Yep, that's right, readers. I now have a record. While you've been sitting there, waiting somewhat impatiently for my next blog entry, wondering what could be the hold up, I've been living a life of crime and debauchery, including a 22 hour stay in the not so luxurious Fulton County Jail. Now, though, I'm back to share my somewhat jaded insights, gleaned from inside the big house.
Thirteen things observed while in jail:
1)Forgetting to pay a traffic ticket is frowned upon to an alarming degree here in Georgia. Even if one of the top 10 people in your world passes away mere days after the incident, even if the incident took place in another state, do NOT forget your traffic ticket, because Georgia cops don't play.
2)Even though remembering to pay your tickets is KEY, no one will remind you. This is an interesting point, in my opinion, because it would seem more cost effective to send people a reminder note, rather than dragging their ticket forgetting asses off to jail.
3)If your license is suspended because you forgot to pay a traffic ticket, no one needs to tell you that, either. I did make the point to a law enforcement official, mentioning that if I'd been TOLD I had a suspended license I would not have driven on it. His response? "No one needs to TELL you, you know what you did." Hmm...
4)Yes, handcuffs are considered ABSOLUTELY necessary. Seriously. Even if you're a middle class Mama, driving a mini-van with a child safety seat in the back, if you are one of those dangerous criminals who forgets to pay your traffic ticket, you're going to be frisked by the side of the road, handcuffed, and taken to jail. SERIOUSLY.
5)Frisking is a really popular activity in jail. Even after you've been made to strip completely naked and put on jail clothes (more on that in a minute), they still feel the need to pat you down every time you walk from one room to another, because... actually, I have no idea. I found it completely mystifying, to be honest. What in the world could we have obtained between the dressing room and the cell block?
6)On the OTHER hand, there is some mysterious social activity that goes on in jail, so I may be talking out of turn to wonder how someone could have gotten contraband while walking a hallway. Consider this: There was an inmate worker who was sweeping the floor while simultaneously flirting with one of my cell mates. I saw him sweep a scrap of paper and small pencil into the cell so that she could write her address on the paper and kick it back out to him. I am SO not kidding. Interestingly, she gave him a false address. Still, I thought it was rather an ingenious move on his part.
7)Flirting in jail is not limited to the inmates. While I, personally, could not fathom how any of the people who had JUST gotten to the jail were interested in anything other than getting the heck out of there, I did watch the flirtation between law enforcement officials with some interest, because it seems an unlikely place for romance to blossom. Then again, I guess you typically meet people at work, right? Interesting.
8)The flirting of the guards was of particular wonder to me because they were all such seriously mean bad-asses. REALLY. Not nice to the inmates. While some of the people working more administratively-(for example, in the medical office and the fingerprint room)- were decently human in their interactions, the guards and other law enforcement types were just plain harsh. I mean, come on! How am I supposed to know not to turn around in my seat? No need to scream at me as though I've pulled a weapon, a simple "you're not allowed to turn around" would have sufficed.
9)Final note on flirting. If it seems that women in sheriff's department uniforms are not going to be looking all that attractive, consider this: there was a guard in there with glittery false eyelashes. Really? You wear false eyelashes with sparkles to your job at the JAIL?
10)Back to the stripping naked issue... until my adventure, I was unaware that one is not allowed to wear one's own underwear in jail. Nope, you have to strip down in a room full of people and put on jail issued undergarments, then the clothing with "Fulton County Inmate" all over it.
11)Here's another thing I didn't know! There are no clocks in jail. If an inmate wants to know what time it is, she has to ask a guard. And did I mention the guards are mean? Yeah, they might tell you what time it is, or they might pretend not to hear you, or they MIGHT (and this is my personal favorite) say "You got someplace to be? You gonna be LATE." Ah, charming.
12)Fun fact: everyone processed into the Fulton County jail is tested for syphilis and tuberculosis. Were you aware you can get those diseases through traffic infractions? Me neither, but I'm happy to report I'm all clear. Whew!
13)Last but not least, the meal schedule in jail: Breakfast, 3:30am. (?!) Lunch, 10:30 am. Dinner, 6:00pm. What the heck kind of screwy schedule is that?!?
Needless to say, I'm happy to be back on the other side of all that. I do wonder, though, how many drunk drivers got away that Friday night while THREE police officers were attending to the business of arresting me. I also wonder how much of the taxpayers money is spent every year on food, laundry, and housing for "overnight guests" who simply forget to pay a traffic ticket. Seems rather a waste to me, but maybe that's just my criminal mastermind side speaking.