The story of my life keeps unfolding like a bad melodrama on Spanish TV, only without all the steamy romance. This hellish stay in Georgia will be the stuff of legends…or at least the punchline of many jokes.
This is going to be a long one. Pull up a chair, gather the children, crack open a beer, and let the horror slowly unfold.
It starts off Tuesday in Virginia at a KOA campground in Fancy Hill. My miserable night of the crashing Spyder, lost gear, all manner of electronic gadget failures, and a wet tent are a thing of the past. So last night! I’ve slept pretty good even if it was a bit moist. My leg is a bit itchy, but other than that, I’m in good spirits. I pack my gear. I hit the road. It’s hot, it’s sweaty, but all is good. I’m set to drive 460 miles to get to Tucker, Georgia, right outside Atlanta. Google maps tells me it’ll be 8 hours!
8 hours my ass. The mountain vistas of Virginia give way to boring flat lands. Lots of lush forest and the fairly cool weather turns to a soupy hot humidity. Not horrible on the bike, but not great, either. A stop at a rest area to add oil to my bike shaves off 45 minutes. This this is also where I get the full brunt of southern heat and humidity. It’s also where I got a nice 2nd degree burn on my pinky from touching a hot pipe as I was fastening the side panels back to the bike. I might be repeating myself, it’s been a few days since I last updated the blog and I’ve been through a lot. Maybe I’ll add a new twist to it all.
That last photo shows the damage from forgetting to set the parking brake and watching my precious careen into one of the giant rocks that surrounded the campsite. I guess that was a better result than 600 pounds of motorcycle rolling over a neighbor’s tent and crippling a couple a couple children as they slept out in the wild for the first time. I can see where that might’ve put a damper on my vacation. Pretty sure my insurance rates would double after that, but that would still be cheaper than my car’s, so not a completely horrible outcome. Anyway…
Hunger is setting in after an hour and a half of nonstop driving. I finally find a DQ that’s on my route! A burger and fries and soft serve ice cream should do it…no. That’d be to easy. Turns out the Dairy Queen is just a gas station with a crappy ice cream machine behind a thrown together counter in the back. They also served chili dogs. Ugh. I do at least get a poorly made Peanut Buster Parfait.
Another 142 miles later I’ve driven through a good portion of North Carolina. That’s 2.5 hours later and my stomach is disposition is getting cranky for food. I see a sign for Hillbilly’s BBQ in Lowell, just outside of Charlotte. Hell yeah!
The place is virtually empty, never a good sign. I see some guy a few tables over get a plate delivered, he leans over and starts shoveling cole slaw and salad into his mouth. It’s a site to see. He practically takes the meat off the ribs with one smooth motion, cram it in and pull out a bare bone.
Ooh, hushpuppies were damn good snack thrown in front of me as I sat down.
The ribs were very good, if not a bit fatty. The BBQ sauce, I think, was Bulls Eye. Not bad, but kind of lazy. As I paid my bill, I witnessed a bit of a stomach turner. A waitress was rubbing her eyes “I think I’m getting a sty in my eye!”
I’m in South Carolina briefly. Nothing noteworthy except there are some wicked clouds on the horizon. Lightning and scattered speckling of drops on the helmet visor. I throw on the rain gear at the nearest gas station. Nature is conspiring conspiring with Murphy’s Law to make my journey to Georgia an absolute pain! As soon as I get the suit on, it starts pouring rain. Torrential rain. I get on the highway and the drops are pelting me at 70mph and feels like a thousand pin pricks against my skin. I don’t have my armored jacket on under the rain gear because it’s 90 degrees and humid as fuck. Everything is fine until the downpour increases and there are strong gusts of wind blowing sideways. My bike fishtails, scaring the bejeezus out of me. Only momentarily losing control, but the bike’s traction control and stability control work admirably to keep me pointed in the right direction. The visibility is shit, though and because I’m on the interstate, I’m surrounded by semi-trucks. I pull off the road onto the shoulder, there are rivers of rainwater flooding under my bike. The wind is seriously trying to blow me into the highway. My emergency blinkers are on. Because I forgot to zip up the rain gear pants pockets, my jeans are getting soaked. Then, all of a sudden, the rain stops. Or at least ceasing it’s biblical status. I pull onto the highway again and the sky slowly clears up. I cross over into Georgia shortly after.
