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Who Are Your Lifelines?

By TaxiCabJesus in Culture
Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:46:18 PM EST
Tags: Superbowl XLIX, Arizona, Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, Phoenix Open, Spring Training (all tags)

A Cautionary Tale

One night I woke around 2:30am, slightly disoriented. I was sitting on the couch, the TV was on. After a moment I remembered having started watching a movie.

Then my phone rang. The recorded message announced that somebody was calling from the Sheriff of Maricopa's Center for Pre-Trial Cruelty. The computer played the inmate's recorded name - it was my imaginary passenger, the one I told you all about before. We had one minute to speak, then the recorded voice would offer to take my credit card number to pay phone-ransom.

The bail was only $300 - he asked me to get him out. The minute ran out, and I was not inclined to pay for more time. I figured he was probably better off in the Arpaio Gulag than on the street. A bondswoman called the next day, as a courtesy call on the prisoner's behalf, and provided more information about the bail process. Bailing out that passenger was not high on my list of things I wanted to do.

But I did go to visit, a few days later.

Poll: How many lifelines can you recite from memory?

Visiting Jail

The imaginary passenger kept calling. He'd change his recorded name to plea with me to help him. I found time to visit a few days after that first call from jail. The regulars let me know about visitation procedures. I had to put a few quarters in a locker to hold my car keys. A woman told me about the pen prohibition, but I took a writing implement with me anyways.

My passenger was shackled to the table, dressed in prison attire. He was exasperated, and exhausted. At his booking, the medical screening found that his blood sugar was through the roof - 500mg/dL (he'd become a type 1 diabetic as an adult). On the street he was unmedicated, and kept his blood sugar level high with soda products. Prison Medical decided he needed a daily time-release insulin injection. He didn't like them (as they probably caused hypoglycemia on the jail's starvation diet), but refusing them resulted in being sent to solitary confinement. The only foods worth eating were the oranges.

He'd called me because he remembered my phone number. I asked who I could call on his behalf. He gave some names, and said all the contact information was in his Google Voice account.

"Are you an attorney?" The guard had seen my prohibited pen, and threatened to kick me out. I had already written down my passenger's gmail password, so I put the pen away.

I asked him about his time in Africa installing telecom equipment, but that didn't bring up happy memories: the government had killed everyone he'd trained. I tried to pull up a positive memory. This one was recent: pushing a cart down the street with his girlfriend. He was desperate to know how she was. She was used to living on the street, so I figured she was probably fine, but I didn't know.

After the alloted time was up I went home, and contacted the passenger's childhood friend who supposedly had plenty of money. That fellow was not interested in doing anything more to help his hopeless friend. I think I txt'd a few more people. The phone calls with the 3-second messages continued.

All of my passengers who've been to the Arpaio Gulag agree that it's a horrible place, and I'm a softie. $300 bail was not in my budget, but I figured I'd get it back, and decided to get my passenger out.

After waiting in line at the jail's bail window for what seemed like an hour, I learned that they do not take cash. Another woman also had cash - we both rushed to the nearby post office to buy money orders. My passenger was released about 8 hours later, around 2am. I picked him up in the taxi, and took him somewhere - he was distraught, focused on tracking down his girlfriend.

Bail Revocation

Within two weeks I received a mailed notice that my passenger had missed his court date, and that a bail revocation hearing had been scheduled (in 3-4 weeks).

The first case was a woman in prison attire who'd self-surrendered. I don't remember if she got any of her bail back. Another hearing had been started the week before. It was continued because the fugitive's mother needed a translator. `Mom' and several friends of the accused had posted $50,000+ in collateral with a bail bondsman to get the young man out of jail. The attorney for the bond company said they figured the fugitive had fled to Mexico, and that there was no point in trying to track him down. The mother needed her van to support herself, and was asking for the judge to refund the van-collateral. A young male friend of the fugitive had posted his 2003-ish Mercedes as collateral, and also claimed hardship. The friends who had posted a piece of property were present last week, but didn't come back for Round 2. The entire value of their property was forfeited. The judge did an impromptu financial interview with mom and the friend, and gave back most of their collateral value.

