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My first time getting arrested was the exact opposite of the first time I had sex. The former experience lasted a long time, was spent with people I cared about, and involved a little bit of strangulation. My first sexual experience didn’t have any of those things, not even the strangulation. That doesn’t seem fair to me.
Getting arrested sucks every time, don’t get me wrong, but that first arrest is by far the worst. For example, during the first arrest you have no idea what to expect. Once you are put in the cell you lay there on your bunk hoping to God that your crack head cellmate is a heavy sleeper (don’t worry, he is, he’s on crack). Meanwhile visions of the show “Oz” dance a terrifying dance through your head. You also pray that any giant black man you see is more John Coffey than Nasty Nate. It isn’t until later that you realize everyone being held at the station (for the most part) just wants to be left alone and get the fuck out of there.
Another problem with being arrested for the first time is that you don’t know how to deal with the little things, like the surprising mind fuck it is to be handcuffed for the first time. I remember when I was first handcuffed all I could think was how I felt like a giant piece of shit and a second class citizen. It was like I was officially, even if only momentarily, enough of a dredge on society that I needed to be physically restrained. There I was in the same boat as rapists and shoplifters. Not a great feeling. Of course it’s a completely misinformed feeling since getting handcuffed, aside from an asshole cop making the cuffs too tight, is really no big deal.
During that first arrest you also don’t quite know how to act. Generally people have one of two attitudes when being arrested for the first time. They are either A) scared or B) cocky assholes. If you act scared then you will at the very least spend the next few days feeling ashamed for acting like such a pussy. Being scared also comes with the added bonus of being fucked with by the cops in the hopes that they will get more info out of you, if it’s necessary. That’s because the police prey on your emotions worse than a Kony 2012 video.
Others, like myself, act like a cocky asshole. Both of my parents are attorneys and they had given me plenty of advice on what to do should I ever be arrested. Naturally I ignored their sound advice and decided to act like my genetics made me capable of arguing the law. So I slipped on the lawyer pants and decided to act as counsel for myself and my buddies who got arrested with me. But since I was shitfaced drunk I put those pants on backwards and then pissed them, figuratively speaking. The police did not appreciate my attitude, and rewarded my behavior by putting me in a cell with their loudest, angriest, and filthiest hobo. Nowadays I just keep my mouth shut unless absolutely necessary, you know, like my parents told me to do.
Generally the problem with the first time you get arrested is that you overreact to everything, one way or the other. The only thing you should be doing when arrested is quietly waiting for your lawyer or a brother with bail money. I can’t emphasize the quiet part enough. Police appreciate quiet. They’re just like librarians really, armed, power drunk, librarians.
There are, however, other things that might or might not happen during an arrest that you will never get used to. For example, my first arrest still holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first and only time I’ve ever seen a hobo try and hang himself in person (as opposed to via webcam, which I watch every night before I go to sleep).
There are three things I mentioned earlier that you should keep in mind. The first is that the police, as a reward for my shithead attitude, bunked me up with a loud, severely fucked up, angry hobo. The second is that there was a little strangulation action that night. Finally the third is that when people are in a holding cell, they just want to get out of there. Apparently my hobo roomie REALLY wanted to get out of there. I woke up around 5:00am, still waiting to be bailed out, to a muffled gurgling sound and ten cops outside my cell screaming “OPEN IT! FUCKING OPEN IT,” at some nervous guy fumbling with keys. There on the other side of the cell was my vagrant bunkmate, hanging himself with his t-shirt. The police, with their nightsticks drawn, opened the cell and ripped the bum from his American Apparel noose before proceeding to beat the will to live back into him. As for me, I was tired, so I just rolled over, mumbled “fuck this place” to myself, and went back to sleep. I was bailed out an hour later. That’s something no one will ever get used to.
My advice? Don’t get arrested for the first time.