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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Days 15 & 16: adjusting to boredom

You know how when you have so many things to do you wish there were more than 24 hours in a day? Well, apparently in prison there's at least 30. Maybe even 40 hours a day. With absolutely nothing to do. Time drags by so slowly. I am now in the intake area of the "reception" prison. Inmates in this area are confined to their rooms 24 hours a day, with the exception of meal times, when the guards go from cell to cell, unlocking each door with a key, and allow one of the roommates to walk 20 feet to pick up the two trays for our room. We get about 15 minutes to eat, then they unlock the cells again, and one of us gets to return the trays. My bunky and I take turns getting each meal, so we both get a bit of exercise. A very tiny bit of exercise.

Wearing pajamas to bed is much better than county jail where we wore the exact same clothing 24 hours a day for three or four days in a row. The only problem now is that we are woken up for breakfast at 4:30 AM, and have to be in full uniform in order to walk down the hall to pick up the trays. And NO throwing clothes over the pajamas. If they spot our pajama collar peeking out from under our uniform we get no breakfast.

The officer guarding our wing sits at a desk at the end of the hall. We have no interaction with him at all except when he unlocks and locks our doors for meals. So I have gotten to know Cindy (my bunky) very well, since she talks constantly about herself. She was not kidding when she told me that she cries a lot, also. Cindy has some real health issues. And some unreal ones. According to her, every bone, organ and cell in her body has something wrong with it. I happened to ask her why she is in prison. Through her many tears she stated that she has to take so many medications for her health problems (and those "f***ing doctors" won't give her all the ones she needs) that she had to "borrow" prescription pads, and "borrow" doctors' DEA numbers, in order to write and obtain her own prescriptions. She saw nothing wrong with that since, according to her, they were medical needs.

Cindy was shocked and actually offended that the police arrested her for her medical needs. Oh, and something else. She said she also beat her husband and son regularly and had had orders of protection against her many times. Gee, doesn't she think that's a reason for arrest, too? She cried a lot because she was sure she was going to die from her health issues at any moment. At first I reassured her that she was going to be fine. Then (oh, Lord, please forgive me) boredom got the best of me. I started agreeing with her assessment of her health, agreeing with her that she looked pale, then she looked flushed. She'd complain it was too cold, and I'd say I thought the room was warm. She thought she looked all swollen and that her hair was falling out. "Gosh, I think you're right" I'd say. She was very worried that her STD would cause her to get cancer. I just nodded and said I'd heard that, too. Normally I'm never mean like that, but the utter boredom of having nothing to do but listen to her complaints really got to me.

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