I’m driving for what seems like hours. I pull off again for gas. I take off the gear, refuel, and check google maps. I’m still several hours from Georgia. It’s now even more humid than it was before, if that’s even possible. The skies turn a lovely slate gray. It starts to rain again. It’s getting late and dark. I fear I may have to call it a night and try to find a motel. I really don’t like that option, so instead, the rain gear goes on again. This time with the armored jacket underneath. Ten minutes later, the rain stops falling, naturally.
Hours later I’m in Atlanta! The GPS tells me I’m at Scott and Deb’s place but the address doesn’t match! I call Scott, but the phone signal blows, fucking AT&T can eat a bowl of dicks. I eventually get through, but it’s voice mail! Damn! I circle back around the block, I’ve got the flash light out and looking at mailboxes and numbers painted on the curb. Nothing. I’m so glad the people in the neighborhood are asleep. I decide to drive further down the street to the dead end and low and behold, my destination. I know it’s the place because I can see Scott in the upstairs window! Yay.
Scott gives me the I-haven’t-seen-you-in-15-years hug and we proceed to drink a plentiful amount of the promised Kraken Spiced Rum. Scott is as funny and prone to go into a Pawtucket retiree impression as I remember when we worked together at Sega Pinball.
They feed me a fine muffin that seems like the fruit of the gods after my miserable drive. Goes well with the rum, too, I might add.
Although I don’t look any worse for the wear in this photo, I must’ve smelled like the business end of a pooper scooper. Hot, sweaty, my shoes smelling like a rotten corpse dragged through bum feces, and the sour odor of rain soaked pants. I repulsed even myself. I did get to meet Jake, Scott’s son, who stayed up just to see the Spyder, and Deb, Scott’s wife. From there it was a short night of catching up, a shower, then bed. Blissful sleep!
Remember that itchy leg I mentioned earlier? Turns out my Virginia campsite was swarming with flesh eating fire ants or some other voracious insects. I just about shit myself when I saw this. It’s Friday as I write this and my leg looks diseased!!!
It’s a double cheeseburger with mayo and pickles and whatnot. A giant pail of French fries. Ridiculous! Jake gets the same thing and manages to finish in half the time it takes me to eat just half my burger. The kid is efficient!
We get back to the house only to realize Scott left his man bag, or murse if you will, at the burger joint. Ugh. Luckily they had it waiting for him, iPad and fancy new Canon camera intact. We pick up Henry, Scott’s other son, from school. I take everybody for a ride down the block on my bike. The kids love it, Scott gets great video, and good times are had by all. Deb gets home a bit later and we go for Thai food! I forget the name of the joint but it is quite good. I get the Tom Ka soup and one of the specials. It’s all a bit fuzzy. Hard to recall details after my ordeal that has yet unfold. Overall a really nice day. Good company. Fine family. Good food. I pack my shit up that night. I get a great night’s sleep and all is well with the world.
Morning comes. I wake around 10am. Scott has taken the kids to school and Deb is already off to work. I pack my bike. I’m ready to go. Scott gets back and says we should check out the farmer’s market. Cool. Never been to one. He says it’s the size of 2 Home Depots. I can’t wait!
The place is HUGE! Scott gives me background on the weird guy that runs the place and how he psychologically profiles his prospective employees and categorizes their personalities. He pairs up all the workers with their opposite personality traits. The guy wouldn’t hire Scott to the art department because he couldn’t isolate his personality. Nuts. To give the guy credit, his employees are mostly immigrants from war torn countries.
The place is huge and has it’s own cafe. You load up your plate and pay by the pound. I get fried chicken. The downside is that the entire building is like a refrigerator, hence the hoody I’m wearing in the middle of August.
I finally tell Scott I really need to get going. It’s almost 3pm. It’s good timing because he has to pick up his kids from school. We get to the house, I strap everything to the bike, say my goodbyes, and hit the road. Everything is going great. GPS is working and showing me the way home. I’m zipping along at 58mph, see the speed limit sign at the last minute, decelerate, then I see the cop up ahead already with his lights on. I pull over into a church parking lot. I give the cop my license and insurance. I’m sweating like a whore in church, not because I’m nervous, but because it’s 94 degrees out here and feels like I’ve stepped into someone’s mouth. Love that description, by the way. Thanks Deb. The cop comes back. He’s got 3 of his buddies with him. Jesus. This isn’t gonna go well. “Do you have another license from another state?” I see the other officers with their hands on their guns. No I tell him. “Step off the bike, sir. Your license has been suspended in Nevada and I’m putting you under arrest.” Wuhhhhh?!
