If you’ve followed my blog since I resurrected it over the summer, you may have read my first two posts, about having a nervous breakdown and my ensuing arrest and diagnosis. If not, well, they’re down there under all the #NaBloPoMo posts. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I in November 2013, while in jail in San Mateo.
The whole thing was horribly embarrassing to me once I regained enough of my mind to be embarrassed, but at the time everything felt like a terrifying and grand adventure. During my week of being a missing person, I got close to getting into a lot of trouble several times, and then I actually did.
The day I stole the RV, I had spent the night in a ditch after having my nose broken by a guy that mugged me and took all of my money. I had wandered the streets, without a phone full of helpful phone numbers, my face covered in blood, and nobody helped me. I felt less than human.
Shortly after dawn, I knocked on the door of a nice house in a nearby neighborhood. I felt so bad to scare them, some random weirdo knocking on the door at like 6am all covered in blood. I had picked up a stack of newspapers and was pretending to deliver them so it looked like I had a reason to be there. They didn’t even question it. The nice family that opened the door let me go get cleaned up in their bathroom and gave me a ziploc full of ice for my nose. I told them I had slipped outside and fell. I still don’t know why I was so scared to tell everyone the truth at first, maybe paranoid that the guy would find me. I’m not sure now.
After getting cleaned up, I thanked them and split. Some other interesting stuff happened that morning, but let’s skip ahead to the RV place. I’m not sure what I was thinking, except that I knew I had enough money left in my bank account to rent an RV for a few days, and I really needed somewhere to sleep. I figured I could take the RV to Half Moon Bay, which was close by, and look for John Paul’s mom, Janice. If I was unable to find her, I planned to take it south to San Diego and figure everything out once I got home. It was sort of a plan.
Anyway, my intentions were nothing but good when I walked in. But for some delusional reason, I told them my name was Rose. I also handed them the wrong driver’s license, since I was carrying around my old maiden name expired one as well as my current one. I was a mess. Anyway, they weren’t about to rent an RV to someone with an expired driver’s license, so that’s as far as I got.
I turned to leave and I really don’t remember what happened, but I walked out of a side door instead of the door I came in, and the RV was right there. The next thing I remember, I had hopped into it. The keys were inside. I turned on the radio and Let Her Go by Passenger was playing. I started crying and drove off.
By the time I got onto the freeway that connects San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, I already had a few people following me. I think one of them was a guy from the RV place, and then shortly thereafter the police were following me, too. It was a very twisty road, and I was driving pretty dangerously. I passed everyone, even with cars coming at me. It was scary, but I felt like I was part of a grand parade. I flashed the peace sign to everyone I saw and smiled and waved. One news article said I appeared intoxicated. But no, I had just lost my mind.
The police and sheriff and well, several kinds of police, all followed me all the way to Half Moon Bay. Once I got there, I very calmly used my turn signals and navigated to a side street and pulled over. Instantly I had like 10 guns in my face. They pulled me out of the RV, and one of the cops I had run into earlier in the week had me wait in the back of his car while they figured out who got me.
A different cop wound up driving me back to San Mateo, and he was super nice. We chatted the whole way back about everything except RVs. He booked me in when we got to jail, and a lady cop took my mug shot and had me strip down and change into orange clothes. Oh man, this was so really happening. I still had no idea what was going on. I was way too out of it to try and bail myself out of jail, and when I called Neil to let him know where I was, I wasn’t making any sense on the phone.
I was so out of it, I spent the first 3 days in jail in my own isolated room in medical with my bed taken away because they were afraid I was going to try and kill myself. I finally started accepting the meds they were offering me and started to calm down a little bit. Then they moved me into a shared area in medical for a few more days. When it was apparent I was not going to freak out on anyone (at least, not badly) they had me transported over to the county jail. The medical cells were part of the police station itself, or something. It was pretty weird.
Anyway, I had an upper bunk in a big room with maybe 40 women in it. All we had were the bunks, an exercise bike, and playing cards, newspapers, and one box full of a weird assortment of books. We had coffee, but no access to hot water except from the tap. So we had lukewarm coffee, which was had to buy ourselves from the commissary. There was also a TV, which the correctional officers controlled the channel of, so it was usually on Wendy Williams, Dr. Phil, Criminal Minds, or Law and Order.
I made friends with the women in the bunk under and next to me, so I had 3 friends. We pretty much stuck to our corner and tried to stay out of the inevitable fights that popped up. Women also got busted for doing meth in our room while we were all there. How do they get meth in jail? I have no idea. It was so sad. Most of the women were girls, with babies at home, and many were going to be gone for a long time.
I had been back in the general population for a few days when Thanksgiving came up. I still hadn’t figured out that I could bail myself out of jail, and I kept thinking that there was NO WAY that my family would leave me in jail over Thanksgiving. But I was wrong. They wanted me to stay in jail until my first or second court date, to get some days served and ‘regain my sanity’.
Jail was NOT good for my sanity.
Where I was, we didn’t really get time outside to exercise or anything. There was that one exercise bike for forty women, after all. Instead, as long as everyone was good, we got to go outside for like 30 minutes, into a cement area. But there were a few times, like after the meth bust, where we spent days inside without being able to go out and see the sun. It was terrible.
By the time dinner came up on Thanksgiving Day, I realized nobody was coming for me. They decided to feed us a traditional turkey day dinner, which was nice enough I guess. We were all very excited to eat something else. Everyone was in a really good mood that day, too. It wasn’t like holidays outside where everyone bitches all day long. It was a special day. There would be special food. People were accepting our phone calls. A good day.
I have to say that my Thanksgiving in jail wasn’t even the worst one I’ve had, not by a long shot. But the food, oh my god! It all looked so good and tasted so terrible, but for some reason that day it was still good. Normally we didn’t get dessert, but they had pumpkin pie for us. Now THAT I was looking forward to.
The only sugar I’d had in jail was from sugar cubes people bought for coffee, but they were super expensive so I hadn’t had many. When I got my pie and took a huge bite, I was SO disappointed! It had NO sugar in it. It was absolutely the worst pie I have ever tried in my entire life. I couldn’t even finish it. Most of us couldn’t. It was a cruel tease, to offer this terrible dessert. I wanted to cry.
But I got over it. We played cards and talked about our exes and our lawyers and how we wound up stuck in jail on Thanksgiving. We drank coffee and stayed up late watching Law and Order. There was a sense of belonging and family that you don’t normally feel in jail, like everyone had called a truce for this one day.
It sucks being locked up over the holidays, especially when you have kids. I think we were all feeling that a little, and everyone was a little bit kinder. Even the super cunt CO smiled once or twice. I won’t lie, it was not a great way to spend a holiday. I hope to never be in jail again. But compared to a few days of being under lockdown and having no privileges, a holiday in jail isn’t so bad. It was better than some others I have experienced.
Be safe this week, and hug your family tight. Have a great Thanksgiving week!