Prison Pete

Sunday, June 05, 2005
  Memorial Day.
Today might have been my twenty-ninth wedding anniversary.

11:30 AM here and I thought I would start typing what I have written to you so far and then take a shower, come back to proof and print. Since today is a holiday, we just had brunch, and I ate two burgers, two hot dogs, and some macaroni salad. I did get out and walk this morning as I have each morning since I started back. I need to not take a day off, since it is easier to not go out the next day. My feet are still getting abused, due to the lack of proper footwear, but those things that do not kill us serve only to make us stronger.

Well I took off writing yesterday [Friday], so nothing to type today. It has been an interesting thirty-six hours. I thought I might get one guy for the empty bed beneath me and instead I picked another guy as the lesser of two evils. Last night that move was cancelled and today my bunkmate is now Mr. Daniels. Yes, he is the same guy I have mentioned before. The one that I traveled with from Downstate. I am already being bombarded by many of the inmates about what a shit-head Daniels is and how I should give him hell. One of the wanna-be gangsters walked by my bed this evening while we were both on our respective bunks and banged on the bunk twice.

This is the issue I need to rise with Daniels. I never even speak to the "bed knocker" and now I am forced to let him know that I would appreciate him not knocking on my bunk when I am in it. The challenge for me is to stay neutral and not add to the harassment of Daniels but not come to his defense either. I am not toeing the party line as far as the other inmates are concerned, but that much heat I am willing to endure to hold on to as much of my own dignity as I can, without incurring any penalty that would cause me or my possessions any physical harm.

True there is a low risk of actual physical violence here, but the little stuff can still make one miserable. Garbage on you bed, general verbal abuse, and maybe some pushing and shoving type of behavior.

Befriending him is out of the question because he refuses to take my previous advice seriously and any move toward providing support would cause my immediate inclusion as a recipient of the harassment.

I have already heard that when Daniels was confronted about moving over here without asking me first, he claimed he did ask me and I said it was okay. He never did ask me, and when I confronted him about that he claimed he never said that. I then told him I heard him with my own ears ask the officers on the stage if he could move, he said no that is not the way it happened. I said which part of I heard it myself, did you not understand. This is one of the problems in prison, how fucked up things can get over the simplest issues.

The bigger issue is his presence forces me to behave in ways contrary to my current way of dealing with the world around me. I am willing to help others, not challenge other inmates that want to be tough guys, but with Daniels below me, he becomes a lightning rod for all kinds of negative attention I do not need or want.

Sunday night and the lights just went out (11:00 PM). I forget who gets credit with the saying, "If you want to keep getting what you are getting, keep doing what you are doing." It certainly is an appropriate phrase here.

Then there is the sense that it is not my problem, it is the other person's problem. Yes, this was a frequent excuse I gave myself to forestall any need to make changes in my behavior. It is an area that the book, "Your Own Worst Enemy" makes very clear. We "Smart" types tend to not want to accept responsibility for the areas in out life that are not as easy for us to control. In my case the bar is set pretty low. I am a wiz at working with mechanical things and designing computer programs, but work on a relationship no way.

To beat that poor dead horse some more, I spent years denying the need (and the ability) to touch type.

Now I am frustrated by my inability to become even faster and accurate. I have discovered a well entrenched "pathway" in me brain that as soon as I look at the keyboard or the cheat sheet taped to the typewriter, my brain automatically goes into an over thinking mode that takes three or four steps to hit a key. By looking away from the typewriter, the fingers begin to move at a much faster rate. The "sub-conscience" seems to take over and fingers move at a much faster and more accurate pace. Scary to be sure.

Obviously if I accept an overall "why change" approach to life I would not last long once I am released. (Now listening to a transcription of the overture to "Carmen" for pipe organ.) Without accepting the ability and power I have to change, I would be accepting as fact that my behavior would lead me right back to jail.

There are lots of reasons to change. It is a quandary for me that on the one hand we all have the ability to change our behavior and even knowing that, willingly accept an attitude that change is impossible. We each have been changing since the day we were born.

More areas where I have changed, some still ongoing, but still a change none the less. My letters to you are now all ribbon originals. I pay more attention to the output and am working on the ideal of delivering error free text to you. I am more willing to write frequently to you (daily?) than you respond to me. Yes, I do make occasional remarks about wanting to hear from you more often, but it is certainly not as much an issue for me. While someone just today made a comment about how I night sometimes talk too much, I take you at your word when you mention you miss hearing from me if I skip a few days in sending you a letter.

