All Odds Against Me; Retrograde
In grade school, teachers will ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Some will say a Fireman, and others will say a Astronaut. Some will say a Doctor, and others will say a Singer. Me? I don’t fucking know. At that age, I did whatever my grandparents told me to. In Filipino culture, the girls are expected to become a nurse. A suggestion to be precise.No questions asked. It wasn’t until high school, where I decided on my career choice. I love to write, and I always wanted to travel to see and meet different people. Sometimes, I’m nosey. I want to be a journalist.
In college, or to be specific, community college, you get a taste of paying for your own shit. Paying your phone bill or any other materialistic things do not count, and school doesn’t teach or prepare you for it.
It wasn’t until Fall of 2013, where I decided to make a move from a small town called Fairfield, to across the bay, in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., San Francisco. A city where landlords are allowed to raise the rent by 8.7 percent, and a city where it’s almost impossible to transition to it’s lifestyle. It’s the sacrifice I made to go to school out here.
If you haven’t heard of retrograde yet, it’s a time period where each zodiac sign will experience bad shit happening to them for a few months or so. Well, I’ve been in retrograde for two years. I went from living at my evil step mother’s apartment that smelled of dog urine and feces while sleeping on the couch, to living in a built-in living room for cheap, but the subleaser, who illegally subleased the apartment to me, stole my rent money and ran off with my deposit, leaving me to squat, and to living with a psychotic roommate with narcissism, who I got into a physical altercation with and put me in jail for a night. All these events I’ve had to deal with while going to school. I wasn’t prepared for this.
Because of my recent jail experience, I’m behind on my bills. The last of my money went to my textbooks, and the only food I’m eating is the last of my fruits; one uncut watermelon, cantaloup, and a bag of apples. I have to make those last until the first of July.
At the time, I’ve worked two jobs. However, three semesters in a row I’ve taken way over twelve units. The only income I’m receiving is my step dad’s VA benefits which covers my rent and some other bills.How can a student remain a 3.5 GPA student in San Francisco, if their living situation is fucked up? Financial aid and scholarships can only do so much. Maybe I’m just ranting nonsense.
If you’re going to plan on moving to the city, be well prepared that you will become the definition of a starving student. In order for me to move out of my fucked up place. The total cost of breaking the lease and moving into a new apartment will cost at least $3,000 or more. In my head, this is the sacrifice I made to live out here. It’s all for school, I tell myself. My mother will ask me why I can’t I move back to Fairfield and attend Solano Community College. Why? So I can’t progress in my writing and connections. What is there to write out there? When I use to live there, my personal journal was always filled to the edge of the pages of how much I hate it there.
Today, I’m focusing my attention in my statistics class. Well, trying to, other than the fact I’m writing this blog rant. You know you’re losing it when you forget your statistics book in your locked bedroom along with your cats and your boyfriend is the only one who knows how to unlock the tiny little hole in the door knob. All for feeling safe from my evil roommate, who went into my bedroom, grabbed my cats, and put them outside. To this day, my hatred for him grows deeper than the depths of hell.
Two years in retrograde. When will it end? Is the universe against me? Should I just drop out of college? Should I move back? Anyway, I’ll keep this nice and short. I’ll be absent from wordpress until the summer semester is over.Hopefully by then, things will be better.
A Night in the Women’s Lounge
Deep breath, heart pounding. The doorbell rings, and I can hear the officers’ walkie-talkies giving out a PC 242. I haven’t been through this procedure since 2010, only this time I didn’t get so lucky. After the questions have been answered, a female officer with pale skin, looks like she just recovered from a cold; glanced at me with a slanted lower lip and apologetic eyes. I’m in handcuffs. What the actual fuck.
As I’m escorted out of the building, I feel butterflies in my stomach, or maybe that’s just vomit eroding from being nervous. I should be frightful since this is the first time I’m being arrested, but I feel more embarrassment than fear. Colorful glimpse of flashes and pictures race across my mind like a broken motion picture that never ends. I mostly remember the heartbreak in my boyfriend’s face as I was taken away. There are no tears in my eyes as I walk outside a foggy evening and into the police car. We have left the premises.
I didn’t expect the back of the cop car to be luxurious. I mean, who would? The material in my clothing made it slippery to sit up straight on the hard plastic, spoon-like curved seats. Tightening my core to keep me from slouching makes it more uncomfortable besides the fact I’m still in handcuffs. Although, physical comfort wasn’t my priority. Mentally and emotionally, I try to find comfort by talking to the female officer who arrested me. I was asking awkwardly, annoying questions like a three-year-old wanting to know about how cars operate or why that sky is blue. However, her sympathetic smile was.. kind of comforting. She asked me what college I go to, my major, my goals, etc. I responded to her proudly, I’m a journalism major at City College of San Francisco about to transfer to San Francisco State University for my Bachelor’s degree, and I can’t stand stereotypes the media portrays different cultures from lazy journalism. She was meticulous in what I was saying. I can see her eyebrows raise from the gleaming light of her computer. “See, you have a bright future ahead of you,” she said.
