Mar 16 • 10M

WET RECKLESS

Driving While Barely Intoxicated

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I used to trust in cops — the general idea of cops, anyway.  Now I think at least half of them should probably be in jail, being embuggered by their fellow criminals.  They’re allegedly there to ‘protect and serve’; now they are paramilitary and predatory.  The mandate of law enforcement now seems to be more like ‘hunt and persecute,’ at least in my relatively posh white suburban neighborhood, where the fuckers are lurking on virtually every corner, waiting to pounce. 

I can almost laugh about my DUI experience now — it was over 2 years ago —  but it still rattles me because of what total, abject bullshit it was. 

My girlfriend flew in from Alabama, so I took her to a restaurant/wine bar in the posh hippy town of Fairfax, a few miles from my house — where, with a full meal, we each consumed 1.5 glasses of red wine. 

Being nothing like intoxicated, I made the sensible choice to drive us home. 

I did unintentionally make an illegal left turn out of a parking lot, because I was following the car in front of me. 

(In retrospect, it seems like the really terrible, life-altering mistake we made was laughing a lot in the car together, and generally looking like divorced women over the age of 40 enjoying themselves.  I believe this is what some cops in my area are actually targeting, at least subconsciously. I honestly believe there is some toxic masculinity at work on the police force around here that just absolutely hates seeing a woman without a man, looking too happy and complete.)

When I got pulled over, I was completely blasé about it, because I thought, “They will be kind and decent to me, because I’m not fucked up.”  They informed me about the illegal left turn, which I was unaware of, and asked me to extinguish my cigarette, which I did. 

The cops asked me the standard question: “Have you been drinking this evening?” And then I made the horrible mistake of telling the cops the truth, because I was so proud of how restrained I had been that evening. I’ll never make that boneheaded move again. (Like they say on Letterkenny: “Cops are mushrooms.  Feed them bullshit and keep them in the dark.”) 

  “I had one and one-half glasses of wine,” I told them confidently, figuring that at my generous current weight I certainly couldn’t be considered to be legally impaired.

 I mean, I know what it feels like to be impaired.  I have even driven impaired, at various points in my life, but I wasn’t anything like impaired right then.  What I was right then was merely in a pleasant mood

But, not knowing what .08% actually reflected in terms of my own blood alcohol content, I had merely set myself up for a jolly fist up the legal caboose. 

The officer was a somewhat handsome, well-built, not tall black man who was, to date, the most polite sadist I have ever come across.

To my total shock and awe, he and his partner - an Eric Estrada, CHiPS type —  had me get out of the car and perform the entire drunky-dance on the side of the road.  I was entirely confident I would pass with flying colors, because I wasn’t drunk. 

Then they made me take the Breathalyzer test.  I came in at a .09, one hundredth of a point too high. 

I was absolutely stupefied when that motherfucker politely handcuffed me.  I was absolutely horrified to realize, once in the back of the squad car, that he was actually taking me to jail.  For the night. 

It was a big mess - my friend was crying.  I had to get my car towed since she couldn’t drive stick. 

Naturally, despite the fact that I was entirely sober by the time I got to jail (I was treated to yet another Breathalyzer test, and came in at .08, the legal limit) I was treated like subhuman criminal garbage while behind bars. 

I quietly asked a squat, blond lady cop a question about what the protocols were, in order not to inadvertently get into more trouble while incarcerated. 

The Lady Cop’s face transformed;  a monster mask crept over her features, and she unleashed her complete Jungian shadow-self at me.  She screamed at me, in a very special cop asshole voice that she’d obviously developed because her life was horrible: “Do you think you’re special?  You’re not special!”  

I stared at her for a moment with a deadened expression, then held up my hands like she was pointing a gun at me. 

I’ve never been so grateful for the fact that I’m a Buddhist.  I sat crosslegged in the cell and did some mantras in my head. 

I was finally released into a taxicab at around 5AM, after being photographed and fingerprinted and put on probation for 3 years. 

