Seventy-Two Hours

Well I decided not to run. Thank God nobody noticed when I went down to Espresso Bay on Friday morning and searched for Amtrak tickets then rethought my decision and decided to go back and at least see what my probation officer had to say. It turned out my P.O. decided just to give me a seventy-two hour detainer and take me out of the transition house, which is about the best thing that could’ve happened. Well except the seventy-two hours in jail.

I went into the jail at about 1500 (that’s military/jail time). They put me in a holding cell with a couple other guys— one seventeen year old in after he overdosed on “lean” (aka liquid codeine), one old guy who was in for a DUI, and a twenty-one year old in for missing a court date. It was cold as hell in there and I just wanted to lay down. So I did, and pulled the age old pull-your-tee-shirt-over-your-knees move to at least keep some warmth on the cold, hard concrete. After a bit an officer came in with some blankets. After a little longer, I got a mattress. 

At about 0130 I was booked in and transferred to the infamous “drunk tank”, the worst place in Traverse City that I know of. There was a guy there also from the transition house who was obviously high on something. He was waddling around mumbling to himself. In the morning I was woken to the highon clapping and giggling. The sergeant escorted him out, never to be seen again… The rest of the day I spent in and out of sleep, listening to people’s conversations. It’s amazing the gossip I’ve heard in jail. Seriously, it seems everything there is to be known about the scum of this town, I’ve heard at least two or three times.

Sunday was excruciatingly boring. Just listening to more conversations. I started reading the Bible, I was going to read the Gospels. Then we got some more books. I read a couple of chapters of a CJ Box novel. I really couldn’t get into it. Then I picked up a John Grisham book. If I was staying for longer I definitely would’ve finished it. It wasn’t like his usual courtroom dramas. It was called Calico Joe, and it was a baseball story. It reminded me of a story I just listened to by Stephen King, which wasn’t a horror story like his usual stories, just a good old American baseball story. I knew I wouldn’t finish this book either, and there’s an age old myth in jail that says if you don’t finish a book in jail, you’ll come back to finish it. 

Today started out with impatience. It’s weird that you can be locked up for months, even years, and accept it, but the day you’re supposed to get out, each minute, second, moment you have left, you really cannot wait. 1500 came around, and I saw out the window that they had my stuff ready to go, but the officers shot the shit for like an hour. Finally they came and got me at four o’clock. Outside, I saw my probation officer who told me to come see him in the morning. I picked up and deposited my check. I went over to my parents’ house and called around to different hotels. I proposed the idea of borrowing their pop-up camper, but my Aunt has it her parents’ cabin over on Lake Huron. If I can get it in the next week or so I’ll live in that over at Traverse City State Park. In the meantime I’m at Day’s Inn, drinking Coors, and watching The Office. I’m glad I didn’t abscond.

Fugitive Of Justice

Man, I’m sorry to be writing this but the gig’s up. I blew a .027 at the transition house. There’s no denying I was drinking. I went to Right Brain Brewery again today and had a few too many drinks. I’m on my last chance with probation, so I don’t see any reason not to leave. I’m not sure how I’m going to get away tonight as there’s only two doors, one with an emergency alarm and another right in front of the office. I have a feeling they’re going to call the police as soon as they realize I’m trying to leave. I texted my boss and told him I’m sorry. He said they like me there and I’m welcome back whenever I might be able to work again. 

One thing’s for sure, if I get away from Traverse City without being arrested, this blog is going to get a lot more interesting. I’m going to buy a Greyhound ticket tomorrow and go to Colorado on Saturday. I’ll go to Durango, in the southwest corner of the state and try to get a job there

BAC

I don’t know what to say today. I’ve been on edge all day, about to pack my bags and just leave. I had a few beers this morning, stopped into Right Brain Brewery this afternoon and had a glass of their Firestarter Chipotle Porter. Delicious, I don’t know if it was worth me stressing so hard about my breathalyzer test tonight, but it was tasty. I’m grateful to one of my fellow criminals who pointed out to me that we don’t have to test until 10:00pm. I thought it was 9.00pm.

I was told this morning that if I don’t pay all the debt I have with this transition house, including the time I spent unemployed and looking for work, I was told if I don’t pay all of that I won’t be able to go anywhere including my sister’s graduation. I’m not going to name the person in charge of this decision but I’ll just say she is not a very likable person.