The First Step at the Police Department
We arrived at the Daly City Police Department where I thought would be my jail cell. I don’t know why I pictured being in jail like the old western days. A small disarray office, with primary colors of sepia, and a jail cell behind the officer’s desk. Nope. Entering the building, she led me down to what I guessed somewhat right, to be a small office, and a bit disorganized on the count of there were scattered papers from one table by a random sink, to a bright yellow bench which still had handcuffs lying there. This building was built in the 1960’s; you can tell by the smell of cigarettes and mold. I’m patiently waiting to be interrogated since this room sets the environment that screams interrogation. I scrutinize the room, trying to find out how to keep my mind off the fact that I might be asked intimidating questions. I scan to my left of the yellow bench to see a bathroom stall. This was a fucking bathroom. I read certain articles about cops being underpaid, but shit. I look up to focus my attention on the rust clinging mercilessly to the air vent. The questions begin.
A Brief History
My anger began when I was younger, and escalated through my teenage years and into adulthood. I was that typical divorced child who was raised by my grandparents, and was forced to grow up quicker. Both my parents had a history of anger and domestic violence. My dad had the worst temper. That temper can go from “zero to a hundred, real quick.” I don’t want to explain any further about him. For my mom, her anger goes into battle through her mouth. She speaks as her voice penetrates through my chest and into my heart. However, there’s one thing I developed besides my built up anger that still haunts me. It’s my loyalty, that unconditional love from a child that will always come back no matter how many times you hurt her. It’s genuine and sincere. It’s pure. Then again, the monster inside me seems to always win the ongoing war against the child with genuine love.
After the female officer finished typing her statements about the incident, my phone, industrial bar and hair ties are confiscated from me. Then, a male officer, probably around his late 20’s, briskly stomps toward me with a digital camera, taking a picture of my face, then he tells me I have to be transported to the Redwood City County Jail.
On the Road Again
A repetition of this night keeps playing over and over again. Unfortunately, this cop car seems darker than the last one. The adrenaline from my apartment building to now has decreased. It’s just dark. I look out the tinted window in hopes to see some sort of light. The only stars I see are the passing street lights from the highway. God will this car ride ever end?
Redwood City County Jail
It’s starting to get chilly, and I’m still sitting in the dark with my head leaned against the window while staring the officer’s gun, then cop car comes to a stop. There’s a metal gate painted a shaded tan color. The officer and I waited in silence for a while. “Looks like it might be busy,” he said. When it opened, the bright light made my eyes squint like someone squirted lemon in it. When we entered the garage, my adrenaline starts to increase as if it were a survival mechanism protecting me from the unknown. The officer opens the door for me and warns me to keep quite, then he leads me to a waiting room where I see two more officers standing by the computers and two arrests sitting on a wooden bench poorly painted an awful, dull grey. The officer who escorted me told me to take seat on the bench while he starts toward the refrigerator. This jail was more of a shit hole than the Daly City Police Department. The acrid fumes burned my nose from smelling of piss and vomit that probably hasn’t been cleaned in years. You can see the gruesome grease smudged against the walls, ceiling and floor. I look to my right to see the people who were also arrested. Both are hispanic. One was wearing a striped green and white polo shirt with tan slacks and white Nikes. His back is leaned against the smudged greasy wall looking at the ceiling with his head so high, he’s most likely praying to the heavens for a miracle to happen. The other girl who was arrested looks intensely young, but very tall. Her body is built stumpy, and a majority of her black clothing was covered in dried grass. Her eyeliner is pointed dangerously sharp that it could cut your skin if it were an inanimate object, and she has a tattoo on her chest in old English letters that says OUTLAW. Fuck, I don’t belong here.
One of the male officers by the computer proceeded to get more information from the girl. She hissed a bunch of attitude and sarcasm at him, then she asked for her shoes. “Well you can’t get your shoes because it was blown up along with the car you stole,” he said. The female officer next to him shows a smirk with her dimple exposed on the left side of her face. My entire arms are starting to fall asleep. Luckily my wrists are scrawny enough to twist within the handcuffs from side to side every so often. I lean against the freezing cold concrete wall to focus my attention on being cold rather than being sore.
The two people sitting next to me were taken to the other room after the officers finished their files. Then, a fresh batch of new arrests came through the door, both are males. One man looks like he’s drunk with his face the color of a bright, cherry red. He wore rounded Harry Potter glasses, and pink Jordans. The other man, dear God, hobbles toward the bench and sits right next to me. He looks like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. His head is shiny bald to where you can see his veins, and he has four missing teeth. His eyes are a beautiful color of silver and blue, although his eyes have red eye bags from doing crystal meth. Two more cops come in, but they didn’t look like your average cops in uniforms. Both are wearing casual clothing. One was out of shape with his belly hanging over his belt and is wearing a Giants hat backwards and the other was built muscular with hipster glasses. The cop with the Giants hat seems to love his job by antagonizing the two males sitting next to me. He made comments on the drunk man’s pink shoes.
“It’s for breast cancer awareness month, but too bad I have to throw these away.” the drunk said. The cop asked him why just to feel amused.
“It’s bad luck getting arrested with these babies,” he said.
