Prison Pete

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
We interrupt this poor Pete rant to provide some empathic (hmm not in typewriter spell checker) Curious, "EMPATHY" is not in the spell checker either. Great, just what I need. Even my typewriter has no empathy.

If you are reading this on the blog, some of what I am now typing may be posted, if not, just hang on for a few minutes and I am sure I will give up being an empathic person and end up typing more “woe is me” stuff which will certainly end up on the blog.

You have not had a bath in ten years? But you have experienced the pleasurable sensation of being immersed in a body of water at the swimming pool or beach. I think it was just this past week that a man freed from prison after ten plus years thanks to DNA said that one of the things he was looking forward to was a bath.

Your water woes remind me of one time when one of the kids decided to be helpful and ran the dishwasher for us. The only problem was he used the regular (and very sudsy) dishwashing soap. We came home to find six plus inches of soap foam covering the entire kitchen floor.

I am still not getting out to do my walking on the track and am afraid that my weight is going to continue creeping up. Last check it was around 214.

I wonder how much birth order affects ones personality. In our house, my younger brother was certainly more athletic, and while I was certainly no honor student, that was due more to my lack of attending classes in the 7th - 12th grades, and not applying my talents in the structured environment of the school. As my headmaster said when I graduated, "Pete, there was not one 2x4 that came into the school that you were not on one end of and sometimes by God, you were on both ends.”

The Yankees might be adding a bit to your misery. Around here it is all about the basketball playoffs. Since I do not watch the television that much anyway, post season action in any sport is something I read about after the fact in the New York Times.
Monday, May 28, 2007
  Time may fly
when you are having fun, but I am not sure what the delay is in responding to your latest letter. It is most definitely not fun here, and I am not having any either. Any what you ask? Fun.

I suppose part of the delay is in the knowing that you do not write quite as often. That is certainly not a complaint, I am thankful for your continued friendship.

I am working on not thinking everything must move at the speed of light. In my last letter I mentioned wanting more mail. One reason receiving letters from the outside is valued is that in a place where an individual’s worth is not given much, if any, support, letters prove in a very concrete way that we inmates have some worth.

Living in a closed environment, it is also very difficult to rise above the day-to-day sameness. In this I am speaking of the limited subjects one has to talk about. Further, since honesty is not something that exists in this environment, having any type of meaningful relationship with other inmates is next to impossible.

For example, the inmate next to me gets some fresh food when his wife comes to visit him each month. Last month he shared several meals with me. I provided most of the ingredients to make up a meal (pasta, onions, peppers, mushrooms, diced tomatoes) and he would add either a Tyson baked chicken or a couple of packs of imitation crab legs.

Now he is friendlier with another inmate, and all of a sudden I am no longer in the loop for community meals. I am not complaining about being left out; I have so little time to cook as it is. But had I invested too much of my self in the friendship, I would now feel bad about being dumped.

One way to protect yourself is to not share too much of your personal feelings with any other inmate (or staff). But think about this for one. How many times during an average day do you interact with another human being that on some level cares about you as a person?

It was with this in mind that I put out the request for person to correspond with. As with some of the other questions I have posted to the blog, I am seeking assistance with things I can not provide for myself. As the song says, "We all need somebody to lean on."

As far as the reason the blog does not list my real name, the main reason for this is to provide a thin screen of anonymity. While I have not posted too many stories of my day-to-day experiences, if you read some of the older posts from my time at Club Fed, know that those posts did become directly connected to me and there was certainly some retaliation brought down on my head.

While my editor has provided my name and address on request so I am not entirely anonymous, the search engines do not directly link this blog to any real person. Does that make some sense?

By the way, while I would certainly never continue to write to someone if they asked me to stop writing, any person that receives mail from a prisoner only has to write a letter to the officials at the prison and any attempt by the prisoner to send out a letter would result in disciplinary action. Something I should point out I have managed to avoid throughout my ten plus years of confinement in various government-funded gated communities.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
  He's Back.
Away is nice, and I do not have a home to come home to, but alas here is as close as I get to a home.

