Summertime… And the Livin’ is… Aggressively Supervised by the US Government

Sittin’ Time

They say that the true nature of a relationship cannot be holistically assessed until it has survived a full year of seasons.  I’ve been with my ankle bracelet now for more than seven months.  He came to live with me the day we met.  Fast, I know, but we were connected.  We spent Christmas together, and we were skin-close at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.  He even comes into my work and insists on grocery shopping with me every week (awww).  We don’t go out much.  We are homebodies– but we do sleep together every night, even when I’m not happy with him before we get into bed.  We are still inseparable, even at this very moment.  But, I’ve got to be honest with you… I cannot wait to leave this bastard and never see him again come November.

I thought, going into summer, that being on house arrest during this season might be even more trying than it was for me during winter, when I couldn’t go home to be with my family for Christmas.  However, I have been determined to enjoy the LA summer regardless of my criminal punishment.

My parents bought me a lawn chair when they visited me last month.  They went shopping while I was at work, and I came home to a glorious buffet of groceries, my new curtains hung, and a beautiful beacon of a fire-red lawn chair sitting in the middle of my apartment.  My characteristically Northwest parents felt that they’d observed an obvious void in my life, and they filled it with the glory that can only come from a foldable lawn chair.  I have since taken a (perhaps inappropriately immense) joy in my new inanimate housemate by routinely taking it into my backyard for sits in the sun.  More than once, I’ve dragged it out back wearing sunglasses, cold beverage in hand, and I can only assume that I have solidified the alienation of my neighbors by sitting for long periods of time there, practically motionless, in my bathrobe, prison clogs (literally—I kept them from prison—Why not?  They’re comfortable) and iPhone headset, soaking in the sun and turning a blind eye to the inevitable judgment and fear that my actions could easily inspire.  I see no reason to shy away from wandering around my apartment building wearing nothing but my bathrobe and prison clogs.

I am usually alone in my apartment, and I do whatever seems reasonable to me at the time.  Since I don’t often have an audience here, it rarely occurs to me that an outsider might view my behavior as strange.  This was brought to my attention recently during a surprise home visit from my probation officer.  It was almost 1pm.  I was asleep in bed, with the lights off and the curtains shut.  I was awakened by a persistent knocking at my door.  I slumped out of bed without checking a mirror, wearing a rather unfortunate pairing of plaid pajamas and workout clothes that I’d passed out in the night before.  My bangs were smeared into a vertical position on my head after having clipped them back and the pin falling out on my pillow, which created a frightening appearance when I opened the door to find my probation officer standing on the other side.  She seemed a little taken aback, but politely masked her reaction and asked if she could come in.  I shut the door behind us and sat casually back on my bed.  My probation officer stood awkwardly for a moment, taking in the condition of my apartment.  She said, “Um, oh.  Do you have… company? ” I said, “No, just me.  Er, why?”  I followed her gaze.  She was staring at the gathering of chairs in my living room.  The night before, I had set up my lawn chair in front of the television to watch a miniseries on the History Channel, and I’d surrounded the chair with all four of my dining room chairs, which served as tables to rest my various food and beverages on.  I realized that this powwow arrangement might strike an onlooker as being odd and perhaps lend itself to a suspicion of imaginary friends.  “Oh, I was watching TV last night,” I said, satisfied that this would settle the matter.  She said nothing and nodded, staring at my lawn chair.  “Um.  My parents gave me that lawn chair.  They- um, it’s really comfortable.”  She nodded again and seemed to accept this as the best explanation that she could hope to extract from me.

Well, it’s not a probation violation to get strange.  Over the last seven months, I’ve become more comfortable than ever with succumbing to odd inclinations.  I love that little lawn chair, and I look forward to sitting in it for a long time yet to come.  Since its arrival in my apartment, I’ve considered ordering a tent online and setting up camp in my living room.  I have the Sleep Stream app on my iPhone, and I could set that thing to “Forest Noise” for an outdoor soundtrack and pretend that I am just doing a little summer camping.  Why the hell not?  Keep it strange, I say.

“If a criminal on house arrest does something really f###ing weird in their apartment and no one is there to see it, was it ever actually weird?” – Chinese proverb

148 days to go.

9 thoughts on “Summertime… And the Livin’ is… Aggressively Supervised by the US Government

  1. I say set up the blue tarp and go camping North West style. Don’t forget to leave the shower dripping for the full effect. 😉

  2. I too, am on the house arrest. I’ve been on for a week now, and I’m looking at 31 more weeks to go. I’m 26, and remanded to the custody of my parent’s and their house. I will see probabtion next week to discuss work release and whatever else, but I lost my job in the arrest. I find your blog very enlightening. Does the daunting amount of time and sense of misery and being trapped subside over time? Right now, i’m feeling very bored and very stressed. Should I plan to go insane at some point? Do you find the release times stressful in the potential for probation violation? Have you gotten comfortable? I have 31 weeks to go. Definatly beats jail.