The man sitting next to me is dozing off. The unfit cop yells, “Travis!” He wakes up and spits out, “I’m a shooter. I love to shoot!”
I spot a bag full of money and a needle. It’s Travis’s belongings.
The Pat Down Room
A lady from the entrance called my name and moves me to a smaller room. This room is freezing cold. Everything this room was made of is strictly grey concrete. I went from sitting on a wooden bench to a concrete bench. I sit in a fettle position to try to warm myself up, then I hear the cops behind the desk bring my name up.
She’s a 242…Yeah he called the cops on her…..she’s so calm though.
She came back to the room with gloves. I felt my heart stop for a quick second, thinking she’s going to ask me to strip everything off to find whatever is illegal. I bite my lip and tried to hold my tears in. She releases me from my handcuffs, then quickly asks me to put my hands against the wall. I didn’t have time to stretch or feel my wrists, I just did what she asked. It was a quick pat down, although she made me feel very uncomfortable tugging at my bra. When she was done, I had to readjust my tits thanking God that I’m no longer in hand cuffs.
“Boyfriend?” the lady asked.
“Roommate,” I snapped.
The Women’s Lounge
I wiped my tears and she pointed me in the direction of the room next to the pat down room. Slowly, I proceeded toward it while sniffing and clearing my throat. There’s a desk with a caged window with a nurse sitting behind it. I continued to take my seat while she hands me a clip board with highlighted X’s for me to sign. As the nurse speaks, it’s obvious that she hates her job. Her slow, monotone accent asks me the simple yes or no questions. Majority are no mam instead of yes mam. Will she shut the fuck up already?
After answering the questions for the nurse, I was told to go back to the front desk to take a picture, but first, they scanned my finger prints. The whole process was uncomfortable. Every room I’m in, I feel violated because I’m being constantly touched by these random people. They may be “professionals” but in my head, don’t fucking touch me. After the pictures and the fingerprints are done my thought starts creeping up on me. I’m an official criminal.
The woman from the pat down room walks me down the corridors, and I can’t help but look to my left to see what was inside the jail cells. Sometimes I wish my curiosity didn’t lead my head toward that direction. Each cell are conceived of all men. This whole corridor looks like a rejected dog pound, but I have to say, the rooms are bigger than the pat down room. Each room has a capacity of at least fifteen to twenty men locked behind a metal door with glass windows. Their rooms are made of all concrete exactly like the previous room. However, they have no toilets. Dogs are treated better than this at the pound. I saw a man breathing fog onto the window and writing letters. I didn’t have time to read it because the female officer who patted me down quickly scurried me. My jail cell was all the way down the hall way, only they don’t call it a jail cell; that’s for the men. They call my jail cell the women’s lounge.
The female officer wished me luck as we parted. What does she mean by good luck? My biased thoughts came to visit me as I think of what my inmates may look like; I’m thinking they may look like they could kick my ass. The women’s lounge is extremely different from the mens’ jail cells. It’s unfortunately smaller, but at least it has a bathroom. The room consists of eight brick-shaped plastic chairs and a built in T.V with a poor quality, fuzzy screen hanging from the top corner of the room playing ongoing infomercials. The entrance has no door and isn’t heavily guarded, although there’s a sign which says we cannot leave the room without permission. I closed my eyes and held my breath as I walked in. In the lounge I see one girl passed out to my right taking up three chairs. Next to her, I also see the same girl I saw at in the waiting room who has the tattoo of OUTLAW on her chest sitting up with her head leaned back while snoring. There are two more girls sitting in the back left corner of the room. One woman looks around her early fifties and ironically looked like the lady from the college food truck, but it wasn’t her. The other woman sitting next to her is probably around the same age as me. She’s wearing an orange jail shirt and yoga pants. If anyone watches The Fosters, she looks like Lou played by Ashley Argota. I took my seat close by the entrance. Maybe if I’m nice and polite they might think I’m crazy so they won’t fuck with me, but my gut instinct told me by how the two women in the back left corner look, they seem somewhat normal. Whenever I feel awkward, I can’t help but say awkward things in the spur of the moment.
“Hi,” I smiled.
“Hello.” both of them said
“What are you in here for?”
“DUI,” the older woman said.
“Assault,” the younger woman spoke quietly out of shame.
As awkward as this conversation may be, the girl passed out next to me started twitching as an ice breaker. The two women told me she has been tweaking ever since they got here. Surprisingly, they invited me to sit next to them while warning me if I were to sit in the same spot, the tweaker may wake up and swing at me. The oldest woman with the DUI is Nancy. She has no filter, but whatever she has to say negatively, she will whisper to me and the younger girl. Her voice speaks with a scratchy tone from smoking cigarettes for years. The youngest woman is Rose. She’s 27 years of age, and she’s here for the same reason as me only her assault was directed toward her boyfriend. Ironically, she goes to the same college as me. I’m feeling a little better about being here knowing I have allies and someone to talk to. I think I would go crazy if I remained quite for twelve hours until I’m released from this hell hole.
