I will never take my freedom for granted again. Ever. Even the most mundane of days spent as a free man, are still days spent free. Until now, I had never stopped to think about how lucky I am to be able to come and go as I please. I never thought something so basic and expected could be missed so much.
Now, let’s be real here. I’m not a convict and I didn’t do “hard time”. I realize I wasn’t locked up in a 5’ x 8’ cell, I didn’t have to worry about dropping any soap, nor did I have to shit in front of another human being. But my true freedom was taken away for a while — 33 days to be exact.
For those of you who’ve been following this blog, you know I managed to find some trouble recently. I’m not ashamed to talk about it. I effed up, made a mistake — beers, truck, drive, cop — the rest is history. I deserved to be punished. I accepted my punishment. Part of that punishment was what they call “house arrest” for about a month. And it sucked. I didn’t think it would suck as bad as it did. I mean, I’d be in my own home, sleep in my own bed, shit in my own toilet. How bad could it be? Real bad.
I wore a GPS device on my ankle so they could tell where I was at all times. Embarrassing and degrading. I couldn’t make a move without them knowing. My existence was reduced to a blinking spot on a screen. I was allowed to go to work, that was it. Oh, I got to go to the grocery store once a week, by foot. Groceries get heavy real quick. I had to rely on other people for way too much. I don’t recommend it.
The days ticked by slowly. Memorial Day weekend was the toughest. I missed my nephew’s first birthday party. That will make you think real hard about where things are going in your life. Luckily he's only one, so he probably won’t remember I wasn’t there, so I won’t have to explain — unless someday he asks why uncle Jason isn’t in any of the pictures. Ouch.
I did have to explain to my soon-to-be three-year-old nephew that I was wearing my cell phone on my ankle so I wouldn’t lose it. He didn’t buy it, but he let it go without too many “whys.” He’s a sharp little guy, persistent.
It wasn’t all bad. A lot of good came out of those 33 days. A ton of soul searching, writing, working out, catching up on old episodes of Arrested Development. I started this blog. I started to read a few books that I probably won’t finish. All good things.
I’m free now. They cut the bracelet off Monday. I’m a different guy than I was 30-some days ago. A guy who will never complain about not having anything to do. A guy who will never again take for granted the fact that I can walk out my door and go wherever the hell I want to go and do whatever the hell I want to do — as long as it’s legal of course. No way will I ever be a blinking spot on a screen again.
Think about it — and go be free!JS