When everyone else had left, the judge asked who I was there for. I gave the name and case number. I was then asked if I wanted time to try to get the defendant to self-surrender, or if I wanted to claim hardship. There was no point in asking for time, so I asked for a hardship hearing. There were questions about how I knew the fugitive, income, expenses, etc. The judge decided I could have my bail returned, minus a $100 fee. They mailed a check the next day.

Personhood, Restored. Almost.

The passenger's sister was finally able to get a duplicate birth certificate from the State of California. I picked this up from the friend's office (the one who didn't want to help bail the passenger out of jail). This precious document eventually found its way to my mini storage. The passenger went in & out of contact... He'd get arrested, spend some time in the Gulag, get released, miss court, then get arrested again. Finally he told a judge who was going to release him that he'd just miss his next court date anyways, and declined the offer to be released. A few more weeks passed before he finally had his day in court, and that was it: legal problems solved.

He called me after this month-long stay at the county's resort. He went through some of his junk in my ministorage and grabbed his birth certificate, a USB charger, and a change of clothes. The birth certificate was left in my glovebox for safekeeping.

Another passenger around this time works for Central Arizona Shelter Services. She said there is a person at the Shelter who helps people become genuine again, by helping them obtain the documents they need to obtain that crucial plastic identification card. They routinely help people who need birth certificates, documentation of name changes, etc. The shelter even writes a check to the Department of Motor Vehicles to pay for the identifcation card itself.

I told the imaginary passenger about this service. It's been months, and the birth certificate is still in my glovebox. I wonder if he's still alive - I'd txt his google voice number, but that might be misinterpreted as an invitation to ask me to haul him around again...

Who are Your Lifelines? Do you know their phone numbers?

20 years ago, we had no choice but to remember phone numbers. Now that we have machines to think for us, most people make no effort. Some of my passengers don't even know their own phone number.

If you woke up 'mickeyed up' in jail (#1) and needed someone to bail you out, who would you call first? Second? Third?

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a known enabler for the mistreatment of the poor, the sick, and those who make mistakes. The Phoenix New Times has extensively documented the peril of the accused under Arpaio's thumbs. Those convicted of crimes are sent to the State's prisons if their sentence is longer than 6 months. These are posh resorts in comparison to the Arpaio Gulag.

If there was any justice in the world, the United Nations would invade Maricopa County to perform a regime-change operation on the Sheriff leadership. But justice is for the wealthy.

If you're coming to Arizona for the Superbowl, the Phoenix Open golf tournament, Major League Baseball's Spring Training, or any of the other events to come, memorizing a few numbers to call might be critical for surviving your visit to Maricopa County, Arizona.

Kuro5hin.org user Repeatible Hairstyle (whom I also visited, when he was in the San Luis Obispo County Jail) points out that "one cannot place a collect call to a cell phone or a VoIP phone". The Maricopa County Gulag uses a company that charges credit cards for phone time instead of the classic system for collect calls, but I will be certain to add some landlines to my mental phonebook.


A pair of ladies were chatting in the cab one trip. One quipped to the other about a coworker who wanted to be cashed out with $20's instead of 100's. She said that $20's are refunded on your release from the Gulag, while $100's go to evidence. iPhones and other phones with non-removable batteries also go to evidence.



1. The linked kuro5hin.org diary is the letter I wrote to the prosecutor for the passenger who fell asleep in my cab one night. That fellow called me the next day and was a little sheepish. He said he was in my cab the night before, that he'd gotten my number from his friend, and... "What happened?" All he knew was that he'd gotten "mickeyed up", and hadn't a clue why he'd woken up in jail. back to text above


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


How many lifelines (friends' phone numbers) do you have memorized?
o 0 12%
o 1 37%
o 2-3 0%
o 4+ 50%

