Prison Pete

Saturday, August 13, 2005
  Right of Way.
One of the more disliked inmates here has decided that his use of the Rec yard should take precedence over any other inmates.

One part of the 'track' is actually two narrow paths cut into the side of a hill. This two-path approach continues along the far side of the track. In other words, two sides of the roughly rectangular yard have these single person width paths. I have always walked on the outside edge of the track, which is the path I measured out.

There is one inmate that I have mentioned that would run about seventy-two laps three times a week. He has decided to take off this month from running. When he rums, I walk in the opposite direction and I am easily able to let him pass by on the inside of me for two of the three times he passes me.

The third time we pass I make a wide swing off the path, and walk on the grassy part of the hill. It is an interesting challenge and makes me keep pace with his running. The point is that I am able to get into a rhythm and do not need to think about where the other runner is.

The other aforementioned pest of an inmate has taken to running one lap, walking one lap, and then lying on his back on one of the benches and doing some horizontal air bicycle pedaling before jumping up and running one more lap. Meanwhile I am out there huffing and puffing doing my laps.

If I happen to be walking in the opposite direction from his running, he refuses to yield and will go as far as to bump into me. If I am walking in the same direction he will brush past me.

My feeling is that if he was running a certain pace for multiple laps, yes he would have a right of way. But since I am power walking and he is only doing one lap, it is no problem for him to take the inside path and run around the slower walkers. The other inmates all give me the outside path to walk on.

Well, this all came to a head on Sunday. I simply decided I was not going to keep breaking my pace for his one lap bullshit.

The inmate spent several minutes with the officer who is the regular officer out in the yard, stating his case for right-of-way. Meanwhile the dorm was all abuzz with the growing conflict between the two of us.

Rule number one here is any possible tension between two inmates is a good thing as long as you are not one of the two inmates. In this case I have the larger cheering section. And that is all it is. No one really wants to lift a finger to help, and if it came to blows, so much the better. But actually offer any constructive help? Forget about it.

Later Sunday evening said inmate approached me in the cooking room and asked to speak to me. I said no problem. He started off by saying how he did not understand why we ware having this problem as he had always been so good to me since I came here offering me food etc. (That is why I never took anything from him, I knew it would come back to bite me).

To make a long story a little shorter, after he explained how he had the right-of-way on the track and I politely stated that I felt otherwise, it began to get a little loud, and he even mentioned that I was yelling at him. I took that moment to say the conversation is over; we will have to simply agree to disagree, and off he went.

When I went out to walk the next morning, I was pulled over by the officer and he explained to me that his opinion was that since I was power walking, I had as much right to the path as the other inmate and if anything, since he was only running the one lap, there was no reason he could not find a way to run without getting in my way.

Another unwritten rule is an inmate is not supposed to go to staff to solve their problems. It is against the inmate code of honor for inmates, according to inmates that is, and furthermore, it was really bad form for him to then approach me after he had found out that he would get no help from the officer.

Stay tuned for further details.
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