While I start to focus my attention on Rose, she’s a gorgeous girl. Plump lips, french vanilla skin, and beautiful long dark hair that she French braided to keep it from falling in hair face. Her voice has a sugary tone to it. It’s sweet and comfortable. I asked her what she was to start a new conversation. Rose responded, Pacific Islander(Filipino). Immediately, I dropped the walls I put up when I entered the lounge and told her I’m Chamorro. Nancy was starting to get excited because she was a Navy brat, born and raised in Hawai’i. Finally, I can relate and maybe this night will pass by quicker. We start to bring up the geography and cultural values of our islands. Nancy had no idea where Guahan was, and as I was further explaining to her, a male officer walks by us acting like he has something important to do, yet he quickly skims our room to see what we’re up to while walking back to the main desk. Nancy tilts her head toward me and rolled her eyes.
“These cops are probably thinking that we’re too smart to be here since we’re talking about this,” Nancy said.
Rose and I chuckled. It feels good to laugh. It’s only been three hours since my arrest, but it’s nice to give my cheeks and abs some exercise. I feel like a civilian with freedom again.
There’s no clock in the women’s lounge. The officers casually walk back and fourth to check on us all night. Every time they do, I politely ask the time. It’s 1 a.m. I’ve been here since 9 p.m. Me, Nancy, and Rose try to stay awake. The girls next to us seem to enjoy their comfort corner. Then, the lady who works at the OR Program desk calls my name. My heart starts beating fast, but only out of excitement that maybe someone might have come to bail me out. Well, I got my hopes up. She brought me to the desk to ask me for a release address. God dammit I’m going to be here for a while. I gave her my grandparents address and number as a release address. However, I had no idea that she was going to call them.
I wasn’t exactly the perfect child to raise. As a teenager, of course, my raging hormones inflicted my poor decision making skills, but never in my life would I expect myself to be in jail. One of my biggest fears is to have my grandparents pass away knowing I either disappointed them or did not succeed in life. This must be their biggest disappointment. My grandma picked up speaking her usual tone. I should have warned the front desk lady to hold the phone away from her ear. Too late. She informed my grandma about me being in jail. I look down at my feet like a puppy that got caught eating out of the garbage. My tail was tucked between my legs. I’m nervous again. After the conversation was over. The lady informed me about what will happen. I may have gotten my hopes up about getting out of here early, but I’ll be praying that my case will be dropped. On the other hand, I’ll just focus my attention on getting the fuck out of jail first. I walked back to the women’s lounge.
“This is only the first step,” Nancy said.
Rose’s eyes are lower than they were about an hour ago. She starts talking about her anger issues, and I can see a tear forming in her bulgy, watery eyes.
“I didn’t mean to slap him, but he provoked me.. called me a coward if I didn’t do it,” Rose said.
“I was with him for a year, and I got tired of him hiding me in public.”
I felt bad for her. We’ve all been there at one point in our lives.
A male cop came toward the entrance of our lounge.
“Rose,” he yelled.
Then, she was gone. No goodbye or anything. Her family must have came by to bail her out, or maybe, just maybe, plot twist, her boyfriend bailed her out. Who knows. Hopefully I’ll see her the college when this nightmare is over.
Nancy and I looked at the empty seat next to us.
“We need to protect our spots, who knows who will be here at two in the morning,” Nancy said.
I wonder. Hopefully, we get a tweaker so she can pass out on the last two chairs by the entrance.
The girl with the tattoo finally wakes up. Her eyes glared toward Nancy and I, then she asks for the time. We told her it’s one in the morning, and she continues to mumble sentences as we conseriably listen. Well, at least try to listen. I asked her what she was in here for. She responded(still mumbling) that she was going through some shit, and she pulled a GTA(Grand Theft Auto.) Nancy was sceptic about her age. Mariana is the girl’s name. She gives us an obvious lie that she’s nineteen years of age. Nancy didn’t buy it. She speaks Spanish to Mariana. I understood the numbers, and Mariana is actually fifteen. What the fuck are you doing here?
Mariana moves from the single chair and lies down taking up two chairs by the entrance. Nancy and I couldn’t help but stare at Marianna and the tweaker girl, then we stare at each other.
“At least I have you to talk to instead of these fucking nitwits.” Nancy said.
The New Arrest(Asia)
An hour has passed, and my back is hurting me from sitting up for a long period of time. I look over at the single chair where Mariana used to sit, and ran toward it before any new comers enter and push it towards Nancy. We had the chairs facing each other creating a bed, then the same cop that continuously checks up on us, mean mugs as we made a bed out of the chairs. Sitting up for four hours made me not give a shit what the cops think. I’ll put it fucking back. It feels good to finally lay down. The hard plastic isn’t nothing compared to my warm cozy bed, curled up with my cats, but curling up with Nancy is close enough.
There was no time to get comfy, cozy. Nancy and I heard beeping noises and footsteps echoing down the hall that continues to get louder and closer.
“Alright ladies make room,” he yelled.
A new arrest came in. Her skin looks soft as silk with a perfect brownie color to her complexion. She wore combat boots with missing laces, a black and white striped shirt, and her facial expression didn’t look too friendly. Before I had a chance to push the chair back to it’s original place, she picked the plastic brick-like chair and set it close to the tweaker.