Votes: 8
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Google
o Sheriff of Maricopa's
o Center for Pre-Trial Cruelty
o imaginary passenger
o Arpaio Gulag
o This precious document
o 'mickeyed up' in jail
o #1
o sick
o extensivel y documented the peril of the accused
o whom I also visited
o points out
o taxicabjes us
o mickeyed up
o back to text above
o Also by TaxiCabJesus

Display: Sort:
Who Are Your Lifelines? | 18 comments (15 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
But justice is for the wealthy (2.66 / 6) (#2)
by sye on Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 09:44:27 AM EST

wealthy = well connected in the age of internet

Our MDC has 3 times survived 'injustice' in Portland, so there is hope for the down and out.

commentary - For a better sye@K5
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in

Central Park Five - mlp (2.60 / 5) (#3)
by sye on Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 10:21:19 AM EST

How is it possible that 5 men were convicted murderers and served 24 years in jail. Now they are being exonerated by the city. "The city, however, doesn't admit to any wrongdoing in the court filing."

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/central-park-legal-battle-officially-article -1.1929270

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/central-park-5-members-hurting-25-years-pain -article-1.1847306

Donald Trump looked pissed.

commentary - For a better sye@K5
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in

the importance of landlines (3.00 / 4) (#4)
by TaxiCabJesus on Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 12:36:00 PM EST

I only have one landline in my mental phone book right now, but I will be certain to add more. Thanks.

I have revised the story to include your tip.

Seems good, (2.80 / 5) (#7)
by k31 on Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 05:12:47 PM EST

please keep a copy elsewhere in case the Q is too broken to post it.

Also, this sort of stuff should be posted in a more widely read forum, but I guess so far they are none that escape the "darker ages of information control", eh?

having more comments might help with posted (3.00 / 3) (#14)
by TaxiCabJesus on Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 04:21:59 PM EST

Localroger's excellent story about the HP Stream 7 might not have posted because there were so few comments in that submission.

I wrote this in an editor on my computer. For some reason k5 inserts line breaks to screw up my formatting, so I edit the local copy then copy-paste into the submission box.

You said in your comment in my diary: "at first thought it was a satire/parody/exaggeration". At what point did you realize that the tale could be entirely true? I have a document about the bail revocation hearing somewhere. Perhaps I should post a scan of that too.

[ Parent ]

I realized it could be true, (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by k31 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:45:48 PM EST

whilst realizing how much automatic processes can get humans "carried away". On a personal level, something as simple as watching too much television, and on a systematic level, the excessive red tape that makes systems ineffective for their intended purpose.

There might have been something on the news about some attempt to reduce red tape at the time, and also I was also looking for way to avoid forgetting important things, and noticing how I've focused less of little details at the expense of big projects, in order to attempt to avoid personal red tape.

So, a number of things changed my perspective from "wow, this is funny" to "omigosh, this is real and it is killing 22.8 people a day!"(a paraphrase from "Going Postal" movie based on the Terry P. book).

I guess my mind simply started reeling.

Also, they are people who have built entire successful firms on the basis of streamlining operations (without laying off people), so, there is hope for humanity yet, both in terms of the systems improving and avoiding a boring/dead end job by applying intelligence whilst being compensated financially.

Not automatic hope, though, and I wake up every day grateful and a bit "survivors' guilty" for not being born in a place like Iraq or Detroit.

[ Parent ]

my birthplace is always going to be (none / 0) (#16)
by sye on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 09:39:37 AM EST


there's no doubt about THAT.

commentary - For a better sye@K5
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in
[ Parent ]

Where? (none / 0) (#19)
by k31 on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 06:49:43 PM EST

All of China,
or just the town/city/province where you were born?

[ Parent ]
getting 'carried away'... (none / 1) (#17)
by TaxiCabJesus on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 12:29:25 PM EST

... and on a systematic level, the excessive red tape that makes systems ineffective for their intended purpose.

This is wonderfully concise - I will probably quote you in the future. Thanks!

[ Parent ]

I think it was from sytem theory, (none / 0) (#18)
by k31 on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 06:21:21 PM EST

it is likely inspired by an interview that the BBC did with the guy who "invented" the management style or philosophy of "systems theory", then called all the system theorists bullshitters for using his concepts without understanding them.