If it got posted, you all know by now that I had my nose fixed this past Wednesday. Today it is Monday. My nose is still all packed. I cannot breathe through it at all and as a result have absolutely no sense of smell or taste. Two senses down. My eyesight is some-what problematic with the broken frames and a nose that is covered with a plaster bandage that makes it difficult to get my glasses to stay in the correct place.

The surgery took over three hours on Wednesday afternoon. When I awoke in the recovery area there was some difficulty with stopping the blood from flowing out of my nose. As far as I understand, all the work was done on the inside of my nose with the exception of the hammering that was done to break the various bones that were then reset to allow both sides of my nose to have equal access to outside air.

While one of the surgeons shoved additional packing inside my nose, without the aid of any anesthesia, think feeling of steel wool shoved up a very sore nose, one of the officers that was guarding me managed to get me a room in the hospital prison wing over night. The original plan called for me to be handcuffed and shackled and driven about two hours to a different (than my current location) secure location facility that has an infirmary.

The hospital wing I stayed in is specifically a prison wing. I was able to be in a private room without any handcuffs or ankle chains. I was in no condition to go out and party and sleeping was difficult, I sat up in the bed most of the night and was able to watch a bunch of TV shows. As a sort of rebellion to my normal surroundings, I watched a couple reruns of the Will and Grace Show. Something that would certainly not be kosher back here in my secure location. Anything relating to male homosexuality is strictly off limits.

One or two of the nurses said how awful I looked and it must hurt a bunch. I thanked them for the TLC and they mentioned I should enjoy it as they were sure I would not be getting much of it. I had not seen the way I looked at this point but the pain was a constant aching and an itch that one could not scratch. Thursday morning I was told I was going to be moved to the prison with the infirmary. One nurse said she wished I could stay as I was the easiest patient to deal with. That was mostly a result of me not asking for anything all night and putting up with the pain.

I am now starting page two and in an effort to start with a clean slate I am going back to the original method of typing this as a draft and will then proof and print a final copy.

After putting my official prison clothes back on (I had spent the previous twenty four hours in my BVD's (yes Mom they were clean ones) and a hospital gown) having the four pounds of anti-escape hardware properly secured to my person it was off in a well secured van for the two hour trip to the prison infirmary. On arrival at the infirmary, I was issued a pair of pajama pants and shirt. All my official prison clothes were packed away till I was due to leave. The infirmary has room for over twenty inmates, but there were only six inmates there while I was there from Thursday afternoon till Monday morning. Two on the six inmates were confined to their individual rooms. One of the remaining four had his own room, leaving me and two other inmates to share one of the four bed rooms.

One of the unique features of this location is the "Tub Room". Yes, a room that contained both a double wide shower and one full size bathtub. Being one to make the best use of the resources at my disposal, I celebrated Saturday with my first and only bath in over ten years. Since there were so few inmates, and my privacy was fairly well assured, not only was I able to soak my pain wracked body in a nice hot bath but I was able to do so in my birthday suit.

All that was missing was the candles and a member of the opposite sex to wash my back. Otherwise it was a very relaxing hour or so.

The change from living in a dorm with 59 other inmates to sharing a room with two other grown men was too much to bear. I could have probably extended my stay for another day or so as I am due to have some (all?) of the packing out any day now, but I sort of begged to return here today. Part of the urge to return was the fear that they might end up reassigning my bed space, and frankly, I was getting too comfortable being able to just lie around and rest and read all day.

While I can not really taste much of anything, I needed to get back to my self provided high protein diet. I had eaten "prison food" meals from Thursday evening through Monday morning and that was more meals than I had had in the last six months total. I did have two hospital meals. Thursday's breakfast, which was really a break of the fast I had been on since Tuesday 10:00 PM, contained three pancakes, a tasty blueberry muffin (okay it looked tasty, I could not taste anything) and a Dannon fruit yogurt (an item I have not had in over ten years). Lunch was a plate of spaghetti in meat sauce.