“Looks like she didn’t need any help,” Nancy said.
The officer announced that we will be getting our identification tags now. He gave us these plastic yellow wrist bands with our identification numbers and our mug shots on it. The cameras at the front desk makes your skin tone five shades lighter. My picture looked horrific, but at least I wasn’t smiling like Justin Bieber was when he got arrested for a DUI.
Nancy and I were staring at the new girl for a while as she sighs and twiddles her fingers.
“Are you okay?” I said.
She responds positively.
“My name is Asia,” she said.
There is some attitude in her tone, but she can hold a conversation very well.
“What are you in here for?,” Nancy said.
“I had a warrant for not showing up to court,” Asia quickly responds.
“For what?,” I said.
Asia’s voice starts to soften as she brings up her daughter.
“It was my daughter’s birthday too, and I couldn’t make it,” Asia’s eyes start to sparkle in the light from the tears in her eyes.
“The last thing she asked when I was talking to her on the phone was ‘Mommy can I have gummy bears?’”
She takes a deep breath, then Nancy’s visceral feelings changes the conversation.
As Nancy and Asia continued, I withdrew to take a break. Luckily we have a bathroom in the women’s lounge. As I entered the bathroom, I hesitantly regret it. The bathroom is as tiny as the closet Harry Potter used to live in at his Aunt and Uncle’s house. Although, it smelled of nothing, I paused to decifer if I should use the toilet or not. The bathroom has small, cheap tiled floors that also covers the walls, and the lighting is as dim as the classic 1980’s horror movies. There is no mirror, which I’m happy about because I don’t want to see how much I look like shit compared to my mug shot on my identification tag. The sink and toilet are made of cold titanium and there is no fucking toilet seat covers. I have a disadvantage from being so short to where I can’t squat. I use the thin Dollar Tree quality toilet paper and triple padded it, then did the best I could to squat while being on my tippy toes and holding the walls. First world problems concludes to…no soap.
There’s a Long Night Ahead of Us
I exit the bathroom to see Asia, Mariana, and the tweaker girl passed out. Asia lays in the fettle position adjacent to the tweaker girl, and Mariana is sprawled out on the two chairs with her legs hanging off. I watched as the dried grass from Mariana’s clothing falls to the floor. Nancy and I glance up at the T.V. with fuzzy vision to keep us somewhat entertained.
The woman from the OR Program desk switches shifts with another Co-worker. He’s a young male maybe around his early 30’s, very attractive, but he’s lazy. He takes his time getting ready even though he clocked in. I feel that the people who work in a office like this, gets paid to do absolutely nothing but take redundant, long breaks. He starts toward the lounge and calls Mariana’s name. Mariana is still passed out with drool dripping from her mouth to the plastic chair. It takes two officers to wake her up and drag her to the OR Program desk. I want to take her spot, but I also don’t want to be anywhere near the girl next to Asia because I have no idea what she looks like because her hood covers her whole face.
A janitor passes by then looks toward the lounge. I point my index finger to my wrist to ask the time. It’s ten minutes after three. Then, beeping goes off in the front. An officer brings another arrest in. Hopefully, this is the last one. This new arrest looks harmless. She came in with smeared mascara across her snow white skin. Her eyes are bloodshot red, probably from crying a lot, and she’s wearing a flower print club dress turned into a shirt because the officer gave her those ugly orange jail pants, which are the same ones the tweaker girl is wearing. She sat frigidly on the chair by the entrance. She sniffed before we spoke; she has a strong accent to wear you can tell she’s from another country. Burchu is her name, but it’s pronounced (boo-chu.) She’s Turkish and was cited to a DUI like Nancy. Tweaker girl started twitching, which made Burchu jump out of her seat from fear. I might regret this later on in the morning, but I invited her over. There was plenty of room when Rose was here, there’s going to be room for Burchu. As soon as she took her seat, the aroma of Vodka punched the inside of my nostrils.
“How much did you drink?” I said.
“Only one beer and two glasses of wine, but I waited hours before I drove,” she said.
She stares at me and Nancy for a good minute to examine and process what we look like.
“We only invited you to sit with us because you don’t look that fucked up like the twitcher and the fifteen-year-old idiot,” Nancy said.
Burchu giggled, but you can tell she seemed somewhat offended. This is not a place where women like us should be for peddie cases. Where are the cops when you really need them at times?
Across the women’s lounge. Mariana and the man at the front desk are still talking. Mariana is refusing to give her real age. It took a cop to finally get her to confess. Once she told the truth, the cop escorted her down the hall. That was the last time I saw her.
She’s fifteen….Yeah, they will be taking her to juvinille hall.
Asia wakes up, and migrates to Mariana’s previous seats, then she passes out. It must be nice to have a two to three chairs to yourself. My eyes are beginning to be heavy. Burchu is the same height as me, but she’s mostly skin and bones. She can fit in a fettle position in one chair. Nancy drifts into a deep slumber, which it’s obvious because she’s starts to snore which helps keep me awake for the time being. I stare at the telephone close to the tweaker girl. It seems it’s been a long time that I’ve heard a familiar voice. I crawled toward the phone and as I picked up, a voice memo gives me options to either press one or two. I pressed one which is the shittiest pick, but I don’t have any money for two. The voice told me to wait two minutes. In my head, I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t pick up. It’s four in the morning. I called one more time in hopes to give me comfort. No luck.
