  it jolted me back to reality and i blinked really hard wondering if we'd finally landed and climbed down my bunk and ran down the stairs to press the intercom button.  "PARK!  URE GOING HOME!"  i was so happy and so thankful i could cry.  I was trembling so hard from the cold.

I got to change and take off the nasty jumpsuit and granny panties and sports bra ...and get back into my sundress, keds, and hoodie.  I got my tiffany diamond necklaces back (i'd been so scared that the workers would steal them and say they'd been lost).  i walked out of jail and into the night thick with the sound of crickets and a summer night was never sweeter.  12 hours in jail and it absolutely felt like forever.  i cannot even imagine what a week feels like.  (my friend Karleen once spent 5 nights in jail for some BS also... u can read about that on her blog).  i arrived home past 2am and got to bed around 5 after the longest shower ever.

and then i woke up at 730 am for independence day on Lake Lanier.
Independence day, indeed.
They can take our mugshots, but they can never. take. our. FREEEE DOMMMM!!!
(sad clown) =(


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    It's much similar to yours. It's amazing how life works, how such unpredictable things can happen at such unpredictable times. Well in my case it was a tad bit predictable because it was for tickets. But, I had never been to jail in before. Unlike many people I've never stolen, never taken or soled drugs, and I've definitely never prostituted. I'm not saying I'm a angel (although I was for
    Halloween 3 years in a row) but many girls in jail are in jail for those exact things. What sucks is that the cops could care less whose never been there before, in their eyes everyone is exactly the same and are treated exactly the same. LIKE TRASH!
    I was 27 years old (like you) when it happened to me. Diving home from work I was pulled over. The cop was really nasty to me also, saying things like "You have the money to live in this area, but you can't pay your tickets", "Hurry up and call someone to pickup your car cause I'm supposed to be getting off duty right now", and "What type of drugs do you have on you". They assume that everyone does drugs, and if you live in a nice area of town you're able to pay those expensive tickets.
    When we finally got to the jail I felt like I was in a war zone. There was screaming, fighting and crying. I was very afraid. I saw many girls that were there for theft (unlike you, they stole intentional) and others for prostitution. There were women there for tickets like me, but I chose to keep to myself and wait out the long flight, as you like to call it.
    In my county things are a little different. We were not given a bag of goodies we were only given a blanket, and there were mattresses but not enough for everyone. I swear it could have been a bloody massacre over those mattresses! Someone stole my blanket also but I was so afraid and mentally in shock of the fact that I was even there, I could care less about that smelly blanket. The person who stole my blanket was black also just like in your story, but there were mostly Mexicans at this jail. The place had a gross stench to it, indescribable like two or three bad smells put together. I never moved much or talked much, I just set out my time.
    I am African American, but I'm not that African American girl that America stereotype us all to be. I'm actually the exact opposite. I was raised with dignity, I go to church, I go to college, I work and most importantly I don't believe in having children before marriage (that's just me).
    Although jail was a reality shock and I feel it took my innocence because I had to experience things, hear things, and be around things that I never had to before; I do feel it brought me wisdom and taught me lessons. I look at the brighter side of things now, because God makes everything happen for a reason.
    About 21 hours later I was finally released, and know it's 8 months later and I'm searching like crazy for my mugshot, and I'm thinking like you "Please God... at least let my mugshot be cute"!

    Take Care,