"Observations From the Greybar Hotel" or "How I Ruined My Summer Vacation"

by Mike Haney, excerpted from The ABATE of Iowa D24 Newsletter, October 1997 and ABATE of Iowa's "Free Way Flyer"

I just returned from a week in the pokey. I quess that after paying taxes for the last 30 years, I finally got to reap some of the benefits. You know, an OWI is never fun, but the second one under the new laws enacted by this regime last July 1st kinda turned it up a notch or two. It's bad enough now that the judge remarked that the legislature has gone nuts over this stuff. If you don't think so, let me explain a few things.....

Let's see, hire a lawyer. Mine is a good friend of mine so he didn't hurt me too bad. $360 total. It could've easily been a grand. Hand your license over to the IDOT for a year. That should take me right up to the State Line Raly next year. My wife doesn't love, or even like anyone before 10am. Her taking me to work at 6 am should be punishment enough all by itself. .

Four weeks of outpatient treatment. Four nights a week, 3 hours a night in Iowa City.Leave for work at 6 am, home by 10 pm for a month.

The fine!! What a whopper. $1500. Add a 30% surcharge and $50 court costs and it's 2 grand on the nose. Ouch. $200 victim reparation fee. There was no damned victim.

DUI class. Listen to some person tell you what a bad person you are while everyone bitches about being there. Then there's the insurance. Boy that'll be good. I'd better put the stock HD go-slow parts back in the Dyna.

Then there's the pokey. A week in jail, mandatory. No way around it. You could rob, kill or molest a child and get probation. Just don't swerve leaving the scene. Apparently the robbers, murderers and molesters haven't pissed off the mad mothers yet, otherwise they'd be in the same boat. Something else popped up recently. I can't enter Canada. If only they understood that there's no way I'd drink that swill they call beer up there.

Something for you unfortunates that have been busted before: that OWI you got in 1992 and dropped off of your record in 6 years is back on it as your first offense. They go back 12 years now instead of 6. Your first is still a first and the new one is a second. Heaven forbid you get a third because you can get 5 yrs for that one.

The Pokey
I made some mental notes about my visit. I had to make mental notes since I went in on Sunday and your order from the commissary doesn't come in until Thursday afternoon. I didn't have pen, paper, shampoo or razor until midweek.

Anyway, here's a few of my observations form the Greybar Hotel.....

You don't need them to be bilingual in jail. If you ask what they're saying, they will tell you. Or at least tell you something. It does help to have a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish cuss words so you know if you should be mad or not. Fell free to reciprocate. After "shhh'ing' them for an hour while they jabbered at 2 am, I politely screamed "shut the fuck up", at which point it became very quite. Communication is a wonderful thing. How would the world get along without it?

The Spanish Channel is pretty hilarious once you figure out what they're saying.

Since the only possessions allowed are toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and a comb, the pockets on the jumpsuit must be for the toothpaste and toothbrush. It sure as hell isn't for pencil and paper.

Most jail food is pretty inoffensive. Some is good, some inedible. One advantage of being the old guy is that the young guys were never forced to eat what was put in front of them. They are still in the 'I'm not going to eat this, you can't make me" mode, like if it's not pizza or a cheeseburger, it's not worth eating. What they don't realize is that they can't nuke a corn dog later. They turn up their noses at the food, and old farts like me that realize it's 6 hours to the next meal go ahead and eat the best stuff out of their lunch. Kids, you just gotta love 'em.

The jailer got indignant when I told him the I wouldn't eat powdered eggs. He said "they're frozen eggs"' as I looked at the rubbery lookin' mess. I thought "yeah, and they're also inedible".

How to get rid of ham before it spoils, or I wish I was Jewish so I didn't have to eat this shit.
Eggs for breakfast on Monday, ham for dinner Monday night, (doesn't look like USDA grade A ham either. kinda weird colors in places. Eggs with ham Wednesday breakfast, macaroni with cheese and ham on Friday.

Baseball size chunk of tasteless meatloaf. 1 packet of Ketchup. Yum. Had a Mexican comment that "you people eat ketchup on everything". never been a "you people" before. Not sure I liked it.

Mystery poultry surprise. Take broccoli cheese sauce, toss in some rice (at least I hope it was rice), and the poultry of your choice. Don't tell anyone what kind of bird it is. Surprise! Truly discriminating tastebuds can identity the variety of bird. I need more clues.

And you think the ham in macaroni and cheese was weird, try macaroni and cheese stone cold with some weird veggies in it. It looks like macaroni and cheese on your plate, but when you put it in your mouth, it's nothing like you expected.

Going to work? We'll send along a lunch. Mystery meat sandwiches. Could be turkey, could be bologna.Who knows? Ketchup or mayo? A bag of chips, a tiny box of Hi-C and two cookies. Got a bonus cookie once, made my day.

Pancakes, not bad. Roll 'em up like a burrito and dip 'em in syrup. Ever tried to eat pancakes and syrup with a spork? It's less messy to use your fingers.Actually, use your fingers whenever possible instead of a spork.

Unanimous vote. The jerk that invented sporks should be killed.They only thing they're good for is inadvertently starting food fights as you try to stab your food and it launches across the table. It's a well known fact that 87% of prison riots break out because of spork related incidents. The guy that thought them up also invented spandex, so that really big people can look really bad in public. The guy is a sadist and really should be dealt with.

100 and 1 uses for a spork. Take a spork and throw it in the trash. Repeat 100 times.
Saturday night is yellow food night. Potato salad, applesauce, mystery poultry suspended in yellow goo with veggies, smeared across leftover biscuits from breakfast the other morning. Inoffensive, yet filling.

Honestly folks, I hope you learn from my experience. The local law enforcement are zealously enforcing the drunk driving laws, and cut no slack. It's extremely expensive, enormously inconvenient to you and those around you. The chances of being injured or injuring others compounds exponentially with the quantity of alcohol you consume. I'd hate to interview you for the next edition of "Observations From the Greybar Hotel".

Ride safe and have a great summer.