It’s Just a Mirage
Time seems to stop in the women’s lounge. It’s starting to feel like I’m in a asylum. I see white pillows around the walls, and my inmates clothing turned from orange to white stray jackets. It’s a mirage. My brain is shutting down. I leaned my head back while sitting up looking at the bright light beaming down like the sun beaming down on Sacramento’s hottest days. It’s violent. I close my eyes to be woken up to, “BREAKFAST TIME!”
The White Paper Bags and Heather
A a cop with hair around the sides of his cranium with a douche bag smirk stomps in and throws us white lunch bags.
As he left, you would think that Nancy would get a little excited because she hasn’t eaten all day. But then again…
“Good lord, you think you can get some fucking sleep around here,” Nancy hissed.
As we looked into our lunch bags, or in this case, breakfast bags. There’s one banana, a small carton of milk, a styrafoam bowl, a plastic spoon, and a plastic bag with barely any granola cereal in it. My hand pulled toward the banana and milk. Then, the tweaker girl is finally awake. Her hair is a burgundy red, and her features are the exact same as Tiffany Doggett from Orange is the New Black. I asked her if she wanted my cereal, and she quickly hobbles to get it. Her walk is the same as the Doggett. Burchu also asked if she wanted her cereal and she took that too. She’s probably been here longer than any of us. Her name is Heather. Burchu, as sweet as her voice can be, asked why she was here.
“I’m here for yelling at a wall,” Heather said.
What the fuck.
“Why?” I asked.
“I was trying to get my boyfriend to jump over the wall,” Heather said.
“She’s a fucking nutcase,” Nancy whispered in my ear.
Asia didn’t say a word. She quickly eats then plops her entire body on the plastic chairs.
Burchu took baby steps toward the phones. Heather was spitting knowledge on how the phone works. Her voice is as raspy as a vibrating pipeline in the sewerd.
“She must be a resident,” Nancy said.
I’m exhausted. I feel my eyes lids fold. Politely, I asked Nancy if I can lay down on her lap for a while. She gave me a warm smile and allowed me to. Never in my life would I ask a stranger if I could lay on her or him.
Another hour has passed. Each minute in one hour seems to have Nancy and I change position with our seatings. A couple minutes turns into Nancy laying down on my lap while I sit up, and vice versa. Then, several minutes turns into Nancy laying on Burchu’s hip and me leaning on Nancy’s hip. Her hips are wide, and uncomfortable for me to lay down; her hips make my body look like a decreasing nut graph presented at a business conference. Next, Nancy and Burchu pass out leaning on each other like a domino affect, while I lay upside down. Maybe the blood rushing to my head will make me sane. Finally, I cave and participated with the domino affect. Instead of laying on Nancy’s hip, I rest my head using my arm as a pillow next to Nancy’s ass. Please don’t fart. Only, I can’t sleep. The discomfort keeps me up, so I stare at the color of the red chair while day dreaming. What would have happened if I had done things differently? Is there any way I can go back in time and just start all over again? I hear two unfamiliar cop voices speaking with each other.
Yeah, one was caught for disturbing the peace and drugs, the other had to do with car theft, those two in the corner are DUI’s the that one is assault and battery.
Am I really a criminal? The way we’re treated here is the same as Capitalism. We’re peasants.
The T.V. begins to make scratchy noises from transferring from infomercials to NBC Channel 7 News. Nancy automatically wakes up.
“They should be letting us out soon,” she said.
She was wrong. Hours have passed and I can feel my soul drifting away from me. I can no longer sleep. The only voices I hear are the men in their jail cells. I’m hoping that it’s not voices in my head. Am I becoming a scitzofranic?
I close my eyes for the second time….. “ROLL CALL!”
Two female officers storm in, and asks us to sit up. My weariness made me hear otherwise, so I stood up.
“Sit the fuck down!” one of the female cops yelled.
I sat down with my blood boiling under my skin. They skim the room for left over trash from our breakfast bags, and looked at each of our identification tags. Once they left, Nancy’s eyes start to burn of fire from rage. However, how she spoke seemed more of ease.
“You think you can get some fucking sleep around here,” she said.
I nodded out of exhaustion because my head was tilting downward anyway.
Why is there no clock in the women’s lounge? I wonder if jails do that on purpose, or maybe they try to make it easier for the inmates so time will pass by quicker. Either way, when time stops in a jail cell, your whole life stops.
Then End of it All
Asia wakes up and looks around, and forces herself to turn her body around while exposing her torn pink g string.
“Well that’s a pretty sight to see in the morning,” Nancy said.