Michigan Ambience

I bought three albums this morning: Two-Sawn Forrest Recordings by Sound Psychologist, In My Neighborhood by Julia Bondar, and obsolete machines by radius. The last one cost me $23 but the album is almost three hours long and I also got the limited release CD’s as well. All of these are Michigan electronic artists.

I had to talk to my probation officer this morning about being allowed to go to my sister’s graduation ceremony in Interlochen on Sunday. Of course he said this was okay. I also told him how I’ve been talking to Mr. Paul Deering, the owner of Deering’s Market on Union Street, and how I’ve been talking to him about renting a room out of his house on Union Street. He said he’d consider it.

Close Call

This morning I went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting at Jacob’s Well. I had quite a bit of booze this morning and afternoon. I fell asleep at about three pm and woke up at about seven. I started to walk to the AA meeting on Sybrandt Road, but with the headache and light drizzle, I didn’t feel like walking all the way there. When I got back, I took a hot shower and laid back down for half an hour.

Then came the moment this blog almost became interesting. I had to PBT before nine pm, and when I did, I blew a .007, which is extremely low. I almost admitted to drinking right then and there. Thank God I didn’t. The house manager said to come back in five minutes. I went to my room and started to contemplate leaving. God, I thought, what am I going to tell my boss? There seemed no escaping it, I was going to be kicked out and arrested. I wouldn’t go down that easily. I went back to blow again and this time I blew .000. The manager asked if I had just brushed my teeth, and I replied that yes, in fact, I had. And that was the end of that. I was so close to admitting guilt, which would have been a grave mistake. I think the guy was doing me a favor, after seeing me work my ass off lately, but I don’t know for sure. I was so close to packing my bags and catching the Greyhound tomorrow morning. I’m probably going to ditch the beer I have in my backpack tomorrow morning.

I found a girl’s wallet on the railroad tracks today. I tried to reach out to her on Facebook, but she still hasn’t responded. I hope she’s okay.

Double Shift

I had to work all day today. Luckily, it wasn’t too busy. 

During my break I went to the gas station and bought a tall boy. I figure as long as I stop drinking by about three pm, I should be able to pass a PBT at nine or ten that evening. You may be thinking, why do you feel the need to drink at all?? And I’d answer, of course I don’t need to drink, but I can and like to, so why not?

I spoke too soon about the effects of kratom in an earlier post, saying it does absolutely nothing. Part of me really believed the stuff was snake oil.  Today I mixed the rest of my stash into my drink at work. After choking down the concoction I felt a little nauseous. But after about half an hour I really felt like I had dropped a small dose of MDMA. My limbs felt very relaxed and euphoric, especially my legs (I think because I was standing all day). I felt calm and content with working. I listened to music instead of my usual M.O. of listening to podcasts. Despite this pleasant experience, I don’t think it was worth the money, considering I could have bought enough actual MDMA for that much money and felt twice as good; and I don’t think it’s worth the risk of dropping dirty as I’ve heard the house is getting the ability to test specifically for kratom any day now. Now I’m very itchy, which I believe is also a side-effect.

First Day Of Summer

Today was a nice hot day, the first day that really felt like summer. I woke up and had a couple beers. I smoked a pipe on my grandparents’ porch. Rode my bike around Boardman Lake, sat in a couple chairs right on the shore and listened to a couple of podcasts. Instead of going to the coffeeshop before work to read, I rode down to the beach and sat with my feet in Lake Michigan. The water is still very cold. I did that thing that some people do on the shore where I shoveled sand into a mound with my hands and made a little pool for my feet. On my way to work I ran into my mother and little sister riding their bikes around. I gave her a hug and proceeded on my way. The water level on Lake Michigan is abnormally high. The water at the boat launch is starting to flood into the parking lot. Work was very busy, I was told this was the busiest night in the young restaurant’s history, by a thousand dollars!

