Illegally Blonde

I think it’s good to embrace change.  Not just to accept that things are different now, and that they will never be the same.  I mean to embrace the idea of moving on from what you have grown accustomed to, whether it was reality, or perhaps your own skewed impression of it, toward something that could really be good.   To embrace the possibility that things could be great after this, even if “this” was a complete disruption of what you had planned, in your perfect little world.  I’m talking about actively trying to make life good.  We have that choice, don’t we?  To make it good?  To decide to pluck the last cells of life from the scorched wreckage of what may have felt like a cold death of the life that we knew, or of the ideas about ourselves or our circumstances that seemed good to us, and to decide which parts are worth carrying with us into the next phase, in the interest of enjoying it to the fullest.

I am almost done with house arrest.  It has been almost one year.  I have fifty-one days left to go.  I feel so close to it.  To be honest, getting closer to the end has scared me a little, because I know that it also marks the beginning of something I have yet to know.

I have changed so much over these years and in these months.  My criminal record changed, too.  I have one now.  My ability to vote changed.  I no longer have it.  My freedom to do as I please, and to go as I please, has been stifled.  However, I am about to get many of these freedoms back.  For that, I am grateful.

I like to externalize change.  I always have.  It helps things feel fresh to me.  For example, I am constantly rearranging my apartment furniture.  I once spent an exhausting, house-arrested afternoon trying to fit my futon into my kitchen.  It made a lot of sense at the time.  Alas, it didn’t fit through the door frame, and I had to give up, short of a decision to dismember it.  I moved on and rearranged my vanity corner instead.

Now, as I find myself in the midst of some of the biggest change of my life, I decided that I needed an especially big change…  A big, blonde one.

With the help of a very resourceful, talented stylist named Amy (at Jessica’s From Sunset on Larchmont Blvd.), I went from brunette to blonde all within the small hours of an afternoon Earned Leave last Wednesday.  I have a follow-up appointment this Wednesday to do some finishing touches on the color that would have been impossible to do last week, given the time constraints.

I’ve never been blonde before now, and it has indeed been a huge change for me.  I’m still getting used to what I see when I look in the mirror.  I posted a photo on Facebook to debut my new look to friends.  I had someone from my home town ask me in a comment, “Is this for a new role?”  When I read what she wrote, all I could think was, “Yes.  Yes, it is.”

51 days to go.

Heat

My air condition-less apartment has godlessly morphed into a slow cooker this week.  The beast it’s been cooking is me, and I’ve been as greasy and helpless as a rotisserie chicken, roasting under the heat of LA’s hottest week of the year.

 

Of course, it also happens to be the one week that I’m not scheduled to work.  I usually work five days, so going from five to zero is quite a change.  House arrest has taken on a new meaning for me, as I have now lost count of how many consecutive days I’ve spent inside the walls of my apartment.  Any innate sense of time I had seems to have been melted away.  With it has gone any motivation to slug down to the apartment gym for my usual release from the monotony of being imprisoned at home.  Instead, I hulk to the kitchen in search of carbs and full-fat butter to fill the void where my self-respect used to be.  It’s been too long since my last approved trip to the grocery store.  I’ve run out of desirable food.  I’ve stooped to pillaging the salty, processed remains of a Nutrisystem order that I made the misguided decision to purchase after a convincing late-night infomercial a few months back.

I haven’t been to the backyard for sunlight this week either.  I almost never go out there now.  My days of taking the ol’ lawn chair for a sit have all but gone since I caught my neighbor (aka “The Mystery Masturbator”) greasing his own meat while staring down at me from his window.  He felt some heat that night too, after my friend and I called the police on him.  The thought of him perched above me as I try to soak up a tan has induced enough nausea to dissuade me from returning.

I’ve been keeping my shades shut in an effort to block out the intensity of the sun.  I can’t tell if it makes it better or worse because I’m also blocking airflow into the apartment.  I just sit all day with my small, drug store fan aimed at my face.  I feel an obligation to shower twice daily now.  Even so, I wake up in the morning so sweat-covered that I can spin my GPS bracelet around my ankle like an oiled-up dreidel.

Lethargy has set in.  It is almost five in the morning, and I’m wide awake.  I’m sweating like a hippo and watching Tosh.O on DVR.  I just polished off a head of raw garlic because it was the only fresh food in my apartment.  I needed antioxidants.  I just peeled it and ate the cloves like popcorn.  Then, after some research online, I swallowed two tablespoons of mustard to mitigate the damage.  A dangerous routine.  At least, a socially dangerous one.

I slept until the afternoon today.  And yesterday.  And the day before.  I can’t imagine what things would be like if I didn’t have a job and the ability to work outside of my apartment this year.  Confinement can breed madness.  I will be returning to work this week.  That should help.  I mean, at least there will be air conditioning.

59 days to go.

False Alarm

I just found this video online. A reporter documented a mock week of house arrest. She wore what appears to be the same ankle bracelet that I have on my ankle this year, or, at least, a similar one. The fake terms of her house arrest are slightly different from mine, but, nonetheless, this is an interesting example of what house arrest can be like.

This video shows one late-night example of how the GPS equipment can generate false locations, which leads to alerts, if the error occurs during a time when the offender is not approved to be away from home. Alerts can also lead to prosecuting the offender, based on evidence that he or she was out of bounds. Thus, a probation violation that could have serious consequences may occur. Sometimes, I fear, even when the alert came from false GPS information. I find it very troubling that this happens. My GPS bracelet has recently generated a cacophony of false alerts and wildly inaccurate GPS locations, usually when I’ve been not only at home, but asleep in my bed. A few weeks ago, my PO told me that he had an alert that claimed that I’d wandered into a GPS point in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Recently, there have been alerts that have suggested that I have left my apartment in the early hours of the morning, for an hour or so, and ventured down local streets. I have never, even once, left my apartment without prior notice or approval. I never would. Especially when I am barely two months away from freedom! My annoyance at these alerts has escalated into deep concern. I didn’t pay them much mind until today, when it was brought to my attention that, despite the fact that I have never acted in violation, enough alerts have come through the system that the monitoring company is considering moving forward on violating me in court. I have already submitted a request to my apartment manager for the surveillance tapes, which would prove that I never left my apartment. I was also told today that the monitoring company would be very willing to testify against me in court, if they choose to move on a violation.

As you can imagine, this is very distressing for me. I have zero control over any faulty equipment. That said, my equipment has been changed multiple times, and the alerts still happen. I don’t know why. I don’t know what to do, because I can’t control when there is a false alert. All I can control is whether or not I break any rules, which I haven’t. If it comes down to me presenting surveillance videos and getting my lawyer involved, then I’ll have no choice but to go along with it and pay the costly legal bills, yet again.

I sympathize with the probation officers, knowing that it is their job to rely on the information that comes from the equipment that they are paid to trust. I really do. But, this isn’t my job. It is my life, and it’s scary to know that it could be seriously affected by something that I have zero control over.

65 days to go.