I rest my head on Nancy’s lap one last time as she watches T.V. Then, a male officer comes in and calls for me and Nancy. As I was helping Nancy up, we are being shoved out of the exit. I looked back to see Heather and Asia still asleep and Burchu’s eyes beginning to tear up. I waved her goodbye. Nancy and I walked side by side until the cop scolds us to walk in a single file. After, we were asked to wait against the wall along with the other men they let out. We continued down the corridor and made a left, as did as told, into a dark hallway with two rooms in the end. It has a label outside the door, dressing room. A female cop in the end was waiting for us.
“Come on, hurry the fuck up, I’m not in the mood today!” she snaps.
The men went in their dressing room while Nancy and I went in ours. The room has peach colored floors and there are ripped dirty white wall paper. I see a sign by a window which says, all items will be returned when on leave. But, I skim down the window to see bundled orange clothing. My body shivers as I pointed my finger into the direction of the orange clothing.
“No way….no fucking way,” Nancy violently shakes her head.
“For a DUI and for you slapping someone?!”
I start humming a tune to occupy myself. I can’t fucking take it anymore, so I charged toward the orange clothing to find out it’s only one orange shirt. I think it’s Rose’s shirt before she left.
The same woman who cursed at me and Nancy opened the window from her office and called our names one by one. She made us sign a release form and returned our belongings. Nancy’s eyes sparked when she got her wallet and her jewelry back. My life is basically my phone. We met up with the other men and escorted in a single file line through the door and now we’re out side. I took a deep breath of fresh hair as the wind blows in my face. The air is fresh from smelling of fruits and pinewood trees. I turned my phone on to see a text from my boyfriend
Let me know when you’re out, babe.
I’ve never dialed a phone with speed without pressing his name. When he answered, my heart starts pounding and my stomach was turning into knots. He’s coming from Daly City to come pick me up.
Nancy and I stood for a while. It feels good to stretch and walk around, rather than sitting on those hard plastic chairs.
“What are you going to do?” I asked.
“I’m going to go to the nearest bar and get me a beer,” she said.
“But you can’t to drink and drive again.”
“I know, I’m going to buy a beer and take it home on the bus.”
I laughed breathing as much of fresh air as I could so I can exhale the piss and vomit aroma I’ve been breathing for twelve hours. We exchanged numbers and dispersed. I waited patiently for my boyfriend. There was a man sitting next to me. To occupy myself, I couldn’t help but ask why he was here. I hope this is the last time I’ll ever ask someone. He’s a young male at the age of 27. He’s dressed in a nice black dress suit and pants, and wore his long hair in a pony tail. His name is Israel. His English is a little broken when it’s in conversation with mine. He explains to me about his situation. He was in trouble for a DUI, but he was caught because his girlfriend wanted to act crazy the night before and attempted to jump out a moving vehicle. I felt bad for him because he had to miss work. It feels like your life is starting all over again.
“You don’t look like you belong here,” he said.
I don’t belong here. There are many flaws about me that I’m still working on. I saw an unfamiliar blue truck with two familiar shapes inside the tinted windows. The truck made U-turn towards my direction, and I can see my boyfriend and his friend. My face brights up like a military daughter who hasn’t seen her parents in years.
“What are you smiling for?” my boyfriend asked.s
“I made friends,” I snapped.
“Are you hungry?”
They drove me from Redwood City to the Daly City In N Out Burgers. My boyfriend’s hand comes into contact with my skin. It feels nice to be touched with care rather than shoved into fear. Once we got our food. My boyfriend’s friend drove to Ocean Beach.
There’s something about the ocean that’s makes you feel calm. It’s has the same affect as a drug. I looked at my burger and fries and ate like I haven’t eaten in years. My boyfriend and his friend are in conversation as I glade towards the sea. Laughs and spilled fries are the highlight of my day. As we got out to walk around, the salty air made me tear up. Although, I hid my tears from my boyfriend and his friend. I’m not the crying type. I ran towards the beach while taking off my shoes, and the sand between my toes feels amazing. This is what life is.
My body is beginning to slow down again, and my boyfriend noticed it. As we drove home we walk up the stairs and into the apartment. I see my roommate laying on his bed in the living room. It’s still a nasty pile of dog shit. Fuck you. I head towards my room to see my cats. Both of them meowing because they just woke up. I’m happy to be home. I dropped down on my bed as the boys set up their X Box. It’s still bright outside, but I can’t help but take one last look out the window before I shut my eyes. Tomorrow isn’t promised, but live in the present and expect the unexpected. This is life outside the women’s lounge.
Not Every Girl Who Wears a Flower in her Hair is Hawaiian
“Pretty flower. Are you Hawaiian?” This is the question I get asked every time I decide to pick a day to wear a flower in my hair. As always, I tell them no, then they ask me, “well then what are you?” And every time I answer them, there’s the same repetitive, permanently dumb facial expression they give me. “What’s Chamorro?” This is the part where I’m so tired of constantly dancing with the devil; I’m playing teacher with ignorance. When I further explain to them the geography, cultural heritage, history, and oppression of Chamorros; many will pretend to seem interested, or make a smart remark, “isn’t Churro a food?” That fucking remark makes my soul jump out of my body to backhand them so hard to where it causes the transform plate boundary we live on in California to diverge and send their bodies into an abyss where they will burn in hell(which I would love to happen.) But this is reality, so I give them a fake smile and laugh it off.
