Prison Pete

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
  R. E. S. P. E. C. T.
I take a lot of ribbing being a Yankee. The two guys at work are constantly talking about how the guy before me in this clerk job did a better job. Truth is he did a lousy job, and was considered to be a big-time rat to boot. Well one day, one of the tool guys starts ragging me about doing or caring more about some other part of Rec than doing my clerk job. I go along with the riff and say, yeah, I do not care about clerk work.

Well, at some point, perhaps his clenched hands and red face, I realize he is pissed off big-time at me for not retyping his order at exactly the time he thought I should do it. I thought I had an appropriate time line on handling a roadblock, and he obviously thought otherwise. Up until this point, I did not realize that I was being disrespectful to him. He did not just come out and say what he wanted done, leaving me quite baffled at the outburst.

If nothing else, and having no bearing on a real world definition of respect, one never wants to be in a position of disrespecting another inmate. Of course, the problem of the definition of respect being so fluid is that the only one who knows the "current" definition is the one feeling disrespected. Well, after the wires connected that this time he wasn't kidding even though the words were "exactly" the same as always, I immediately apologized for the error of my ways, and asked him to please let me know anytime in the future if he thought I was not taking care of things the way he wanted it done.

So tonight for example, at 5:00 PM before I started walking, another inmate had said he had an order he was working on. I told him no problem, I would be back to type it after my walk. We are out there walking and they call the move back. I was sweaty, hungry, and buggy as all hell, so I breeze through the office, see the order, and say I will type it first thing in the morning. It should not matter. He is in with me first thing in the morning and the Rec cop who needs to initial the orders would not be in till 12:30 PM.

But instead I went back down to Rec at 7:30 PM and sure enough, the first thing this guy says to me as I am walking in is, "Oh, you’re back to type my order." It has four items on it and only takes a few minutes to type. He signs it and I put it in the pile (PCC) of orders waiting for the Rec cop’s approval.

Well, 8:00 PM comes and the tools are all in, but no cop is around to lock the cages. I tell my coworker I will stay if he wants to catch some air before the 8:30 PM recall. He goes off, leaving me watching the tools. Not a big deal and the important part is that it does not necessarily buy me one iota of respect.

They will use you today, and shit on you tomorrow.
Hi Prison Pete (and Prison Pete's editor),

I just wanted to say "hi" and let you know that there are people out here reading your blog. I'm not even going to say I understand how prison is, because, well, duh. I'm not IN prison. But I sympathize. I can't comment on whether you deserve to be there, or what, because I just read the blog. No judging.

I do think that you having a blog is a good idea. I find the whole blogging thing to be pretty good in that it purges out all sorts of pent-up stuff from my head, which is nice because then I don't ramble on to unsuspecting e-mail friends/relatives.

Whenever I'd talk to my father or get a letter from him when I was away from home, he'd always sign off "eat well, study hard, be good...". It's funny, but I fell compelled to say to you: Hang in, take care, be good. Your blog is cool, and I know life is tough a lot of the time, but it all seems to just keep rollin' along. There are a lot of people reading your blog - I know I check in at least once a week...
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