The repercussions were draconian and horrible. 

The whole adventure set me back about $10K. 

I hired a criminal attorney who managed to get my charges reduced to a “Wet Reckless,” which is what they call it when you aren’t actually drunk enough to get a DUI, but are right at the legal limit. 

I was forced to attend 30 hours of punishment in the form of dismal, two hour Alcoholics Anonymous-esque sessions every Monday evening.  It ruined that entire summer for me.  I hated it all week long, and was bummed out and gnashing my teeth the entire day leading up to it.  The “instructors” were mean idiots - usually reformed felons who had cleaned up their acts at some desperate point in their miserable lives, and were now soullessly and humorlessly puking out AA scripture for the state. 

I ended up sitting next to a tall, broody, tattooed young man, clearly hungover, and dressed in a dirty plumber’s uniform, because when he saw me enter the room, he inquired, “What up, O.G. Thug?” 

This was the greatest level of kindness I could expect from the room, so I took it.  ‘Brian’ and I became buddies, and always sat together. 

His alcohol level was so high when he was arrested, he told me, he was technically dead - something like 2.6.   I adopted him for the endurance of the class, even though he got thrown out once or twice for being visibly drunk. 

Back in the day, the cops I knew would have taken one look at me being a fairly responsible citizen, and — at the absolute worst, they might make me sit on the curb for half an hour before driving half a mile home.   But these cockwipers were absolutely just jamming me up for kicks.  There was something absolutely over-killy and dead wrong about it. 

So I did a little research on my arresting officer - let us call him Officer Saditty (because he was a jumped up, buttoned-up little jackbooted crypto-thug who realllly seemed to enjoy getting some abstract revenge on Miss Becky Blonde, if only for the purposes of general power-tripping shitheaddery).  It turned out he had been recognized multiple times by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. 

Now, you might think this is a good thing - MADD certainly raised consciousness about drunk drivers, at one point. But then I read a bit further. 

Now, it seems, MADD is a nonprofit scam. Non-profit watchdog groups have been recognizing that MADD no longer actually does anything productive but make a lot of money for themselves.

From the website sandiegodefenders.com

“The executives at MADD make huge salaries. That only continues if they keep bringing in donations. That only happens if they perpetuate fear of drinking and driving. That goes hand and hand with seeking harsher and harsher penalties for DUI and broader and broader laws lowering legal limits et cetera.

MADD now spends nearly two thirds of the money it brings in on paying its leaders and paying for advertising to get more donations. Their initial primary purpose, educating the public about the potential dangers of drunk driving, has been accomplished. People are as aware of that as they are the risks of smoking.

Our police are cashing in through MADD, too. Many of the DUI checkpoints we see are paid for by MADD. The cops are paid overtime to run them. They happily do so, even though it has been proven that they catch more drunk drivers with the same number of cops on patrol, rather than standing around a checkpoint.” 

So much for antiquated ideals of justice.  MADD recently passed legislature in Sacramento that requires all first-time DUI’s to install ignition interlock devices in their own cars.  It’s a scam, it makes the state look tough on crime, and it is some raw-dog total bullshit. 

Fuck MADD, and fuck the police. The DUI-Industrial Complex is a predatory money machine.  I spit my fine cabernet at them.  

(If you’re going to have any wine with dinner, my lawyer suggested - best to take an Uber. ) 

Protect and serve my ass.  

I actually researched a local kindergarten class near the police station: I was going to make a big tempera-paint card saying “Thank you Officers for keeping us safe!”  In big scrawly kid letters, then send it to my arresting officers with a plate of brownies made from cat shit. 

I didn’t do it.  But I thought about it.  Thinking about it still isn’t a crime….yet. 

Yeah, you SHOULD. Hire an editor who can help you. Namely, ME.

Cintraw@gmail.com.

Artwork: “The Comforts of Technology,” oil on canvas, Cintra Wilson 2019