Why isn’t my heritage taught in a classroom? Why should I have to explain? Here in America, we are affiliated and somewhat knowledgable(NOT REALLY) with anything to do with Hawai’i. Because Hawai’i is a State and apart of America, Americans are more familiar, and by familiar, meaning this is the only island they fucking know of.
I was taught some things about Hawai’i in a western classroom. It became the 50th state in 1959 and Pearl Harbor was included. That’s about it. No further background on that state which our U.S government illegally overthrew the king and queen. No further background on the countries and islands that the U.S. occupies. And no further background on our cultural identity that we should know of. What about Guam? What about American Samoa? What about Puerto Rico? This is why people ask me if I’m Hawaiian every time I wear a flower in my hair.
Not every girl who wears a flower in her hair is Hawaiian. Each Pacific Islander culture has their own definition of beauty. Some may be similar, and some may be different. As I was talking to Aunty Nani. She educates me about the reasons why Samoans, Tongans, and Tahitians(Polynesians) wear flowers in their hair. A flower in a woman’s hair is a symbol of availability, and fragrance. A flower on the left ear means you’re taken or married, and a flower on the right ear means you’re available. As I was doing more research Chamorros(Micronesian) had a different definition of beauty. Studies show, women would bleach their teeth and hair red. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Every Pacific Islander has their own unique identity. Would I bleach my teeth? No. However, a flower in my hair is good enough.
A flower in my hair is more than just an accessory, and also to avoid being called hispanic(people get confused with what I am.) It’s apart of my identity to the ocean. VASA is a place where I feel at home; it’s a place where I feel safe. Every Pacific Islander has this connection. So before you assume I’m Hawaiian. Don’t put the ASS in assume. There are more islands out there than you know of.
Breaking the Imagery
I’ve been procrastinating on making a blog. Now that I’m on a two week break from college, I can finally invest the time in this. My reason for being here is, in hopes to inspire, educate, and enlighten my readers about the issues that are occurring within my community and tackling issues that are occurring worldwide. One of those issues that is relevant to me is the negative image of journalists caused by lazy journalism. Stereotypes stamps a label in red print across our foreheads, saying we are pompous assholes who are clawing our way to the top for more ratings to make a living, and will do anything to drag any culture down that we don’t know about or care about as long as it’s “newsworthy.” Another stereotype says we love scotch? If I had the balls and the liver of Hunter S. Thompson, I wouldn’t mind writing this blog while downing a whole bottle. Maybe I would be more at ease with my writing, and most likely would be more focused. As Malcom X once said,
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
I want to focus my attention on at least two cultures. I want to make a sincere apology to the Marshallese and Muslim Community that’s been targeted yet ignored by the media.
I’m Chamorro, however, the Marshallese are apart of my sister islands in Micronesia. They have suffered so much from the nuclear testing demonstrated by the U.S. during World War 2. They mistook nuclear fallout for snow, crying from burned skin and eyes. Women have experienced birth defects, such a jelly babies, and for the the U.S., an apology to them, is giving them small amounts of money and forcing them to move from their home islands to the poverty areas of Hawai’i. “No Aloha to Micronesians,” stated by a local Hawaiian newspaper. My best friend told me how there is still tension between the Micronesians and the Hawaiians and it’s not okay to call yourself a Micronesian. It’s used as a derogatory insult, but is often made fun of in Hawai’i. Yes, racism still exists. It happens from different states to around the world. Today, the Marshall Islands are still considered unlivable. Yet, the media never took into consideration to determine that this is newsworthy.
In my IDST class, I did a group presentation on Islamophobia. At first, I had no knowledge on what that was. I thought the project was a bit too broad and challenging. Doing a little more research. The muslim community has been targeted by the media for quite some time now. 9/11 was what sparked the flame of hatred. Google shows there are 2,670,000 results about Islamophobia. An image shows a muslim man’s face covered in written tape that says, “terrorist,” “radical” and “evil.” I went to talk to the Muslim Community that occupies the first floor of the Student Union building at my college. I’ve learned that Muslims are more diverse than America claims to be alone. I’ve also learned that there’s a huge difference between a radical Muslim and a moderate Muslim. A friend of mine, Oscar, educated me on the Quran. It’s kind of like their bible on being a better person. No violence is in the agenda that the media claims that’s all they believe in. There was another image that countered a negative Islamaphobia image. A muslim couple was running from a group of radical muslims(the ones who do not follow the Quran) yelling “kill,” “jihad” and “infidel.” Then, the bottom image shows the muslim couple fleeing from the U.S. and American citizens screaming, “Christians only” and “terrorist.” If people really took the time to at least get some basic knowledge on culture(READ THE QURAN.) We can end this unnecessary hate. Why doesn’t the media write about the true aspects of the Muslim religion instead of judging a whole entire culture on a few bad people?
My apologies may mean nothing because the damage has already been done, but I think there’s still a chance to break negative imagery on all cultures. As I’ve learned from being in P.I.L.O.T (Pacific Islander Leaders of Tomorrow,) it starts with awareness. And it’s starts today.