The cop snaps on the cuffs and shows me the back seat. The first part of the many indignations to come. It’s blazing hot and the sweat pours off my face into my eyes. It’s irritating but not as much as my right arm that’s going numb. The tow truck shows up. The big burly driver looks at my bike with awe and confusion. I knock my head against the window of the car, the cop opens the door and I tell him I can show the guy how to drive the bike. Cop switches my cuffs to the front and let’s me out of the car. I point out the parking brake, the ignition switch, the start up acknowledgement button, and the gear shifter. I beg the guy not to crash my baby. It’s a perilously slow drive up the back of the flatbed. I cringe as the bike starts to roll back, but he’s quick to engage the parking brake. Back into the car I go. The cop has lightened up me at this point and gives me my phone to try to contact some people to bail my ass out. Fucking goddamned AT&T fails my dumb ass again. Scott is cutting in and out. He at least hears Delkalb County and before the phone dies I hear him gasp. I send my mother a text knowing that the call won’t go through. She asks “Where are they taking you?!” I respond “Jail!” unfortunately that snarky comment is last thing she hears from me for almost 24 hours.
The decent into hell is about to begin. The last thing the cop tells me is that my bags and property will be across the street at the police station. He takes me inside inside and hands me over to this enormous black guy in swat gear. Taser, pistol, mace, body armor, etc. He searches me, the lady behind the bullet proof glass tells me to look up and my photo is taken. Somewhere there was a camera. I sign a form saying they have my phone and and wallet and whatever was in my pockets. I get cuffed again and led into the room with the holding cells. The guy uncuffs me and leads me to cell number 2. Inside there’s a motley crew of 5 or six black guys and wild eyed Nick Nolte guy in the expected orange jump suit. None of these other guys are wearing the jump suit, so I immediately thing we’ve got Hannibal Lechter in her with us. The guys in the room are all repeat offenders. They know the routine. None of them seem to be too bright, but they’re talkative and animated when telling their stories. They’re friendly enough. No racial tension at all in the room. I impress myself with my steely resolve. I’ve got this thousand yard stare down to a tee.
The room is painted a nicotine off-white. There’s a drain in the middle of the room. The benches are stainless steel. There’s a sink/toilet fixture in the corner with a waist high mason brick wall as a privacy barrier. Many of the guys, over the course of 4 hours, take a piss, always keeping their eyes on the group to make sure no one’s watching. Thankfully, the shitting is saved for much later.
I was brought in around 3 and it’s not until 5 or 6 until someone tells me anything. Unfortunately that turns out to be demands to go over to the lady in the corner to be finger printed. I’m then sent back to the holding cell. An interminable amount of time later and more stories of armed robbery and running from the cops, my name is called. I’m headed over tom the nurse. Ugh. TB test, blood pressure, and warnings about sexual abuse. Awesome! I get tagged with a bracelet. Back to holding cell 3. Smaller than cell 2 with the same number of people. I wait even longer this time. No water but the trickling from the sink toilet. The room is stifling. No AC of course, what do I think this is, a Motel 6? guys are being called out. Finally it’s me and this short 30 something guy. He’s the one that tells me he got pinched for not paying his child support and was caught hiding under the sink when the cops kicked in his door. He let’s out a sigh of relief and runs over to the toilet, drops his drawers and takes a huge dump. Did I mention how small this room was and the lack of air circulation?
