Legal vs. Illegal for the Felons

This is a typical uniform for my days on house arrest. Sexually overwhelming, no doubt.

Some of the laws in this country were made in madness.  Now that I am officially a felon, I live under a different set of legal limitations.

For example:  I had to stop my volunteer work at a middle school in Compton because it’s illegal for me to work with children.

However, it would still be perfectly legal for me to go to a drug store to purchase anal porn, then head to a sporting goods store to buy a cross-bow because it’s not a firearm.

It would be no problem, by the law, for me to take my anal porn, throw it up in the air and try to shoot it with a cross-bow across the street from a school.  That would be fine.  No justice to be served.  Carry on.

God forbid that I vote in the upcoming election, but while everyone else is at the ballots, I can fire up a chainsaw in the parking lot of a shopping mall, make a menacing face while I saw my Kia in half over the concrete and generally terrify shoppers. That’s no problem.

Just sayin…

230 days to go.

Views from the Yard

Every prison has a yard, and mine is no exception.  The yard here is in the back of the apartment building.  It is the only area, outside of the confines of my apartment, that I have permission to go to and from freely, without first calling my probation officer to tell her that there’s a felon on the move.

I guess that the enormous GPS device locked to my ankle doesn’t give a fair indication of my whereabouts.  In truth, it doesn’t.  The thing has proven to be quite finicky.  A few weeks ago, it gave a GPS record of me having apparently wandered out of my apartment and down the street for a few hours during an afternoon when I was supposed to be locked in doors- which is exactly where I was.  I’m not about to risk going back to the Big House for an afternoon stroll to the gas station.

I used to get really freaked out and nervous when my probation officer would tell me that she had received an “alert” saying that I am out-of-bounds.  Since I’ve realized that the device isn’t always accurate, and I won’t be held accountable for something I haven’t done, I don’t worry.  I’m more than a third of the way through my year-long sentence, and I think that has been long enough to indicate to probation that I’m not trying to get sneaky.

I took a cup of coffee with me to sit outside in the yard today.  Good to have a change of scenery and soak up the sliver of sunshine that falls on the backyard in the morning.  I have my three hours of weekly earned leave tonight, but I’ll be cooped up until then.  One of my best friends is visiting me from Washington this week.  After we had coffee, she set out on her own today to do some vintage shopping.  I would have liked to join her, as I have when she’s visited me in the past.

With the merciful exception of earned leave tonight, my “outing” for the day is pretty much the yard.  It does, in ways, remind me of the yard in prison.  There is even barbed wire on one side of it.  Oh, home.  It doesn’t have the huge guard towers, though.  I don’t have to worry about some unseen officer looking down at me from above, drinking coffee and loading his gun.  I suppose that I could worry about some unseen hoodlum eyeing me from a floor or two up- also possibly loading a gun.  I am, after all, a stone throw away from Crenshaw Blvd.  Gangland.

Well, at least I’m not down a mine.

238 days to go.


There and Back Again

Living on house arrest continues to be a strange existence.  I’m rolling along in my little hamster ball, watching the world I can’t get to as I pass it by.  Every day that I’m able to leave the confines of my apartment, I think about freedom; not because I’m experiencing it, but because I’m observing it all around me.  I’m not always sure of what exactly I would be doing with it, if I had it, but I think about the possibilities.  I want now, more than ever, to know what I would truly most want to do with freedom.  I’m realizing more and more that there is much good to be taken from this year on house arrest.

I often think about time, and how valuable it is.  I think about all of the idle hours that I’ve logged in my life, doing nothing of note, and spending much of it thinking about what I’d really like to be doing.  For waste!  This awareness is a gift, and is capable of changing a person’s entire life, if and when it’s applied to life thereafter.

Being forced to have such a structured schedule, down to the minute, requires that I am constantly prioritizing.  I decide what is needed from the grocery store for the next week; I decide how I am going to spend my time at home when I don’t have the option to leave it; I decide how to spend my precious three hours of freedom every week, and who to spend that time with.

At times, we can feel so helpless when we bend to demanding circumstances that seem to leave us with so few options.  The truth is, though, that within every set of circumstances, however constraining, there are many options.  The only thing that we can have full control over is our state of mind, and how we bring that into action.

I dedicated my earned leave this week to a trip to the ocean.  I missed the old boy, and wanted to say hello.  I can’t immerse my ankle bracelet in water, or risk damaging it in the sand, but damn it if I can’t stand on the Venice walkway and look out on the waves.

I drove to Venice with a girlfriend, and met another friend there whom I’ve known for almost 9 years.  I met him in Italy during a backpacking trip after high school graduation, and we’ve remained close ever since.  Thank God that I traveled in my younger days, before I could have ever imagined that I’d be stripped of my passport by the US government.  I will get it back only after my probation is over, in 3 months short of 3 years from now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do once I’m off of house arrest.  Stay in LA?  It’s the only home I’ve known in my adult life.  I love it, though I’ll admit that I miss my home in Washington.  Absence has made my heart ache for Seattle and my loved ones there.

I could go abroad?  Nope- the government nipped that one in the bud- but, in a few years, when I get it back, it will be game on for international travel, with exception of some countries who don’t allow felons entrance.

I actually think that it might be time for me to do some traveling in the US after my ankle and I are free again.  I’ll be in need of some exploration.  It’s safe to say that the 580 sq. ft. of my apartment will have been thoroughly charted at the end of this.  It may be time to leave.

It may turn out that I’m like Frodo, in Lord of the Rings, and after my mission is accomplished, I’ll simply be unfit for normal life again.  That is to suggest that it was ever normal…

257 days to go.