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

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Week 4: This is definitely NOT Mr. Rogers' neighborhood

Prison is depressing. Intake and Reception is supposed to be a very temporary stop between county jail and one of the state's prisons where an inmate will be housed on ground with the general prison population. However, with such overcrowding in the prisons, women aren't staying only a few weeks here. Some are staying over three months before there is room at their final prison destination. We are stuck in our little cells about 90 percent of each day. Only out to walk back and forth to chow hall, to get our three showers a week, and for our twice a week recreation time. At least I now have a roommate who helps pass the time more quickly.

Since I'm stuck in my cell most of the time I don't get to see many other inmates. But I do get to hear the yelling that goes back and forth between cells, and have developed some idea of the personalities of others by hearing these conversations.

Across from me is Meesha. Meesha stands in her doorway every night talking in a very loud voice through the window grate in her door. She's usually at it until at least 2AM. I can't understand everything she's saying, but what I do understand is all about drugs, drug dealing, and the raw deal she got out of being arrested. Again. The thing with Meesha is that I never hear anyone respond back to her! She repeats the same things over and over, and she isn't even talking to anyone! Now that's bizarre, but I don't dare tell her to shush because she, like everyone else here, scares me.

A girl named Dorez lives far down the hall from me. I've never seen her yet and have no idea who she is, but it's clear she's very popular and very funny. She has many friends calling her name at all hours (I call them the Dorez groupies) and joking with her. At night there is usually at least 15 minutes of Dorez and her groupies yelling "I love you" and "I love you MORE" and "No, I love YOU MORE" to each other. Usually just as I've finally dozed off. Yes, you can hear everything in here.

Then, there is the inmate who I call the "Loud Sneezer." She sneezes louder and more often than anyone I've ever heard, and her sneezes echo through the cellblock. There is another group of women that I could call the "loud sneezer groupies," but they're probably more aptly known as the "bitch-cover-your-effing-mouth-bitch" group who respond to the loud sneezer's loud sneezes.

Of course, there is the sorority girl group--the skinny young blonds who talk and laugh and swear all night long. They are clearly from the suburbs and think they are entitled to privileges even here in prison.

Finally, there are two girls who live 5 cells from each other: "Cash" and "Peppah." I thought her name was Pepper until I saw "Peppah" tattooed on her arm. This is prison. I guess that makes sense here. Every night around midnight they strike up a "conversation" that goes something like this:
Cash: "Hey, Peppah"
Peppah: "yeah?"
Cash: "fuck you"
Peppah: "no, fuck you!"
Cash: " Fuck You"
Peppah: "Fuck YOU"
Cash: "FUCK YOU"
Peppah: "FUCK YOU!"
Cash: "FUCK YOU!!"
Peppah: "FUCK YOU!!!"
Cash: "FUCK YOU!!!!"
Peppah: "FUCK YOU!!!!!"
Cash: "a'ight"
Peppah: "a'ight"
Both: "g'night"

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