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

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

DAY 14 continued: PRISON

Oddly, even though the PRISON is barely 30 miles from our county jail, the officers took a very circuitous route to get us there. Apparently they have to do this in case someone tries to stop the van and help us escape. I haven't even mentioned that, while in the van, we are required to wear highly conspicuous, distinct neon colored jump suits. And handcuffs and shackles. I've seen a lot of Clint Eastwood and Nicholas Cage escape-from-jail movies, but those did not even give a clue that the government wants you to look as distinctly noticeable as Big Bird in case you happen to somehow escape and start running down the highway during the trip.

Eventually we reached the 20 foot high fences of the prison, all covered with razor wire. I saw multiple buildings that looked like they were at least a hundred years old. And a graveyard. Yikes. We were "greeted" by a female officer who couldn't be nastier. She told us we smell, we're fat, and we better be afraid. We went from room to room to be given clothes and materials, and also to be checked by a doctor, dentist, psychologist, and drug counselor. Though I told each one of my innocence, nobody believed me. Apparently they hear that from others often. But I AM telling the truth, why don't they believe me?

After gathering one shirt, one pair of pants, three pairs of socks and underwear, a coat, a funky pair of black velcro shoes, and an actual pair of pajamas, we were lead to our rooms. I couldn't believe how tiny the rooms are. One set of bunk beds, one chair, a toilet/sink combination and six shelves hanging along the wall opposite the bed. There was less than two feet of room between the bed and the shelves. But wait! The room has a window, and it actually opens! Fresh air feels so good, no matter how chilly it is outside. I can see trees and clouds! The little things. I have to learn to be grateful for the little things.

My roommate had gotten to the room before me. She weighs about 300 lbs, and had already claimed the bottom bunk. Top bunks frighten me, but the flimsy looking bunk beds made me glad I was not on the bottom, in danger of being crushed. I introduced myself to my new "bunky" (apparently, even at my age, everyone is expected to call their roommate "bunky"). She rattled off her life story in ten minutes, including the fact that she cries all the time, is suicidal, and has an STD.

I cried myself to sleep that night. I so want to go home.

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