Early Morning Drinks

I wish I had a more creative title for today’s post, but unfortunately my brain is dead-tired. Once again, this morning I had a few beers, and I almost regretted it. I was really worried I might fail my PBT tonight. If I was tested an hour or so ago, I probably would have failed. I was pretty damn drunk this morning. So much so that I ended up calling a cab to take me like a mile. I barely remember this morning. I had trouble focusing on my book while I sipped my pre-work coffee. My boss and the kitchen manager snuck up on me and tapped my head while I sat in the coffeeshop. It scared the shit out of me, I thought it was somebody from the transition house. I don’t have much more to say tonight, I’m going to make myself a cup of chamomile, put on Interlochen Public Radio, and pass the fuck out.

Beer, Kratom, And Tattoos

If you’ve ever watched the Louis CK bit about day-drinking, well today has reminded me of that bit. He says something like, “You ever watch a movie and there’s a couple of business guys in an office closing a deal over a glass of whiskey? How are those guys, like five minutes later, not just like, ‘uhhh fuuuck, I can’t believe I drank whiskey at three o’clock in the afternoon”, or something like that. Well today I gave in once again and bought a couple of beers this morning. It felt great for like half an hour, but the rest of the day has been hell on Earth. I wanted to feel better, so instead of just toughing it out, I went to the head shop and bought some kratom. What a waste of money. Not only have I just learned the transition house will be testing for kratom soon, but I felt absolutely nothing. Luckily, I didn’t take very much so I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I tried to take a nap this afternoon, but that didn’t work out very well. I fell asleep for a few minutes watching YouTube. The day did improve a little, but ultimately I’m just ready to call it a night and try again in the morning. 

I went to Lutheran schools growing up and definitely consider it important to my upbringing. I believe there is something deeper that permeates life and transcends our material, mechanical existence. I also believe the Bible is the single most important text in Western culture, and I find Christianity to be comforting, even if there is a great deal of nonsense involved with it. I’ve read all of the major books of the Bible such as the Gospel of John, Proverbs, and Psalms. Last year I started reading the King James Version, just a chapter or two at a time, and so far I’m in Leviticus. Since I’m in such a fowl mood today, I thought it’d help to read a couple chapters. Now, I don’t have any tattoos, and I don’t judge anybody with tattoos, in fact, my half-sister is apprenticing to be a tattoo artist, and I think that’s badass. I always knew that die-hard Christians tended to either be totally against tattoos, or there’s always that one girl who’s into death metal and covered in tattoos and who also claims to be a Christian. I always knew, like a lot of things, there was some religious commentary on the notion of tattoos. I’ve heard more than a few times the line, “your body is a temple”, and such. But I had no idea there was a verse in the Bible that specifically addresses tattoos (or at least something similar). In Leviticus 19:28 it says, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” I suppose I’ve sinned as I actually burned a triangle into my left wrist in high school. Now I wonder how common, if at all, it was to get tattoos in Israel many thousands of years ago. I’m not curious enough to actually look it up though. It’s time for bed.

Sunny Wednesday

Another sunny day in Michigan. Had the day off. Slept in ’til noon. Went to Goodwill today. Picked up another nice tee shirt with vertical textured stripes. I saw a copy of the original Sims for Mac but unfortunately it wasn’t compatible with my version of OS X.  On my way to this mindfulness class I’m obligated to take, I stopped at Qdoba. They have “Burrito Wednesdays” where a pulled pork burrito and a drink is only seven bucks. I like Qdoba, back when my family lived downstate, we used to go to Qdoba all the time.

I’m happy to have tomorrow off, too. I need to find a way to take advantage of it. I might be able to take a walk, so maybe I’ll take a little hike around the old State Hospital grounds.

Black & White Magazine

You ever wake up and have a single tear roll down your cheek and not know why exactly? Well this happened to me this morning. It happens every now and then. Just all of life’s sadness compressed into one moment.

On my way to a meeting this morning, I stopped into Oryana, the local natural foods grocery co-op and bought a single twelve-ounce beer. A strong 7% IPA from the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette. I haven’t drank in months but today had to be the day where I had to sneak one in.

Today, I called a couple of British visa consultants’ offices in London, seeking advice on whether they thought I’d be able to take a trip there next year, given my criminal history. The general opinion was that I should apply for a tourist visa after I pay back my court fines, even though Americans generally don’t have to do this. I was very grateful these people took the time to answer my questions, free of charge. One even called back with more information.