I have been fairly consistent about writing to you regardless of your response. I know I have made changes and accept that it is necessary to stay vigilant or back sliding will occur. I usually make two trips from my bunk to the table where I set up shop for my typing. One trip is for all the books, dictionary and thesaurus and file with paperwork is the first trip.

The second trip is for the typewriter and chair_ I will occasionally forget the dictionary and when the spell checker continues to beep at me, I am faced with the dilemma to get up and go get the dictionary or just leave the error and let you correct it. [gee who would have thought, dilemma, I thought delim... and was getting beeped at, dictionary no listing, tried alternate approach of using thesaurus but no luck under quandary or question, then finally tried di_- ah ha.] I am definitely making the effort to be as correct as possible to reduce your need to correct stuff I am (or should be) able to do.

Well that is the end of the eleven pages I had handwritten. It is now 2:45 PM on Monday. We will have a special count at 3:15, then dinner at four. I need to take a shower at some point, and then will proof and print these pages and add some more stuff.

Let me see what quick stuff I can add now to finish up this page.

One of the inmates was improperly using the universal weights today at 1:00 PM. I was sitting here typing the whole time and did not even know there was anything happening. They are going to close off the weight room for sure. The staff is now claiming that there is supposed to be only one person using the weights at a time so anyone that was in the room at the time of the accident will be going to the box for a bit. That has not happened yet, but still might. That way, the inmate that is now short one finger tip can not claim another inmate caused the damage and sue the prison for inadequate supervision.

Thanks for the addresses. That could probably be a standard procedure from now on. Even if you can make an initial contact, give me the mailing address and I will do any follow-up my self. 800 numbers do my no good. I can not call them at all. The only info I can use is the mailing address. I will be sending out follow-up letters today.

I do have a lot of books to read. I did read one of the novels in twenty-four hours and am almost done with the Exorcist. I am still reading The Killer Angels, but can not speed through that like I can some of the novels.

Yes we have a library. It is a ten by eight foot room with bookcases. The inmates that "run" it, Frank is one of them, have been know to rip up perfectly good books if they feel they do not need that particular book in the library! Up till now I have not had a problem with the twenty-five book limit, but do not want to leave it to chance that Mr. King will not strike again. I will read fast and furious for a while.

I would appreciate if you could hold off the books for a few weeks. I like to challenge myself to read everything you send. I have been pleasantly surprised on more than one occasion by reading a book you sent that on first glance I would not have read. If I have too many books, I will make arbitrary decisions that will lead me to not reading something I might actually enjoy. I will really dig in over the next two weeks to get rid of the back log. I did catch up on the New York Times.

Did you read the story about the charter busses that leave from Manhattan heading to the various prisons upstate. One bus was actually headed for here. Then there was the "round-up" of the sex-offenders down in Florida. Send them to prison for a paperwork violation? Good use of taxpayer's money? Good press though.

The other day when I stepped into the shower someone had left two pages from a porn magazine "glued" to the wall. It was a woman only and in one she has her legs spread with a dildo in her. Now I have been know to take care of certain physical needs while in the shower and was surprised to find that the addition of the pictures was actually a distraction to obtaining the release I was seeking.

The other thing I have noticed is that if I am reading sexually provocative writing prior, even many hours prior to, my shower, the release is all the "sweeter". The lesson here is that having come to depend on the written word so much, pictures are no longer very useful, and more importantly, it would seem that prior stimulation of the mind increases the enjoyment of the actual physical experience.

That is where I think woman are really difference. They do see sex as a payoff. Them paying off for being treated like a woman. They need to be warmed-up over a period of time and the warm-up stuff better not be a hug and a kiss before pushing them down on the bed. You really need to prep the mind before you get to the physical. Even if the attention is an after the fact "treat."

Even in here, I find that by doing some of the little things that acknowledge the uniqueness of the person, even the toughest break down. Car articles for Bill, stories on Puerto Rico for Tom, the Book Review for Frank. All these things add up to getting people to respect me and be my friend despite my warts and faults.

I am going to start printing this out. I was not going to see the movie, the remake of Precinct 13. But let me see how many pages I can get down by 6:00.

I did go to the movie and then got roped into a couple quick games of spades. Lost two out of three. Came back and have been working on my bunk since 9:00 PM getting rest of letter out. It is now 10:20 PM and I am about to print this last page. I will actually start the handwritten letter to you in a little bit.
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