Exactly three hours ago, I ran out of Salt Lake County Jail thrilled with the falling snow, fresh air and bright moon. Freedom is amazing, I thought. For exactly 4.5 hours tonight, yours truly was locked up in jail. That's right, jail. But I'm getting ahead of myself. And like Julie Andrews sang in Sound of Music, Let's Start From the Very Beginning...
I was eating dinner with friends when we were interrupted by a colleague regarding an urgent matter. I followed him to two policemen, who notified me of an outstanding warrant from a year ago. As a result, they would be arresting and escorting me to the Salt Lake County Jail. While they continued talking about bail and possibly spending the night in jail, I was hit with the full realization that this wasn't some cheap punk'd practical joke. After promising to be discreet, they slapped handcuffs on me and marched me to their car in plain site of my coworkers, friends and random strangers staring at me like I was a national threat.
Fast forward to being handcuffed to a rail in a holding cell. Still in a shocked I-Can't-Believe-This-Is-Happening-To-Me state, I became aware of my five prison mates. There were two African American males, two Arab-looking males, and the fifth was a Caucasian female. In complete silence, we waited as the jail officials individually conducted a body search. I was wearing overalls at the time and panicked because I was only wearing boxer briefs beneath them. This led to a very nervous confession forcing the searcher to awkwardly pat me down without removing my overalls...
Led to the"Pit", I was directed to the wall of phones and realized that I had to let someone know I was in jail. Not having memorized too many phone numbers, I called my cousin, Pono and asked him to call friend, Tiffany for a ride. If I were released... After taking mugshots, fingerprints, and sitting in three different holding cells, I had my pretrial. Turns out, I had received a ticket a year ago for a broken tail light. Because I had not paid the ticket, I was charged for vehicle equipment requirement. Even my pretrial admin could not believe the silliness of my arrest. She immediately issued my release papers and I returned to my group excited to be leaving. Unfortunately, not everyone in my group was as lucky. One of the African Americans has 5 felony and 3 misdemeanor charges. The other had 5 different traffic warrants. Both would be spending 1-6 months in jail. In order to take my mind off their news, I began watching the news interested to see who got kicked off American Idol when mugshots of the 2 Arabs were shown. They were arrested by the FBI for a credit/debit card skimming scam in Richmond, Utah. Check it out!
To think that I was handcuffed and held in the same room as these criminals for a BROKEN TAIL LIGHT is CRAZY!
Lesson learned. After enjoying my freedom and slowly gaining closure on tonight, I realized that I need to be accountable. That night I was ticketed, I drove my car knowing full well that my lights were a lil shady. However, I thought it would be fine. After receiving the ticket, I promised to pay but forgot as I didn't think the consequences would be that severe. Especially after discovering that ticket was only a measly $50. Definitely a bargain compared to the embarrassment and jail time it eventually evolved into. To make a long story short, I either need to step it up or move out of Utah. I'm gunning for the former but the latter seems more appealing.
Shout out to my fellow Pit/jailmates - Robert, Lavon, Steve, Scott and (especially) Amber. You all made my first (and hopefully last!) experience truly unforgettable.
And I'm hoping this jail time ups my street cred. Maybe I should release an album based on my time in the joint... hahaha.