unfolded beautifully.


did i tell you about the time i got a d.u.i.? no, i said, though i'd heard about it from a friend. dr. s. told me the whole story. how she drove drunk from lake city all the way to renton, a total of 16 miles, until police finally caught up with her in a fred meyer parking lot. she claimed that she couldn't remember anything that night, and that she must have blacked out at some point. i think i was trying to kill myself that night, she said. the year was 2003, she had just undergone a nasty divorce - he'd gambled away a sizable amount of her earnings - and one night, she had been depressed enough to buy herself a $25,000 glass of merlot. at the time, i was a sophomore in her british literature class, all of us oblivious to the fact that our beloved english professor was in the process of becoming a felon.

she continued: the cop charged me with evasion because i had driven so far and refused to pull over. by the time i got to that fred meyer parking lot, i was unresponsive. i was driving my black bmw with the tinted windows, so, you know, they didn't know who was in there! i was told later that there were about 12 police cars, and they had their guns drawn as they approached my vehicle. they must've broken the windows to get to me. and then they arrested me. they cuffed me, and i went to jail. just like that.

were you completely freaked out? i was totally freaked out, she said. it was the weirdest thing, you know. here i was, in a courtroom with some hardcore felons. these were guys wearing those orange jumpsuits, and i was in there with my business suit on. the judge looked at me and asked, what are you doing in my court? i told him i didn't know. i told him i had a very bad night, one of the worst nights of my life, and i ended up here. he looked over my report, said i didn't have a history, and that i didn't belong there. i had twenty-five letters of support from childhood friends, other faculty, students, everyone. i got my one year sentence reduced to three days. they suspended my license, and i went to a.a. meetings. they installed one of those ignition locks in my car, you know, the kind you have to breathe in before it can start?

i remember that time, i told her. you'd missed a couple of classes that quarter, but i had no idea any of this was going on, i said. none of us did. yeah, she said, i went to trial in between classes. the judge asked me, when can you begin your three day sentence? he said, can you do it today? and i told him, no, that i actually had a class i needed to teach at 2. the judge laughed at me. he said, this is probably the worst day of your life, and you're still thinking about teaching a 2 o'clock class? he said that was very responsible of me.

the judge told me, you're lucky you didn't kill someone that night. i look at that d.u.i. as a gift, she said. because it saved my life. it really did. as scared as i was, i knew that god was watching over me, and i knew that there was some sort of plan, some reason that this was happening to me. not many people know about it, she said. it's not like i go around advertising it, but it's unfolded beautifully. and i thank god that i'm still alive. i ended up serving my three day sentence over spring break that year.

we got to her car, and she put her dog in his zip-up cage in the backseat. she was perspiring. we should do this again, she said. it was so good seeing you. we hugged it out. you too, i said.

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