Monday, July 13, 2009

Instruments of containment



Meet my friends - the Home Guard 200 and the BI Sobrietor . The home guard is my chain and the sobriety radar is the accompanying ball. The space age home monitor uses radio frequencies to detect whether or not I'm "in range." I am not allowed to know the actual distance I'm allowed to travel before triggering an alert. The general rule is not to walk out the door for more than five minutes but I would guess I could get away with staying in the front lawn, which is closer to the unit than say, the laudery room. Still I'm not looking to chance it. To date, taking chances has got me arrested - twice!
The Sobrietor is a form of torture nearly the equivalent of water boarding. About five times a day, what sounds like an alarm clock going off through a megaphone, signals me to attention. Once I pick up the sobrietor the alarm stops, replaced by a beep every 30 seconds. This goes on for five minutes to let me know that even though I am standing there waiting, the machine is boss and it will test me when it's good and ready. Finally after minutes of breathless anticipation, there is a long loud beep. Now it's time to test.
"Colorado, California, Florida." After repeating the names of these three states for voice verification, the machine reviews my performance, deciding if I am even worthy of taking a sobriety test. Was the voice it heard indeed my own or a thinly veiled human attempt to deceive it? If I say a word too quick or too slow, too soon or too late or too loud or too soft, the sobrietor is nice enough to let me know and guide me through the process once more. Did I mention this process happens five times a day; the first alarm sounds every morning between 7 and 8 a.m.?
Who the hell drinks at 7 a.m.?