Some people live in a world that the rest of us can't even begin to recognize.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 2: Beginning my new life as an inmate

If I had ever thought about it before, I would have assumed that the "accommodations" in jail were bad. Really bad. Of course--criminals should be punished, right? Now, having been thrown into these accommodations I get to experience them first hand. I spent the night without shoes, without pantyhose, and only wearing the skirt and short sleeve blouse I'd worn to court yesterday. Oh yeah, and without my dignity. Amazing how almost fifty years of positive self-esteem can be destroyed in a matter of hours.

My cell has a thin wooden bench along two sides of the bars. The cell itself is covered with graffiti (where did previous users get pens and markers?) gouged out areas of wood, and spaces on the floor and wall stained in colors that my mind doesn't ever want to consider where they came from. In spite of my horror and tears, I was able to recognize that Martha Stewart had clearly NEVER spent time in this cell.
I am able to doze off on the bench several times. Apparently, it had not been a busy day for sentencings, so I am the only one in the holding cell. There is complete silence around me, save for the hourly rounds of a guard who only speaks to me when I ask to use the washroom. I try hard not to use the washroom, though, since the stains, stench and filth are so disgusting. The thought of two years of filthy, rotting washrooms is far beyond what I can handle emotionally at this moment.

At around 3AM an officer brought me a meal in a brown paper bag. It consisted of a peanut butter sandwich and a frozen chunk of pineapple juice. Not the tastiest meal ever but I devoured every bit of it. (Little did I know then that it would be the best tasting food I would eat for many weeks.)

Finally at 5AM, still shoeless and chilled to the bone, an officer opened the cell door and told me to follow him. I knew I'd rather die than find out what happens next. Unfortunately, my will is no longer my own, and it struck me that I no longer have any choice in what happens to me now, or for a long, long time in the future.

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