Tuesday, December 21, 2004

culture shock

Because it snowed last night and my flight got in really late, my parents decided to hire a "limo service" to bring me home safely from the airport. Said "limo" was a busted up--and I mean rusty, dented, and shaking--Dodge Caravan, which would've freaked me out had I not driven a very similar model throughout high school (or at least until winter of senior year when the tires kept exploding while I was driving and it failed to start in the subzero weather that is a fact of life in these parts.) Anyway, I hopped in the passenger seat next to a scruffy, tattooed, heavily accented young gentleman that seemed to be about my age. He was smoking in the car, so I lit up too.

He turned out to be quite a chatty fellow and immediately mentioned that he needed to be home by 3 a.m. because he had "the ankle bracelet." Now, as I was thinking about how this must be some euphemism for a demanding wife, a la "the old ball and chain," or something, he said, "But don't worry, I just got in a fight, they give me the late shift so I can't go to the bars, but I can't go 150 feet away from my house anyway. Sucks man." Realizing that he was not talking about a wife (though I later learned he has an illegitimate three-year-old,) I said "So, wait a second, you actually have a bracelet...on your ankle..." He pulled up his tapered jeans to reveal a heavy duty black strap attached to a cell phone sized electronic device. Apparently if you get in a bar fight or some other kind of trouble necessitating police intervention, the "cahps" take you to prison, secure a heat sensored monitor on your ankle and a receiver in your house, and then know if you've left the 150 foot radius of your house while you're not at work, or if you've managed to remove the bracelet.

But we're talking serious drinkers here who will not be hindered by such sophisticated surveillance methods. My new buddy then proceeded to describe how he attached a phone cord to the home receiver, wrapped it in a plastic bag, strung it out through the kitchen window so he got an extra 20 feet in that direction, and was able to go to his buddy's house, apparently between 150 and 170 feet away, to get wasted. He was very proud of this ingenuity, but was clearly more impressed by the cleverness of his friend. When his friend got into his bracelet-worthy scuffle, he also sprained his ankle, which resulted in significant swelling. The cops failed to take account of this, so when the swelling went down he was able to slip the bracelet off. But the friend knew that the heat sensors would alert the cops to the bracelet removal. Fortunately, the friend had a cat, who became the proud owner of a new large black collar. Had the friend not run into his probation officer at a bar several days later, he would've gotten away with it.

So basically, the crazy kids in Central Wisconsin are just like the crazy kids back in New York, only they get in trouble more because the police don't have unsolved murders and drug dealers and the mafia to worry about. That, and they all, and I mean ALL, have small children. Oh, and they also pay $350 per month for a four bedroom house. Except for the electronic monitoring and the burden of children parts, it doesn't sound to shabby.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. Now that's what I call service with a smile. Crazy, dude. Lock your doors. Miss you. -Drone