Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monty Python's Flying Chicago
I got arrested again. I didn't do anything wrong this time. Well, sort of. Let me explain.
You remember the DUI. March 07. You remember I was sentenced to $1500 in fees, $700 in alcohol education classes, six months of social services counseling, and 1 victim impact panel.
So I did some of it. Then I missed a social services visit. I called Curtis, my counselor, three weeks later.
"Oh... so... sorry about that. What next, Curtis?"
"Well, officially, you now have a bench warrant issued for your arrest. Finish your classes and fines, and come to the courthouse and request to stand before a judge, and hope for the best. I can't schedule your next visit without notifying the court for the purpose of your arrest."
Nice guy, Curtis. Did me a solid there, sort of. As it happens, no warrant was issued. Yet.
Just before I offically got evicted from Palatine, the repo man showed up. (You remember my financial situation after getting canned.) I bribed the repo man for the total of his commission, $300, and took off the very next day to move in with The Captain, who'd just come back from Florida after ten years. He brought that godawful Melissa with him. I told you about her. Anyways, The Captain and Melissa took me in and let me mope for a couple months while I scraped by on Buffalo Wild Wings tips. This was October 07.
Because I was hiding my location, I never got the letter from the Circuit Court of Cook County at Rolling Meadows informing me I had a court date set in February 08. Assuming, as I did, that I was already a fugitive from justice, I never inquired with Curtis or the court, wondering how the hell I could afford the fees and so forth. I felt doomed.
Well, as of February 08, upon missing that court date, there actually was a warrant issued in my name. They caught up with me just days after Anita and I moved out of the Captain's and into our own place. It only took them a year.
I had just spent $200 on groceries and Obamabilia at the Dominick's in Hoffman Estates. Yeah, Hoffman. Of all places. Motherfucker. (Sorry Mom, I realize I shouldn't write like that in front of you.) Fortunately it was exactly zero degrees out so none of my consumables spoiled.
Believe it or not, the cops were super cool. Really!
Officer Zaba didn't charge me for driving without insurance, or any other bullshit he certainly could have. He didn't search my car, choosing instead to believe me when I told him there was nothing illicit present. (true!) And that I was stone cold sober. (also true!) He didn't make me stand outside in Siberian weather, instead waiting until everything was ready before removing me from my vehicle, cuffing me, and placing me in the back seat of his squad.
I said nice things. (I admire what you do, etc.) We had a nice conversation about Humboldt Park. For an arrester/arrestee conversation, it was downright cordial. That led to something bizarre.
Officer Mueller was at the police station when I arrived. He didn't remember me, apparently. Good. While Officer Zaba was collecting my possessions and conducting his inventory (this was before the fingerprinting, which was high tech and cool as fuck) Mueller strolled in and began to speak to me.
"We have to do this three times a year, randomly, be it an arrest, a complaint, or whatever. Would you mind answering a few questions for a survey?"
"Uh, okay, sure."
"How would you rate your experience with the Hoffman Estates Police Department?"
I was dumbfounded. Nonetheless, I attempted an answer.
"I... it was... what do you mean? Like, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest? Or between unsatisfactory, somewhat unsatisfactory, satisfactory, somewhat good, or extremely good?"
He just looked at me. I tried again.
"Well, I guess it was as good as possible, considering the circumstances."
He exhaled heavily, simultaneously exasperated and amused. He wrote something brief upon the sheet of paper.
"How would you rate Officer Zaba's conduct?"
I answered. "Randomly? Really?"
He answered. "Well..." He tilted his head slightly, indicating the possibility of sympathetic selection.
"Okay, Okay. Zaba was courteous, polite, and answered my questions to my satisfaction. I would go so far as to say he was gracious."
Mueller scribbled some shit on his sheet and continued.
"Do you have any recommendations on how Hoffman Esates can improve its municipal services?" He arched his eyebrows and desperately tried to supress an amused grin.
I paused for moment, watching him. Finally, failing to generate something clever, I answered "You don't really want me to try answering that, do you?" He looked around, then back at me. "Mark it no." I started giggling.
"Okay, last one. Come on, stop laughing. Please? Okay. Now. Would you be interested in joining the Hoffman Estates Neighborhood Watch program?"
Mom, I wasn't in cuffs anymore, but Jesus. When I managed to cease my full fledged laughter, I stuttered out "I just work in this town, so no."
"Thank you Stephen." Officer Mueller smiled at me. Zaba, finishing my inventory, just grinned halfway and shook his head.
That's when I found out I would be spending a month in County unless somebody showed up with 10% of $20,000. Holy shit, right?
Good thing I told my boss this would happen eventually, back when the old company that canned me hunted me down and rehired me. I love them. Good thing I don't burn bridges.
So yeah. Thought you might get a chuckle outta that whole scenario. Sorry about that phone call, by the way. Love you Mom.
-Steve 3:35 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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