I try to shut my eyes for a few minutes, I’ve been here for like seven hours and still no phone call. I’m almost asleep when all the guys that had been pulled out were brought back in. Another hour or so of ignorant “if only I had run” or “that bitch better bail me out, I got the pot for her” conversations and my name is called again. Fat Guard #1 tells me to stand against the wall. I’m numbering the guards because they were all fat turds and all unprofessional. They kept losing people’s paperwork and making them redo all the stupid pointless shit they’d made them do hours before. They’d toss keys around the holding area, after times telling the inmates to pick them up and bring them over. They’d stop processing people so they could joke and leer at the hot administrative chicks, who’d giggle and flirt back. This place was a fucking nightmare. Anyway, I’m standing outside the holding cell waiting for god knows what, when this obviously gay kid gets dragged in. He’s taller than me, totally ripped, but totally girly. All the dudes in the cells were freaking out about the “faggot” the guards were mocking him behind his back as they put him in a cell by himself. He started yelling “Am I going upstairs? Goddamnit, am I going upstairs?!” I get flagged over by Fat Guard #2 to go over to get ID’d. What the fuck, finger printed again? This time it’s electronic. Surprising for this backwoods shithole to have real modern technology. I get my mugshot taken. As you can see below, it’s the Brady Bunch of Horror! Worlds most wanted jaywalkers and traffic violators. Ok, Shirtless Nick Nolte, I was told, shit himself as they brought him in…
Back to to the holding cells, this time cell 5. To be honest, I can’t remember the exact order in which things happened or the cells I was thrown into. They all looked similar and all got progressively smaller and hotter. It’s now 10pm. The guys that were pissing in the toilets and kicking the flusher because they’re afraid touching it because, dear god, there might be germs, are now lying on the floor, spread out under the filthy benches with toilet paper pillows. All class, these guys.
Finally, I’m called out to Make my phone call. The lady behind the counter asks if i can post bail of $1093. I say, debit or credit. She looks at me like I slapped the Pope and says “Cash only or call someone to bail you out.” Wow cash only in the 21st century sounds a little scammy. The lady says “phones over there, keep it short, and no long distance.” Nice, that leaves out 95% of all my contacts, including my mother who is probably freaking out. I try to dial a bail bondsman that they have listed on the wall. Nothing. I say the phone won’t dial out. She says “You gots to dial 9.” I try again. Nothing. I try to tell the lady it’s still not working but Fat Guard #3 is now flirting with the lady. I interject politely, she shoots me a dirty look and says “you gotta dial the area code.” For the love of fucking god, you dumb cow, why didn’t you explain that all up front?! Fucking asshole! I get the bail guy. He explains what I need to do. I give him Scott’s number. He’s the first polite and professional person I dealt with since leaving the cop car. I call Scott and he’s already on the phone with the bail bondsman. Says even if he posts bond right now, it’ll be 4 to 8 hours before I’m released?! All this effort and time for a traffic violation. Seems like a waste of tax payer money.
Back to my fucking holding cell. For another 5 hours. It’s at this point the Fat Guard #1 comes in doing a roll call. He calls out names and we shout out. He calls out one last name and no one responds. “Oh, right, that’s the fag over there.” People wonder why so many people hate law enforcement. This is only the traffic violators, can you imagine how real criminals are treated?
Another hour goes by and they pull us all out. Fat Guard #1 reads us the riot act about not talking in the halls, not eyeballing him or he’ll make sure we’re here for 48 hours. Guard #2 comes over with a heavy chain that has hand cuffs all in a row. We’re all paired off and locked together. We march down the hall through two or three solid doors. Be fore the last door we’re told to grab a blanket and then rushed onto the main prison floor. My hopes of being released any time soon are dashed. The prison floor has the control room in the center and ringed by the hallway and big pie wedges that contain the jail cells. The pie wedge we’re escorted into has two floors with a stairwell up the center. Each room, or cell, if you will, has the gross sink/toilet fixture and a bunk bed. The back wall has a slit for a window that is six inches high and about three feet wide and conveniently seven feet above the floor. They uncuff us and we all pair off. Once again, I get to spend time with the one guy that actually took a shit in my presence. He takes the lower bunk. I climb up feeling my old age as the steel bunk digs deep into my fat pale gut. I immediately fall asleep realizing my white guy indignation will get me nowhere. Not that race came into my thinking at all. It’s more shock at the treatment you get for non-violent traffic violations. I still find that hard to fathom. Who wrote these laws or procedures? Why hasn’t anyone fought to change them? Is it because it mostly affects the poor and uneducated? Is this the way the predominantly religious moral majority in the south treats their fellow man? If so, these hypocrites deserve all the derision and contempt that proper progressive society gives them. I’ll take a screaming pinko Hollywood liberal over these shallow minded bible bigots.