Rather than comprehensively understanding systems, they instead focused on components at the expense of the system, thus making things more complicated rather than both more cost efficient, and more time effective.

Since you think it quotable, though, maybe I can work it into something... so thanks again! This week has been very encouraging for my writing.

Also, regarding when I realized your article could be real: the "does not accept cash"(or was it checks? but money orders were okay...) thing reminded me of an actual experience I heard someone complain about, and also of when I went to register a Doing-Business-As name and the clerk thought that my debit card might not work.

Luckily for her, the bank is staffed by people who want me to spend my money so of course it did. She just had a lot of fear an trepidation for that small change, which is part of the reason why institutionalized people are such resistors to (or perhaps, insulators against) improvements.

In any case, discrimination against certain forms of money is something that only a government institution can allow for any long period of time, any sensible organization is like "spend money here, PLEASE!".

Thanks, Babylon the Great Empire.

[ Parent ]

Honestly (2.83 / 6) (#9)
by Del Griffith on Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 05:20:07 AM EST

I dont even know my number.  I don't know my work address.  I don't know my home address.

And my wife, She may as well be named Mary Smith.

But as the 5th annual kitten day approaches, who will even know of my passing?

Indeed RQ mourned at thurler's passing.

Debs mourned at kittens passing, just as Trane bemoaned mind pixel's cooking incident.

I had aspired to find that rusty nailhead chick, but I suspect she's too long dead.

Instead I found someone else.

And made another.

No ragrets

I...I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. Because I'm the real article. What you see is what you get. - Me

5th anniversary of Kitten day - Feb 16th, 2015 (3.00 / 3) (#11)
by sye on Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 07:28:58 AM EST

I'll save some chocolate on that day. thanks for the reminder.

commentary - For a better sye@K5
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in
[ Parent ]

sorry babe. he died the night of the 14th (3.00 / 4) (#12)
by Del Griffith on Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 08:31:00 AM EST

The announcement wasn't until the 16th.

Save some powdered doughnuts,  and we'll send them to heaven in paper lanterns.

Or start a forest fire...

Either way it'll be fun!

I...I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. Because I'm the real article. What you see is what you get. - Me

[ Parent ]

Lil Felines (3.00 / 4) (#13)
by sye on Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 09:18:05 AM EST

doughnuts are for dogs. paper lanterns for the underworld gods. Heaven is reserved for offsprings of Jade Emperor. I guess your little SOB is qualified.

commentary - For a better sye@K5
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in
[ Parent ]

As safe as houses? (none / 0) (#20)
by k31 on Thu Jun 18, 2015 at 05:53:21 AM EST

Upon further consideration, consider that the only real "real estate" are the treasures of the mind (internal) and of the social networks (real, not superficial like facebook, although such platforms can lead to real connections) that we "inhabit".

Those are the real households.

We might gain more keys to more houses, more safety, by being friendly.

I'm using old metaphors in new ways, because the nature of humanity doesn't change... the patterns are the same. Whether by ideological manipulation or intrinsic design doesn't matter. By gaining more houses, and renewing connections to them like refreshing DRAM, we gain more security.

Thus, we live, as safe as houses.

Which apparently used to mean "it is safe to invest in real estate", but when machines own all the land and buildings (aside from corporations, those wraiths and specters), then that investment is just as bubble-like.

Still, the principle of stability through housing is sound, we just have to consider what provides housing, and I think Maslow did a lot of work on that, and those after him.

Still, the cure for instability starts by being friendly. We love Android over Apple/ixxx because they're more friendly. Same with Surface 32-bit for developing Serious Software.

They're just more friendly, giving more capabilities... and if we start by trying to do the same for either individuals or demo(graphic)types, then we're heading in the right direction, basically.

So, talk to strangers. Learn. Invest in real estate. Be friendly.

Don't let Skynet-Asura scorch all the earth with its words (or unfettered desire) of malignant wrath.

Who Are Your Lifelines? | 18 comments (15 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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