Tuesday, April 1, 2008

One Year Ago Today

For the record, this post will have some cusswords in it. It's been a while since I've let loose, but now is the time, so if you're offended by a bit of saucy language, I'd suggest you close the browser window now. And for the record, this is no April Fool's joke. I wish it were, but it isn't.

One Year Ago today began the worst year of my life and it began roughly a few minutes from the time of this post about 1:30 AM Eastern. I was out with my wife and her friends and I wisely decided to be the designated driver for the whole group of them. It was a good night. I had water and diet coke and watched my wife have fun with her friends and I had a good time as well. A couple of her friends who had driven seperately were much too drunk to drive so I decided to try to be a good guy and give all of them a ride home in my little car.

We were en route to the first girl's house and I merged into the turning lane but was told that was the wrong lane so I went back over into the other lane. I then noticed flashing red and blue lights behind me. I thought everything was going to be okay, but boy was I wrong. The officer came up to my window and asked if I had been drinking. I told him no, but everyone else in the car had been drinking and that was why it smelled of alcohol. The officer noticed my nervousness and I told him in the politest manner possible that I was 33 years old and hadn't been pulled over in 16 years. That made no difference to him though since he was bound and determined to do what he wanted to do.

I got out of the car and did the field sobriety test. I've worn glasses for quite some time and the officer made me remove them. I was so nervous and shaky due to me having frequent panic attacks and anxiety. The officers said I failed the Field Sobriety Test and placed me in handcuffs. I was freaking out. I asked for a Breathalyzer test to which the officers refused. They then sat there for quite some time asking me questions and asking me what medications I as on. They must have asked me 50 times what I had to drink that night and each time I answered with the same thing "4 glasses of water and a diet coke". I guess that was a test or something to see if I was lying but I held steady each time they asked.

The officers then took me to the University of Tennessee Medical Center to have blood drawn. There is nothing quite like being led thru a hospital in handcuffs where the public can see you. It's easily one of the most humiliating things I've ever been thru in my life. They took the blood, then it was off to the paddywagon. I sat in the back of the paddywagon for what felt like forever. It started to move and about a half hour later we arrived at the Knox County Intake Center. I was searched, frisked, and felt up by a female officer to make sure I had no weapons or anything else. We then changed into the familiar black and white striped outfits you see on the monopoly board except there was no get out of jail free card in this case. I was locked in a cell with roughly 30 other people, most of whom were drunk. I just sat against a wall thinking what the fuck is going on? I hadn't drank a single thing, in fact, I was the only sober person in the place.

I had my pictures taken and was fingerprinted, and got to make my single call. The fella who took me in told me that he could tell I hadn't been drinking and sat and talked to me for 15 or 20 minutes about what I should do and what my next step should be. He let me call my wife and then it was back into the cell for breakfast. Corn Flakes and Warm Milk. I saw two grown men get into a fistfight over a bowl of shitty corn flakes and the officers had to open the cell and break it up. I just stayed in the corner well out of the way and honestly I was scared to death.

As is often the case computers break down resulting in me staying in jail from 3am till well after the noon hour. Let me tell you something, jail is nowhere I ever want to be again. There's something about being locked up that changes someone. The whole feeling of being caged does something psychologically to you. I was asked if I had problems with people of other races, and the officers stuck me in a cell with an old man who did nothing but scream and moan the whole time I was in the cell with him. I talked to the bail bondsman and roughly 3 hours or so after that, I was let go from jail. I was never so happy to see sunlight and smell fresh air again. I cried alot on the way home and I cried alot in the days that followed. I was a mess and had nightmares as well as a bit of nerve damage from the handcuffs which eventually sorted itself out.

I found a good lawyer thanks to a friend of mine and he helped me so much. The DA's office got my blood test results back eventually (in June) and just like I'd told the officers the night they arrested me, it came back 0.00. My case was thrown out and my record was cleared. The only thing in my system was a nasal spray which I had a prescription for. $1200 dollars later, I was a free man for something I should have never been convicted of in the first place.

For the longest time after that I was angry at the cops and I really feel justified in that anger. Certain people in my life didn't understand the anger and told me to get over it, but the only thing I said to them was "Spend a night in jail and see how easy it is to get over it". It's easy to stand on the side and criticize someone when you've not been thru what they've been thru. I blame one person for the whole mess and they're not here to defend themselves and I don't feel it's right to mention them here. For the most part I'm over my anger now, but I still get a strange feeling in my guy anytime I pass an officer and I don't really like to go out as much anymore and I'm damn sure never being the designated driver again. You can bet your ass that I drove as carefully as possible on the way home tonight and I'll make sure and be home as early as possible today to avoid being out on the roads. What used to be a day for pranks and fun is now a day that I'll never forget in my whole entire life. I had April Fool's day ruined for me forever thanks to the above incident. For the record, I've never drank and driven a car in my whole entire life. I was always so careful to either get a cab or have a DD when I drank, but my carefulness did me no good on April 1, 2007. Please don't drink and drive people.

I'm doing all right and making it in spite of the anniversary today.

Well that's all for now. Sorry for the extremely emotional post, but like I've always said, this blog is a release for me from the tensions of work, home, and everything else. I promise the funny will be back tomorrow. As always, thanks for reading folks and thanks to my turkeys (Jack, Doodle, Hopey, Bubba, and Brooks), Kidd Chris, Howard Stern, Quint, EG, Isles, Debbie, Nicole, Sandy, Lara, my family, Monica, Liz, Jonny, Josh, Tom, and anyone else whom I've forgotten to mention for their entertainment, friendship, and a kind listening ear over the last few months. I've also got to give a special thanks on this column to one of the greatest ladies that I've met in my life: Lori Tucker. Throughout the last month Lori has checked on me daily at work and always been there to give me a hug or give me encouragement and tonight at work, she told me a story that broke my heart in two. I won't mention it here, but suffice to say that when you think you've got it bad, God always shows you someone who's had a much rougher time. I'm convinced that I wouldn't have done near as well over the last little bit without the people mentioned above. A big thank you to all of them and if I ever have the chance, I'll pay you all back somehow. Well it's time to stop writing as Doodle Bug has crawled onto the laptop keyboard and has decided to nap. Thanks again to everyone


1 comment:

Steve Semple said...

Yes, I admit that about 11-12 years ago, I drove "impaired". Thankfully I did not kill or hurt someone, nor did I get arrested. I was at someone's retirement party and my previous job, and basically was stupid- in that "just graduated college" mode. That is and has been the only time I ever have done that. Anytime I go out now, I usually am the DD - which I have no problem with. That stuff is just bad news