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

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 5: Waking up in my new cell

The screaming and swearing from the cell next door lasted all night long.   Oddly, I felt some comfort in the fact that I was securely locked away in my jail cell, and that crazy person had no chance of getting into my room.

Although I had woken up many times in the middle of the night I was able to tell when morning arrived because of the light coming through the room's small window. My roommate was still sleeping. I tried not to glance in her direction often because of that hand in the pants thing she had going on. Ewwww.   I got up and looked out the window.  Not much of a view.  There was a small area of weedy grass on the ground.  At least that let me know I was on the first floor of the building.  Most of what I saw from my window was concrete wall.  A very tall, thick concrete wall.  Wait!  If I knelt down so my face was near the lowest part of the window, and twisted my neck just right, I was able to see sky!   A mixture of warm comfort (because the world was still out there) and aching sadness (also because the world was still out there) flooded through me. 

At that moment my roommate woke up and asked me what I was looking at.  I explained that I was thrilled that the cell had a view of the sky and excited that I'd be able to see clouds. In a bored voice she told me not to get too excited because this wouldn't be the cell I'd be living in.  Huh?  How did she know that?  She explained that the jail was overcrowded, that we had been put in the "Seg" area for the night, and that we would be moved when a real cell opened up. "Seg?"  "Real Cell?"  I didn't want to appear stupid, but realized I needed a copy of "Jail Vocabulary for Dummies" right about then.

Nothing in life had taught me what the social protocol was for waking up in a jail cell with a stranger, let alone a criminal stranger, so I introduced myself.  My roommate introduced herself as Kelly.  (I didn't tell her that I had been told that in the holding cell, or tell her that everyone in that cell was appalled by her odor.) Kelly stated that she wouldn't be awake much because "whenever I come to jail I get to catch up on my sleep."   SO many questions raced through my mind.  Since she had referred to "whenever" she comes to jail I asked her how often that happened.  "Oh, this is my, I think my ninth time here" she said.  OMG! I wanted to asked what she does so often to get herself arrested.  I wanted to ask what lifestyle she leads that only lets her get sleep in jail.  I wanted to ask her to please keep her hands out of her pants. But this was jail.  I tried to look cool.  So I just nodded and turned my head while she went to use the toilet. 

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