Monday, February 16, 2009

My Terrible Ordeal

In another of those weird synergisms where I manage to find profound connections between the seemingly trivial and the great complexities of my life, I have found tonight’s episode of NCIS to be analogous to my most recent trial by fire.

The show starts with the team investigating an obviously open and shut case of cheating sailor murdered by spurned lover, when out of nowhere a woman wearing a Muslim head covering and shouting in Arabic grabs the murder weapon and uses it to stab the medical examiner, Ducky, through the hand. It turns out, as the story unfolds, that the woman was trying to revenge the death of her brother, some thirty years earlier in Afghanistan, at the hands of none other than Ducky himself. Before they can catch up to her, she presents war crime charges against him at her embassy. And to the teams amazement, Ducky not only admits his guilt but turns himself in the Afghans.

Needless to say, the team was shocked and convinced it was all some terrible mistake that they must resolve to save their friend. Unfortunately Ducky refused to provide any information that will help them to help him. Eventually, through the use of all that techno-investigative-spy stuff I love so much, they discovered that the guy Ducky killed was being tortured repeatedly for military information at the hands of an agent of the so-called good guys. As a young doctor, Ducky had had to repair the damage done to the man over and over again, and decided at last to save him from more suffering in the only way he could - by giving him an overdose of painkillers.

But in Ducky’s mind he had committed murder, and he still felt so badly about it that he continued to refuse all his friend’s efforts to save him. As a last resort, they tracked down the guy who had done the actual torturing and brought them together as two war criminals locked in the same room. You know, the one with the two-way mirror. That was when the torturer finally admitted that Ducky had been the actual target of his efforts, because his compassion was preventing the prisoners from experiencing the level of fear required to get useful information out of them. It had been Ducky he was trying to break, and he succeeded! Of course, the charges were dropped against Ducky because the woman who stabbed him was on the other side of the mirror the whole time.

My sad tale starts at the beginning of November, when instead of my disability check, I got a letter stating that I had been cut off because of a felony warrant that had been issued for my arrest. Furthermore, it stated that I now owed the government for the five months I had received benefits while the warrant was in effect. Needless to say, I was a little disturbed by this. This trouble originated with something that happened at my old apartment almost a full year ago, the consequences of which I tried to ignore for nine months and have struggled to resolve for the past two.

Although I wasn’t surprised that the problem finally came home to roost, I was absolutely shocked at the charges filed against me and at what my avoiding them had cost me. You see, giving in to my addictions to drugs and my lust for companionship, I allowed some ’friends’ to come over to ’party’ a while with me. Eventually, the ’partying’ eventually got to be more than I wanted to deal with. In the end the police were called in - by someone other than me - to resolve the resulting chaos. And because I wasn’t expecting a visit from the police, I tried to hide the remaining evidence of what we had been doing to avoid having the problems escalate. Somehow that turned into me being left holding the bag. It was, after all, my apartment

Well I was so pissed off at my so-called friends, and so frustrated that I was the only one with any consequences to face, that I decided to dodge the issue by getting the hell out of Dodge. This, I thought, got me far away from both the consequences and the activities that led to them. I also thought that at worst I would have to deal with some minor offense at some later date. How wrong I was. It turns out that possession of the substance I had been trying to hide was a felony offense. And even though the citations issued at the time made no mention of my possession of it, I could nonetheless be charged for it at a later date if the authorities chose to do so. They chose to do so.

I of course, having left no way for anyone to reach me, was completely unaware of any of this. Until the beginning of November, that is. Well amazingly enough, I received little more than a slap on the wrist as punishment for my crimes in the end - from the courts that is. I still lost two months of disability benefits, which left me begging for help from my middle son to cover expenses. That leaves me owing him, Social Security, the fine and court costs, and whatever it’s going to cost to get my driver’s licence reinstated. But the greatest punishment by far, and the reason why this story parallels the NCIS episode so well, came from the deranged thoughts bouncing around in my head.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my obsessive attempts to pre-plan every interaction I expect to have with other people. Well, being the mentally ill person that I am, I have spent the last two months working and re-working to build up the scenario I expected to play out at the end of this mess. I imagined myself in an epic courtroom battle to snatch back my freedom from the jaws of a justice system too blinded by outrage at my crimes to care about the circumstances in which they occurred. I expected to have to argue in my defense with verbal eloquence I had never before been able to achieve.

Well earlier today, like in some twisted flashback to Alice’s Restaurant, it turned out that neither the prosecutor or the judge believed my crimes where significant enough to warrant the persecution I anticipated, and I was too tongue-tied to have been of much help in my defense anyway. So, as usual, reality spoiled my nightmare once again.

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I can’t resist wondering about how different the outcome might have been if I didn’t look so White or if the judge had been more like Judge Judy or Judge Joe Brown. What can I say? I’m a pessimist.

And as always,

I want ice water.

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