My Daily Journal in Federal Prison

Day 3

“Why I Very Much Dislike the Hole” – By Downward Departure.

1) No concept of time.  2) Omnipresent fluorescent lights.  3)  Ill-fitting garments; I’m 6’0″ and weigh 175 lbs…and right now I’m rocking a 4X jumpsuit and a 2X pair of boxers (label says for waists 45″-48″…I’m a 32″).  4) Stainless steel toilet with no lid.  5) Nothing to read, watch, or listen to.

The most exciting thing to happen to me today, thus far, has been the (relatively) delicious lunch.  That is, relative to not eating. (I kid.)  Roast chicken (skin on, dark meat), perfectly steamed white rice, corn nibblets, an iceberg lettuce salad with fat-free ranch dressing, 2 pieces of wheat bread, 2 pats of butter, 2 packets of sugar-free fruit punch, and 1 pack of mini vanilla creme cookies.

Lunch is typically the best meal of the day…and, for whatever reason, dinner is the only meal that doesn’t come with dessert.  Perhaps they don’t want all of the nutjobs in here to go on one last sugar high before bed.

As for the food, I won’t always get into the quality of the meals.  That would be too easy.  We all know what we’re dealing with here.  And despite being privileged enough to having enjoyed fine food on the outside, I’ve never been one to take food for granted, even if I’ve never gone without it myself.  Food is food…and I guarantee that there are many people in this world that would literally kill you for the same slop you might turn your nose up.

What I THOUGHT would be the most disappointing event of the day occurred in the afternoon…however, the MOST disappointing event would actually occur slightly thereafter.  The little slot in the massive steel door opened (yes, like in the movies) and instead of my expected dinner came through a dust pan, scrub brush, spray cleaner, and 2 rags.  So, I got to work, hoping that my newly clean digs would find itself on the cover of some industrial chic issue of Dwell magazine.  A short while later, I heard some commotion at another cell when an inmate got cute and refused to return the spray bottle.  Situation was quickly resolved with the arrival of the C.O.

And now for the big disappointment…the Lieutenant stopped by to check in and informed me that if I am medically cleared tomorrow, the EARLIEST that I could get out would be Monday…IF there was bed space available, which was mildly irritating to hear considering that there was definitely bed space when I had arrived.

I also learned that if I stayed in here, I wouldn’t be able to make any phone calls for the first 30 days. I then made a polite request for some reading material…because, you know, you can only read the outdated admissions manual so many times.  The Lt. made me aware that the “book cart” comes through on Saturday evenings.  Really?  You can’t just toss me a Sharper Image catalog?  I don’t want to sound ungrateful, folks, because prison is prison, and all that I ask is to be treated like a human being…which I have.  Everyone has been super professional.  However, it is mildly irritating when the yahoos in the cells next to mine are there for DISCIPLINARY reasons and they are whooping it up like it is Freaknik.  Their convos are held at a level typically reserved for alerting old folks to a disaster…AND they all have access to radios, newspapers, and the like.  And what’s the point of solitary confinement when the only thing that is preventing a game of dominos is a steel door?

I would be remiss, however, to not admit that some of these conversations can be highly entertaining.  To wit, these two gentlemen were pontificating on all of the marvels of mankind that they will experience once they are released (e.g., “cars that park themselves”) as well as how much women have changed (“THEY tryin’ to get it in like WE tryin’ to get it in” and “Ho’s going to the club now wearing nuthin’ but body paint…they be lookin’ like a motherfuckin’ AVATAR”).  Last night, I had to endure about a 2-hour philosophical discourse on the merits of Kevin Durant.  The only positive outcome to their outburts was that I was certain to get some kind of play-by-play on the Bulls game tonight.

p.s. There’s a major storm brewing outside.  I wonder if a tornado has ever hit a prison?


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