A few months ago I found myself on the wrong side of the law. I can hear the gasps of shock even now as you read this. Yes, I know – sweet little Ole me getting arrested seems hard to imagine. I was completely shocked as well, as I’m sure you might gather. Its been weighing on my mind a lot lately, mainly because I have to meet with my PO this afternoon. For those of you NOT in the know, a PO is a Probation Officer. I have to admit that little tidbit was not in my vocabulary until after the arrest. I didn’t even know that “John” was a what a prostitute called her client until I hit college – but that is an entirely different story altogether. Needless to say, there are some things in life that it is actually OK not to know. Unless, of course, you are playing trivial pursuit.
However, the reason I am sharing this rather huge and embarrassing part of my life is that the night I was arrested I had two thoughts. The first was that everything was going to be okay. You have no idea how scary it is to be in that position, and the relief one feels when they just KNOW that it will work out for the best. The second was that I vowed to remember every detail in a crystal clear manner so I would be able to write about it later. I decided that as long as I was in that position, I would use the evening as a research/learning experience and make the best out of the situation. To that end, I started questioning the officers on duty about various aspects of the process, as well as taking mental images the entire time. At first they all seemed rather amused, but by the end of the time spent with them I was armed with hours of knowledge I never had before and they were telling me things I am sure they never would have if they had known I might write about it later.
Now, I am not advocating that you go out and actually commit a crime in order to be able to write about it in a more detailed manner. Nor do I feel that it is entirely necessary to experience everything life has to offer to be an interesting author. However, I am encouraging you to take note of your surroundings at all times because you never know when what you see or hear will work its way into some story or answer a burning life question. There is an old adage – stop and smell the roses. It goes beyond taking in the beauty of your surroundings, so much of what life has to offer is interesting and compelling and yet we become too jaded to enjoy it.
I was thrown into a state of chaos with this entire process, especially as they felt that what I did was bad enough it required copious amounts of punishment. That being said, I have some choices: I can store and use what has happened to my advantage – thereby helping myself and others; I can bitch, moan and carry on about the injustice of the system and/or blame others; I can completely ignore what has happened, try to sweep it under the mat, and move on with my life in a quiet and orderly manner.
I think you now know what my choice was. It won’t take away the shame of the action, but facing life square on and writing about it sure makes the bad dreams go away.