How to Wear Boots With An Ankle Bracelet

Tomorrow is the first day of September, which marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  Summer is over, and I am getting closer and closer to November 14th, the day I will be released from my year of house arrest.

Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons.  The leaves, the cooler weather, the sense of change in the air– and the boots.  Yes, the boots.  Even being on house arrest, I have found a way to wear them.

Last winter, I received a lot of questions about how exactly I go about putting boots on with a massive GPS device collared at my ankle.  Well, it’s not always easy, and of course, not all boots are going to work.  You must find some that have a cloth leg that comes up from the shoe.  Then, you pull the cloth up, underneath the bracelet.  It takes some doing, but it gets the job done…

74 days to go.

The Drug Test

Oh, Inglewood.

I can safely say, at this point, that I’ve dedicated more hours of my life to proving that I’m not on drugs than I ever have to actually experimenting with them (large-scale trafficking of pot being exempt, in this particular example).

My probation officer called me in for a random drug test this morning.  The probation office is in Inglewood.  I have been looking forward to road tripping around the US after I’m free from the constraints of house arrest.  For now, the closest that I’m going to come to a road trip is an early morning drive into Inglewood, which is about fifteen miles away from my apartment.  Cruising through a seemingly endless spread of bail bonds storefronts and fast food fried chicken doesn’t stand as a very appealing compromise, but my ability to compromise is considerably limited for the next two months.

I stepped into the office at around 7am, as I’ve done so many times before.  As usual, on my walk from a distant parking space, I went through a gas station and grabbed a handful of string cheese.  Small comforts.

The waiting room in probation feels generally vacant, save for a scattering of offenders and an elaborate security arrangement, complete with a metal detector walkthrough.  Always a familiar welcome, and a reminder that I’m considered one of “them.”  The walls in the waiting room are filled with those typical posters of encouragement.

This morning, as I was handed my paperwork through a thick glass window, I was aware that I was being watch by a bystander.  He was a fellow offender who looked straight out of Central Casting.  He fidgeted with his own paperwork next to me as I began to fill in the form.  He was staring at my ankle, which was obviously exposed under my workout shorts.

“Is that a ankle bracelet?”  He pointed down.  “Yep,” I said, as I wrote on the paper.  “Sure is.”  He twitched and nodded his head with interest.  “Oh.  Damn!”  An employee of the office opened a door, and the ogler disappeared behind it.

Then, my turn.  Oh, the joyous routine.  I aced my drug test, yet again.  Gold star?  Well, at least there was string cheese.

75 days to go.

The Rescue Bears

by Andrew Pagana


Earned Leave this week.  I went to an art show on Wilshire.

I was lucky to get my three hour leave approved so that I could be there to support an artist friend of mine (Andy Pagana of Schwartzy n’ Pagana) in his debut showing.  That SOB can paint like a MOFO.  And he does.  He was featured at the annual RAW Artists event.  He showed a series of paintings, entitled “Rescue Bears.”  Each painting captures the image of an antique teddy bear that might be otherwise forgotten by the world.

I used to go to events in LA all the time.  Ah, but that was in the days of old.  Long before I got clamped and stamped, and sequestered in my apartment like a hunted animal.  Now, as I was getting ready to go to the show and gussying myself up like a blue-ribbon hog for the county fair, I found that I wasn’t as prepared for this kind of thing as I once was.  I didn’t know what to wear.  I’m home seven nights a week, so I’m simply not accustomed to dressing up for an occasion, unless it’s basic entertaining at my apartment with a casual dress and maybe some wedges.

RAW Artists 2012

I have done a good deal of shopping since I’ve been on house arrest, whether through spending my feelings online or impulsively charging into stores during Earned Leave in desperate attempts to squeeze some joy out of my brief hours of freedom.  So, I have new clothes.  But, that’s not to say that I’ve nailed down any practical use for them.  For example:  I love American Apparel.  In particular, I love their black chiffon.  I’ve collected it over the past few months.  I had envisioned myself draped in it, as in the catalogs, and floating through some party like a chic goddess– the epitome of sophistication and style.  In reality, when I found myself with an opportunity to wear it, it went more like me waddling into the party alone, open-mouthed and sweaty, and wearing a thrown-together ensemble of what appeared to be a transparent black tarp hurled over cheap lingerie.  After a horrifying encounter with a bathroom mirror once I arrived, I wished that I could partake in the open bar that the other guests were enjoying, and drown any awareness or memory of the disturbing image I’d witnessed in the reflection.  But, I had to go.  Earned Leave was over, again, as was any fleeting sense of freedom to live outside of the confines of my single apartment.  At least, for once, no one was staring at my ankle bracelet.

76 days to go.

“Rescue Bears”