This scruffy looking guy won't quit staring at me. I look away from him and then back again and he's still looking. I hope Don hurries because this guy is starting to piss me off. In the distance I can hear what sounds like someone listening to a baseball game on the radio. Yea it is a game! I just heard the score Tiger's five Red Sox two. Suddenly the door swings open and I hear someone call out my name "Mr. Nowack" I look over to see Don standing in the doorway.
Don Garvin is my probation officer, he has been for the past twelve months, but today hopefully will be the last time I will ever see him. Don is a short guy with graying brown hair. He is always dressed the same, button up collared shirt and dress slacks. I would say Don is a pretty fair guy. He's never harassed me, maybe because I always did what he said.
I follow Don back down the hallway to his office, hopefully for the last time. I start to think about how I got myself into this trouble. Sixteen months ago, Super Bowl Sunday I was having a party to watch the game. Like all the super bowls for the previous five years, I woke up early to cook some food and get my house ready. I put a lot of work into having my annual party! I put TV's in every room, set up a couple of card tables and get all the food ready. Just as I am getting things ready people are starting to show up. It is 12:30 and we have a big Texas hold'em card game that starts at one.
The house is now filled with noise. People are laughing and talking shit to one another. It gets to be around 2:30 and the card game is going pretty well for me. This is when I decide to drink a beer. My first one, in what would become a long day. A couple hours later and what started out as a sixteen guy card tournament is now down to just two of my friends Zack, Mike and me. I just took what they call a bad beat; Mike got the card he needed to beat me in the hand on the river. I begin to think to myself I am so close to winning this thing and now I am going to blow it, so I decided to play smart. It worked, in the next couple hands I ended up winning the tournament and with it about four hundred fifty dollars.
The beer is flowing well now, I just won some money and the big game was about to start. I thought to myself "man this might be the perfect day." The game finally starts there are about twenty people at my house, but not the person I was hoping would be there, Dana a girl that I met just a week earlier at the bar. Hopefully her and maybe some friends will show during the game. It gets to be about halftime and still Dana did not show up. Just about when I started to get bummed thinking she is not coming I hear a knock on my door. My perfect day is still perfect because it's Dana and her friend Sara.
By the end of the game I'm not even paying to much attention to the game. Dana, myself and a couple of other people have started playing some drinking games. The only problem is that Dana keeps saying how Sara has to bring her car home in a little bit. This is not good news so I keep trying to get Dana to stay. But then she says "why don't you just come out to our apartment?" This sounds good to me only problem I still got a house full of people. So I begin to tell some of them "hey, I am going out to Dana's you guys all can stay here but I am leaving." Some of my friends did not like to hear this because they knew I was to drunk to drive. When I went to leave I realize my friend Richy's truck is parked behind my car.
I come back in the house, desperately searching for Richy. When I finally find him at first he's hesitant to move his truck, because he does not want me driving. After a little pleading I finally got him to move the truck. I told him I have driven many times drunk and far worse then I was now.
Dana lives at Grand Valley in the apartments which is about a half-hour drive from my house. When I arrived at Dana's there was already a few people hanging out. Somebody had decided we should play some beer pong. It's a drinking game that you can get pretty hammered from. About two hours of this, and I decided to go home. It was already three o'clock in the morning and I had to work the next day so I gave Dana a kiss goodbye and thought to myself "this is the perfect day", that was about to change.
Driving home from Grand Valley my day, or should we say night was turned upside down. I thought I was driving fine, but on the corner of Wilson and Lake Michigan drive there is a No Turn on Red sign. Under my drunken condition at the time I did not see the sign. I decided to take a right turn on the red light. Bad move, from the opposite corner a Walker police officer was watching me, and after I turned the corner the officer got right behind me. All I remember is seeing the lights come on, but I had a great idea. I had a pack of breath mints in my pocket so I tried to take one; being that I was so nervous I accidentally popped about three in my mouth. These were some strong mints. The officer was approaching my car, so I tried to roll down my window but remember I was pretty impaired at this point so instead of my drivers side window I rolled down my back window.
"Can I see your driver's license and proof of insurance" the officer said? So I grabbed my license and reached into my glove box for my insurance. When I handed over my insurance the officer handed it back and said "it's expired." I began frantically to look for the right one. I think the cop knew I was wasted because she then said "just forget the insurance and step out of the car" so when I got out the first thing the cop said to me was "have you been drinking peppermint schnapps" I was dumbfounded to why she would ask that. I forgot all about all the mints I just ate.
After failing the field sobriety test I was arrested and taking to the jail in Walker. Where I was booked and then transported to the Kent county jail. These two jails could not be any more different. The jail in walker was small an empty, but When I walked into the jail in Kent County you could not tell that it was almost five o'clock in the morning. The place was full of energy, people were yelling and it was very crowded. The place reminded me of a hospital because it was so clean and cold. Everything was cement and painted white.
The guards escorted me to a cell with about three other guys in it and I just found a spot on the cement bench and tried to sleep. This is impossible when you're freezing and hungry. These people had no intention of sleeping they were having fun yelling at the guards. I just wanted this night to get over and the next day to get here when they could let me out.
I went to court about a month later and I hired a lawyer which cost me three thousand dollars. The court case against me went just how I thought it would. I had to pay about four thousand dollars in fines, do one hundred hours of community service and I lost my license for six months and had it restricted for another six months. Ridding my bike to and from work was not fun.
After all that what did I learn I would say that Drinking impairs your judgment and you make some bad choices, some with consequences that may last a lifetime? For the rest of my life I will have a criminal record of that conviction.
Now here I am sitting in Don's office and he's looking over a bunch of paper work and he says "well Ralph I guess this is the last time you will have to see me do you think you learned anything" I thought about this question and just smiled because I wanted to tell Don that I already knew before that fateful night that driving drunk was wrong. I t was not some new thing to me I just did not think I would get caught for it. I said nothing I just look back at Don. He hands me some papers and tells me to stay out of trouble.