A few weeks ago I went on Black & White Magazine’s website and signed up to have a free issue sent to me. It said it would take about six weeks to arrive. I was excited to find an issue in my mailbox, which, on the cover, above the barcode, says usually costs thirteen dollars. I look forward to thumbing through it over the next week or so. I’ve looked through a many Black & White before, and that along with Aperture and Wired are some of my favorite magazines commonly available.

One Sad Bowl Of Mac and Cheese

A coffee, three energy drinks, and one bowl of macaroni and cheese at work. That’s all I’ve consumed today. I had to work all day. I really feel terrible. And it’s starting to get existential. I was outside smoking, thinking about how it’s already almost June.

I’ve started taking photos of the clouds with my 35mm camera. It’s nothing serious, I think what I’ll do is take a couple everyday and tack one on to each post, just for something to do.

It’s one of those quiet Sundays where there’s just not much else to say. I’m really not religious but I wish I would’ve went to church this morning, I think it may’ve helped this funk I’m in.

If I Fail Probation

This morning I walked to an AA meeting up on Cedar Run Rd. I say “up” not because it’s out of town or north of where I live (how a lot of people use the word “up” in America), I say “up” because it’s mostly an uphill walk. It was drizzling rain the whole walk. I stopped at Oleson’s grocery store on the way back and bought a pack of Pall Mall’s and ten dollars in scratch-offs. I know that seems like a white trash move but I rarely buy lotto tickets and I smoke Pall Mall’s ironically, so fuck you. I didn’t have a single winning ticket and am inclined to never buy a lottery ticket again.

I quit the photography project. I may still buy a roll of film here and there and I definitely still have a project I want to do in the fall, but it’s a relief not to have to commit to this thing and spend money on something that is starting to bore me. I think a couple of really great pictures came out of it. I’ll still post the last few rolls once they come in and finish the roll that’s currently in my camera.

I’ve been going to Espresso Bay everyday before work to drink a coffee and read a few chapters from my book. I wonder what I’d do if I’m caught where I’m technically not allowed. I’ve been thinking a lot today about what I’d do if I was told I’m kicked out of the transition house. I was late to a couple of PBTs over the past week and being kicked out is a real possibility. My probation officer says that if I’m kicked out, I’m going back to jail. If I knew that my punishment isn’t increased or only increased a little if I abscond, then I’d definitely leave town. I’d probably lose my job anyway, so I might as well try and make a run for it. I have about a thousand dollars and I think I could live off that for a bit. To be honest, I’d probably start hitting the bottle pretty hard. If I were to skip out on probation I’d probably head back out west to southwest Colorado, start drinking cheap beer and whiskey, and maybe I’d finish writing this book I’ve started and see if I could sling that on Amazon while living in a motel. Unfortunately, I think I’m cornered as the consequences of leaving would be exponentially worse as long as I’m running from the court. If losing my job wasn’t in the equation I think that maybe failing probation might be a good thing as my sentencing guidelines are like three to nine months and I’ve already served like seven months. All-in-all I believe everything is going to work out. There are much worse positions in the world than where I’m at. I’m easily in the top third in regards to privileges in this country and top tenth in the world.

House Between The Oaks

I keep thinking about my black and white photography project. I’m definitely overthinking it. I’ve become too emotionally invested in the idea of this project. I’m gonna have to take a lot of photos to make up for the random ones I’ve taken so far. I really want to showcase the trees here in Traverse City through black and white photography. A part of me is considering giving up on this little Olympus point and shoot camera for a more controllable SLR. Then again, wanting to control every aspect of this project is what’s inhibiting me from actually taking interesting photos. I like the point and shoot because there are fewer settings. The last thing I need right now are more decisions in the process.

I believe I need to focus on something. Today I was thinking more how I’d place my attention on the trees in Traverse City and their interaction with the nearby homes. I think that’d be an original view and would take a stronger will to follow through with. But, then again, maybe I shouldn’t be trying to be original. Maybe I should just make something that literally anybody with a camera can make, like photographs of just the branches of the trees or the clouds. Because ultimately I want something ethereal.

There’s no doubt this project is evolving. The problem is I’m having a hard time deciding which direction to take it, which is the biggest challenge any art project faces. Art takes conviction. I hope all of my self-loathing pays off somehow.