Anyway, I wake up to a horrific clanging sound. Chunk chunk chunk chunk WAM! WAM! WAM! A banshee screams almost inaudibly from a loud speaker “better get up if you what breakfast.” It’s 6am or there about. I’m pretty sure we were asleep for only 2 hours. We’re fed this hideous plate of culinary fuck-you. Stale corn bread, watery grits with melted cardboard butter pats floating in it, rehydrated scrambled eggs, and a salt packet. Gruesome and designed to make the food snob in me cry the tears of a sad clown. I toss my styrofoam container in the trash and head back to my cell. Screw this bullshit. Once again the doors lock one after another. I sleep for another two hours. The horrible progressive clanging of the doors wakes me again. I think I was down for another 2 hours, but there’s no real way of telling. The guys I’ve come to know and never want to see again are all in full swing with the posturing, hands down their pants working their junk in some weird macho posturing or to hold their pants up. They’re talking about ways to get a license in Alabama because their computers are so slow that you’ll be given a license before Georgia has a chance to complain. These guys are masters of their own destiny, except for their regular bouts of incarceration. An hour slowly churns by…
Over the loud speaker one of the female guards squelches out a sequence names. I’m one of them. I really hope this isn’t a march to the showers to be deloused. No, it’s a trip to another holding cell. Motherfuckers. They keep us waiting so they can fingerprint us again. Jesus Christ! My name is called again and I go to the door marked D. It’s a small room with a lady behind bullet proof glass. She shoves a paper under the window, I’m signing to acknowledge I haven’t been raped or murdered, I guess. I go back into the holding and 15 minutes later I’m through the door and collecting my property. Out in the lobby Scott is waiting for me. Haven’t seen the guy in 15 years and he’s posted bail for me and stayed up for hours waiting to get me out. Don’t know how I’ll repay him for all he and his wife have done for me. They’re awesome.
I’m released and my outlook has changed. I’m hardened. I don’t care much for government anymore. Fuck the police. Sorry, Mark, you’re still my favorite asshole cop cousin-in-law. Now to deal with my shit in the property lockup.
I get back to Scott’s house he’s told me all about his kids being worried about me. I call my mom, but once again AT&T’s network is fucking bullshit. We have to resort to reliable facebook communique and text messaging. Sad that phone technology has taken a turn for the worse oin the digital age. Scott has to listen to my bitter rants for several hours and I have to give him credit for not telling me to shut the fuck up and take responsibility for my actions. The jerk, I know he’s thinking it. Ha.
Deb gets home and we all go to the pizza joint Shorties!
The food on the other hand was outstanding! This is the John Lee Hooker. BBQ chicken, jalapeños, and Cole slaw. Fan-fuckin-tactic. The manhattan I ordered didn’t suck either. I needed to tie one on after my day. The rest of the pizzas looked amazing, too. Wood fired ovens are the bomb.
Deb ordered an impressive looking salad, but my prejudice against the healthy and natural kept me from photographing it. Sorry vegan followers. The chocolate cookies with whip cream, on the other hand were outstanding.
I should mention, in all fairness, that I went to Chick-fil-a for lunch, but I don’t want to give them any publicity. They’re run by a right wing, anti-gay organization out of Texas that creeps me out and flies in the face of my political leanings.
Damn good chicken sandwiches though. But fuck them tea-baggin’ cocksuckers, right in the hind quarters…with a big black dildo. Too much texture for the general blogging population? Meh, too bad. We’re here, get used to it.
Friday was spent writing this epic blog entry. Hours went into its crafting. Many plugins to power outlets were needed. Awkward moments of typing while people were talking to me went into this piece of self interested rambling. I apologize to everyone offended by my singular action to disseminate the story of my life. This shit needs to get out into the world. How often does one person get locked up in a southern prison and lived to feel indignant about it? Well, quite a few, I’m sure. It’s embarrassing and humiliating and really goddamned inconvenient. I’ll get over it, even if I don’t stop talking about it. Those ass clowns stole 20 hours of my life over a traffic ticket. I think I’m entitled to whine about it. oh, and I need to fly back in a month because this backwoods state won’t just let me pay the tickets off. I’m sure this melodrama will play out over the coming weeks.
Friday was fun. Went to the pool and got this humiliating shit to show for it…
What can I say, I can’t resist a bit of physical comedy…in slow motion. Yeesh, I need to work out.