    • Bruce,
      It gets better. The best advice that I can give you would probably be to have goals of what you want to accomplish during your time. It will give you a purpose, which is absolutely essential. You don’t want to feel like you’re wasting your time, and you don’t have to waste it. You can do a lot with it. Maybe take an online course, if there is something that interests you. Whatever it is. For me, I started writing. I can’t imagine being on house arrest without it. I started this blog to deal with everything, including isolation, and it helps so much. So, no need to plan to go insane :). I am comfortable right now, though I’m excited to be off of house arrest in November. I’ve been on it for seven months now. It gets easier, believe me.

  3. So its been almost a week and a half now… I went to my first “meet with my PO” release, which was bittersweet of course. Got some Dunk’s coffee, which is nice but its not really my problem. I find that there are plenty of people out there for me willing to come keep me company. However its a precarious situation as it is my parent’s house and not mine. My feeling on this is that if we are going to be a family then we need to discuss concerns in a more civil way then we do. My mother gets upset and I’m not sure if it me or what… it makes the shame manifest. But i think we can all communicate effectivley things could be more comfortable for all of us. So I paint rooms, take out trash, clean, launder, I even volunteered to give the lawnmower a run. But I also eat food, use the phone, use the internet, own a number of items, and need a place to sleep. And I can’t leave…or I go to jail for a “real good bid”..this sucks. i’ve never been in trouble like this. It was always something stupid maybe drunken foolishness or a sticker violation on a car. I feel my crime, in reality, has been very exaggerated in a negative sense. I will say that it was a very bad relationship with a girl. Take from that what you will but I haven’t lied or hid about anything I’ve done, even when it was a judge asking me!
    The truth is that I regret very little. I’ve loved as hard as much as anybody ever has. I’ve watched children grow, provided for them. I love them to this very second more then I thought humanly possible before the day I watched their tiny little selves come rolling into existence. I did everything I could for them, and I’ll pay this price for them onethousand times over. I have no shame in any of that and nobody can convince me otherwise.
    So there’s that…
    OH, and yeah so lots of people are actually very willing and excited to come do various things with me. Its all very clean and civil; small gatherings, a little music, pizza, maybe a game of basketball or some fitness stuff. And I’m loving that. Bigtime. I still have to discover that happy-medium with my family and my life. I hate to ask “Can I live?” to my mom or dad because in reality I’m in fact a huge pain in their asses. On the flip side of that, I don’t see why I should willingly let this be as miserable as possible. Very precarious.
    I missed that breathalyzer test a few times (4 times a day? really?) because i can’t hear it from anywhere in the house. I told this to my probation officer, i even told him i set an alarm on my phone to remind me to go stand by it, but i sometimes don’t have that with me….ugh…he said “well just dont miss it”. I said “Sir, I really don’t want to go back to jail so please let me know if there’s anything i need to do or anything I can do to help” and he said, don’t miss it. I know around what time it goes off and if i think i miss one i call them right away and they send the test. and i’m not failing them. so idk what to do, should i call them every hour? should i stand next to the thing and not move? I love feeling like the cops might coming rolling down the driveway at any given time.
    Left to my own devices, I feel I am actually ENJOYING being here. Its magic compaired to the pen. Plenty of things for me to do, while following all the rules the best I can. No drinking. Check. no crimes. Check. stay away from her. You better believe that’s a big CHECK. I’ll just have to get used to this breath tester thingy and to be there, when it goes off, everytime.
    Kinda like count….
    and and i’m painting my room jail-cell white. true story.

    I’m so sorry that was wayyyy longer then I thought it would be. I’m not trying to hijack your blog! i swear!

  4. You are such a great writer! You make me laugh….out loud, or just lol;). Text me ur #. My phone got a nice reboot and all my contacts were lost. Miss u!

  5. I’m out in bond and have been on house arrest since November 2011. Still trying to adapt. Looking for some work from home gigs. Any suggestions?

  6. Hahaha. You are such a cracker. I must say, this writing thing is getting better for you, this has been by far my favorite read. It was more poetic than anything else. I totally love your sense of humor, you entertain me. I cant imagine what its like to be forced to be indoors. I love the indoors alright, but only when I CHOOSE it. You are way bigger a person than a lot of us. I love the fact that you dont sit and wallow in misery, though maybe some days you could have felt like the walls were caving in. You are such an inspiration. God bless you. Do you know what ever happened to Lizette? Has she ever tried contacting you? It would be interesting to know.

    • Wow, thanks for your comment! I really appreciate it. Lisette and I haven’t been in contact since the day of our arrest.

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