Caught in the maw of the system

I’m subject to random drug testing, part of my sentence for my second DUI.  I have to call in every weekday after 8AM to see if my color (I’m green) has been picked.  If it has, I have to get to the center in Southie in time to give a sample before 7:30PM.  Since I’m already at work by 8AM, if I get called in I have to go for my test after work, because the only practical way I can get back to the city from Bedford is by a bus that doesn’t start running until late afternoon.

Thursday was the first time my color was called in the three weeks since it was assigned to me.  It was also supposed to be a running day.  The center in Southie is about 7 miles from home, so I figured I’d take the T in (the center is within a mile of Andrew Station), then run back.  That meant I’d be in my tights and other running gear while I was there, but it wasn’t like I was going to blend in no matter how I dressed, being significantly older and whiter than the vast majority of the others at the center.

I jogged to the center from the T, scanned in using my center ID badge, then sat and waited (it is a government operation after all).  There were only two other people waiting in the dingy lobby ahead of me, so within a half hour I was called in. 

I had to check in with the ID again, then sign some paperwork and an evidence tracking form.  Then I went across the hall to a bathroom, and peed in a cup over a toilet with a official watching via a large mirror on the wall behind the bowl. 

Within 10 minutes, I was back out in the lobby.  While I was putting my gear back on, a line of young black men filtered through.  I was the most interesting thing that had appeared before them lately, so I drew some comment from across the room.

“Hey man, I’ll bet you just got unlucky.”

I grinned and replied “We all fuck up once in awhile.”  (See – I’m smiling, so I’m not threatened, and I said “fuck”, so I must be cool) (Nah.)

“Yeah.” (dismissively)  “You probably got a big house out in Lexington or something.”

“No.”  (I didn’t think he’d appreciate the distinction between a house in Lexington and an apartment in Arlington, so I didn’t elaborate.)

Another guy wandered over.  “You’re green. if I was green I’d be smoking marijuana. You’re like once a month.”

“I don’t know about that. This is my first time.”

“Green’s the color to have if you like to smoke or sniff.  I’m red/purple – I have to come in all the time.”  (Hmmm… – I can see how you got there.)

 By then I was ready to go so I checked out, and ran away.

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One thought on “Caught in the maw of the system

  • Todd

    I’m a little perplexed as to why you are undergoing drug testing for a DUI. I can understand alcohol testing. But then again, you mentioned earlier that there are no votes in defending criminals. So in theory, convicted DUI offenders could be sentenced to 5 years wearing a pink tutu all day.

    And being sober doesn’t mean passing an alcohol screen. From a toxicologic perspective, alcohol testing has a window of detection of over 3 days, possibly longer – which means they are looking for the leftover metabolites, not the actual blood alcohol itself. But I have no clue how fancy the State testing facility is.

    Just don’t drink or do drugs – neither am I right now.