Destination Tent City, AZ
I felt this book was more a 'manual' of the aftermath of getting a DUI than a personal story, but quite interesting nonetheless. It is a 'told to' account of one woman's self-inflicted plight into the world of arrest, fines, court dates, more fines, and jail. I know that LOTS of people drive under the influence, especially 'buzzed' driving, and I believe a lot of people reading 'Destination Tent City, AZ' will feel uncomfortable looking back on all of the examples of having done it, or been in cars where someone else is doing it .Most of these people are not alcoholics either, but rather people of all ages who have a drink or two with a fancy dinner, or at a sports bar during a game, or at a summer barbeque.I'm not judging- but I don't think I'm dealing with a non-alcoholic in this particular story. As the book opens, the woman -I'll call her 'X' - heads to a bar she refers to as 'Church' at nine am, where she knows everyone by name. She has 'a beer' to start off her day, and I was immediately thinking: 'This is NOT a casual drinker' (not judging, just being honest) She refers to failed relationships- one with a man she calls 'Lucky'- though I get the distinct impression that he is named by the 'opposites rule'- like a fat guy they call 'Slim'. But what really shocks me, is when- after procuring the DUI and being arrested, 'X' decides to kill herself (!!) and this is where I part ways with relating to her. I absolutely can understand being highly upset about a DUI-who wouldn't be?- but to actually take 20 Klomapin and 20 Ambien pills, write suicide notes and lock your two beloved dogs in a separate room- seems incredibly out of of proportion with the situation at hand. (She did, however send out texts and e-mails- so part of her wanted to be found- and she was) Worse, though- is when she is brought to the hospital, where, upon waking up, grabs a plastic knife off of her food tray and saws her wrist open, bleeding out all over the room. There is MUCH wrong in 'X''s life, the DUI is obviously tip of the iceberg. She is also very, very bitter towards her family, and this often makes her sound like a petulant child. After all- she's 46 years old!Still, the author charts the trajectory of the drunk driving charge in a pretty straight-forward way. The money it costs (lots!) the court ordered classes, the SR-22 insurance forms, the interlock ignition system (wherein one must blow into a machine in order for their vehicle to start) and of coarse, 'Tent City'-the mostly outdoor facilities that is a 'make-shift' jail in Arizona. Once again, I was startled when I realized that 'X' was serving a TEN DAY sentence, and was released for 10 hours a day to 'work' (though where did she work? It seemed like she was going home to her apartment?) on weekdays. Her response to this sentence, and the facilities, was more appropriate to someone serving 'real' time (a year or more?) but by now I was used to 'X's' dramatic take on pretty much everything. What I learned from the book apart from 'X's' personal story, is that there are lots of people who work within the penal system, whose job it is to make life difficult for 'criminals', and treat them in a terribly degrading manner. There is a distinct conflict of interest as well, wherein many people who run the system make boatloads of money off of the misery of lots of even one-time convicts, many decent human beings- and that there but for the grace of God go any one of us, should we make even one mistake (drunk driving is only one example of many) But since the system has people up against the wall, and can use the excuse of 'If you don't want to be here, don't do the crime'- they virtually have no defense, and no one to defend them. On top of this, most people are too embarrassed to admit these things have happened to them, and this plays right into the hands of the profiteers. It's probably not relevant to most of us, as we will not go to jail, but to degrade people as a sport, and to make big money off of them- can't possibly be right- or help to 'rehabilitate' them. These actions have a way of 'coming home to roost' in my opinion. There must be a better way.I think anyone who wants to see what goes on in jail, and understand the monetary impact a guilty verdict has on the system and the people who profit from it, would do well to read this book. But maybe imagine 'X' to be a family member or good friend instead, as 'X's' dramatics can be exasperating at times.