Prison Pete

Thursday, August 12, 2004
  I am tired, pissed off, and scared.
So how is your day?

I got your latest letter today and it was a great read. I worked nine and a half hours today and did not finish a rush job they need for 7:30 AM tomorrow. Oops, part of the problem is not being able to just work until it is done.

My buddy Dave just became a grandfather. He is 50 and his daughter is only 19. Of course, age is relative to how one deals with it. And yes, I hope we both have many, many years left, but one should certainly be sure to live the best one can each day!

It is so hard to "bring you up to speed" as to what my life is like in here. Fifteen minute phone calls and letters with their inherent time lag make the going tough. And one of my persistent weak spots is putting off a tough issue until it seems to become insurmountable.

One thing I am finding is that so much of my feelings and internal make-up is totally controlled by this great prison experience. While I know people outside have pressures etc. to deal with, there is so little, probably nothing, that I can think, feel or do where the prison life does not enter in.

For example, they needed forty copies of this manual, a user’s guide for the Federal Payroll System, by today. It was given to me at noon on Friday. Well, my normal work hours are 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM, and 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, Monday to Friday. So how was I supposed to get this done? Did I mention it is 130 double-sided pages? The printer does two-up (i.e. 11 x 17) pages at once. Then you need to print the other side, keeping track of what goes front and back.

I only made two mistakes. I printed one set without flipping to the blank side and ended up with 103/106 and 104/105 back to back. Good thing it was only forty sheets to toss, because since they "forgot" my bonus last month, I do admit to feeling somewhat abused.

Anyhow, my only hope to finish this project is if the one Education staff member who comes in at 6:00 AM tomorrow calls me over to work. Our cell doors open at 6:00 AM, so I will shower when the doors reopen (they have been locked from 9:30 PM to now 10:07 PM) at around 10:30 PM, and then climb into bed and hopefully wake up by my own internal alarm clock at around 5:30 AM so I can be ready to go at 6:00 AM. I have all the collating done; I just need to punch the holes (comb binding system). The collator only does ten sheets at a time, so I have 13 stacks of paper and can only punch about 20 sheets at a time.

Normally I would have just spent the extra half hour and wrapped it up tonight, but nothing here is very normal as you will learn bit by bit as my writings gradually begin to make some sense to you. Probably every once and a while something I say will click in your own grey matter back to a previous letter from weeks past!

It’s still going to be a rush to it have done by 7:00 AM for his training session with the 25 department timekeepers, plus I only have ten of the larger combs so the 30 other books will have to be split onto two half-combs.

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