Prison Pete

Thursday, May 25, 2006
  If I Stay?
Tomorrow I start my new schedule. The justification for not scheduling any work in the morning hours was that I would get myself up and go to the recreation yard and do some power walking.

In the interest of full disclosure, in the last four weeks I only made it to the yard twice. In fact over the last week instead of remaining awake and in the upright position, I was becoming a horizontal form of myself, covering myself in my state-issued coat (being under the blankets is not allowed during the day) and falling back to sleep till noon!

I have been sliding slowly into an abyss of non-engagement, and even requested an appointment with the mental health people here to get a check-up under the hood.

By Thursday, I knew I had to do something, and I volunteered to become the facility carpenter. This position recently became available because the inmate that was doing the job was transferred to another location.

Starting tomorrow I will be working in the maintenance department during the morning and afternoon hours. I figured since I was not out in the morning getting the exercise I told myself I needed, I might as well force myself to get out of bed in the mornings. At least now I will have to deal with the world in a vertical position five mornings a week.

The good part about this job is that there appeared to be no other inmate that wanted the job so I will be working mostly by myself. On Friday I fixed a desk drawer that had fallen apart. They have plenty of cheap particle board desks in the hallways around the prison. They are used as work stations for the correction officers. They are not treated with the utmost of care and the desks are frequently in various stages of disrepair.

If you have ever tried to repair these low cost desks, you know that once the particle board begins to disintegrate it becomes impossible to simply glue the pieces back together. I used some angle brackets and the drawer was better than new. I brought it back over to its home and discovered that the desk itself was broken. The reason the drawer broke in the first place was that the space where the drawer went was spread apart and the drawer no longer fit properly. After lunch I added some new angle brackets and now both the desk and drawer are functioning as originally designed.

I fixed it all by myself. Certainly not all that big a deal under normal circumstances, but alas I do not exist in normal circumstances. Fixing some physical property also did some badly needed repairing of my own self worth. Yes, prison the place where to take care of your whole self, you need to be creative.
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