I'VE BEEN SERVED

My Daily Journal in Federal Prison

Day 12

I woke up this morning in a slight panic…Had I really not given my 2-week notice at the paint & hardware shop prior to my self-surrender?  Oh wait…I didn’t work at a paint & hardware shop.  That was only a dream that I just had.  Whatever…that place sucked anyway.

I also realized that it had now been over 10 days since I had brought smokes, booze, or caffeine to my lips…and I couldn’t believe that I haven’t had any urges or cravings.  Which leads me to believe that many of my vices and habits have been primarily situational, as opposed to biological.  Meaning, if I was still going through the grind right now of waking up to an alarm, taking my dogs out, walking to the train, etc., I would have already ripped a couple of smokes and downed a few cups of joe.  And not just because they were AVAILABLE to me, but because my mind and body had associated certain activities with certain bad habits.  Fortunately, I now had a clean, fresh canvas to work with and I’d be a fool if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to start making some good habits that will carry me past my time here and into the rest of my life.  I’m talking about eating right, exercising, reading voraciously, and writing like it’s my business.

So, the first thing I accomplished this morning was the task of returning my old celly’s mattress back to the top bunk.  I realized after a somewhat restless evening that 2 lumpy, thin, uncomfortable vinyl mattresses do not equal one Serta Sleeper…but rather a mound of heaping discomfort.  By using only one mattress, it eventually conforms and contours to your body, allowing for but a modicum of comfort.

Guess what I had for lunch today?  Pizza.  I recently wondered why this dish that was beloved by so many had not yet been served here…and how difficult would it be to get it wrong?  Well, honey, this wasn’t even close to that highly coveted rectangle pretending to be pizza in the junior high lunch room.  For starters, it was cold.  I’m not above cold pizza, as long as I have been able to enjoy it hot at least once the night before.  And instead of mozzarella, they had used a thickly grated cheddar that never quite melted, all atop a mostly tomato paste sauce.  But, beggars can’t be choosers right?  Curiously, there were also two beef patties in there and two slices of whole wheat bread.  And about 8 packets of ketchup.  Mmmmm.

I must say, I have been truly enjoying the peace & quiet every since my celly was shipped out; although, I have been experiencing quite a bit of anxiety every time I hear the jangle of a guard’s keys, as he walks by my cell — especially when it’s not chow time, count time, or time for my meds…because that would only increase the likelihood of him stopping at my door to deposit some new riff-raff.  As long as I have to stay in here another week or two, I’d prefer to fly solo — read my books, write my journals, and enjoy the serenity.  I’m beginning to think, however, that spending my first few weeks down here has been somewhat of a mixed blessing — A) I can now say that I spent time in “the Hole”…and, more importantly, B) I’ll make damn sure that I never come back again now that I got a taste of it.

I heard through the grapevine (i.e., the guard telling other inmates while my ear was pressed to the door) that the lockdown had been called off in Units A & C.  Guess what Unit I’ve been assigned to?  Unit B.  Apparently, that’s where all the trouble started (can’t wait to call that my home).  My old celly — and what seems like most of the dudes down here — came from Unit D (the other Unit still on lockdown).  So, even if I do get medical clearance…I probably wouldn’t want to be in my Unit while it was still under lockdown.  I’d rather stay here…as long as I had me some stamps and a radio.

Kind of sad when the highlight of my week is now waiting for the book cart.  The one benefit of having a celly is that it allows us to have 4 books for the room — 2 per person…and if your celly isn’t much of a reader, than means 4 books for you.  I had read all 4 books that we got last week rather quickly…I will need to stretch the two that I get tonight for as long as I can.

I was hoping for a book in at least one of the following categories — memoir, true crime, classic, or mystery.  The pickings were rather slim by the time the cart got to my cell, but I was lucky enough to satisfy two of those categories with rather pristine copies of Jack London‘s “White Fang” (classic) and Sara Paretsky‘s “Total Recall” (mystery).  As the guard was closing the slot in my door, I had also spied “Disclosure,” by Michael Crichton, which could have been a fun read…maybe next time.

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1 Comment»

  DH wrote @

The book cart always makes me think of Homer in prison.

(Book cart arrives)

Homer: “Hmmmm, this could be useful….” as he picks up a copy of “How to Break out of Prison)

(proceeds to smack the old man pushing the cart over the head with the book and runs for it)


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