I was without most of my personal property, save some deodorant, my tooth brush, hair brush and personal all cotton underwear, I have celebrated my return by typing this post, listing to the Monday Night Sock Hop on the one radio station that I get and enjoying a few cups of tea. Lunch was two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and dinner was tuna salad on toast with two slices of American cheese on each of the two sandwiches.

I spent a few hours this afternoon back at my maintenance job even though I am entitled to more bed rest if I want it.

Most of the inmates in the dorm welcomed me back and offered their sympathy for my pain. One hopes no wannabe thugs will take my current condition and decide to attack me while I sleep.

As a result of the second fire in a cube we had two weeks ago, I have been assured that one or two of the inmates that were caught up in the investigation (and have been removed from the facility) were the same ones that had instigated the sneak attack on me while I slept. For the short term I feel slightly safer.

It is almost 9:00 so let me wrap this up. I am going to work diligently at getting my posting more regular and as a much needed assist to my favorite editor doing more draft, proof and then print. I heard pigs might fly soon. Seriously, I know my writing has been lacking in substance of late and hopefully you faithful readers out there will notice an improvement in the near future.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
One interesting item. I was called down to the Sergeant's office last night. This was announced to the entire dorm. "Pete, report to the Sergeant's office. ILC Business." Usually there are only two reasons one goes to the sergeant's office. One because you are getting a hearing for a violation of the rules or you are going to rat out another inmate.

Since everyone knows when you get a ticket, and I certainly did not get one, that left it looking like I was being asked to rat. That is what indeed was being asked, but at least they used the ILC as a cover.

When I arrived at the Sergeant's office I talk with the sergeant that is responsible for the ILC but in this case was working on the arson investigation. He told me he knew I knew how the correction game was played but wanted to seek my input to be sure they had all the guilty parties and no innocent victims were being caught up in the wide net they had cast.

As a self protection mechanism, I purposely do not get involved in any of the dorm gossip, so I know next to nothing about who is doing what. I only know on at least two occasions I was on the receiving end of a thumping, but I did not know at either time who did it. It was only after two of the inmates got packed up that two different inmates told me that one of the individuals shipped out was the one who recently thumped me.

After confirming that one piece of information, the sergeant did mention that he thought I should stay on the ILC for another six month term and that he thought I would make a good chairman. The irony of this compliment was that when I first "volunteered" to be on the committee, this same sergeant tried to have me excluded. But having spent the last six months dealing with a really obnoxious chairman, all of a sudden I look good. Ha.

While I will still need to first be voted on by my dorm and then convince the other ten to fourteen inmates to let me be the chairman, it is by no means a shoe-in. But I will probably give it a try.

So that is my life for now. I will pen another opus to you upon my return for this taxpayer financed nose job.

[Editor] I have no idea what "ILC" stands for and Pete did not elaborate. Does anyone know?
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
  New Nose.
By the time you read this I will have a new nose. Not really all that new perhaps, but certainly improved on the inside as far as the deviated septum is concerned.

If things flow as they did back in October, I will be spending one or more nights at another prison near the medical center. Hopefully I will be back here by Friday, and not get stuck over the weekend without any of my usual creature comforts.

I am not supposed to have anything to eat or drink after midmight tonight. Since today was my usual commissary day, I have already had my pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream, tuna with pasta and will probably have a Hershey's bar around 11 PM.

The ironic thing is that with the Retreat that we just had this weekend, I ended up eating six prison meals in a row. With the exception of the chicken legs we had on Easter eve, that is probably the only chow hall food I have had since before Christmas. Now I will be "forced" to endure more prison food while I sit waiting to be transferred back here.

Another one of the things about the recent Retreat weekend was listening to the various life stories of the outside volunteers and how they have been able to take some very adverse life situations and end up being in a place where they are able to enjoy life. I will write more about this once I get back.
Monday, May 07, 2007
  Sewer Snakes and Snitches.
Your letter contains enough mayhem for several months, let alone just the week or so you lived through.

Around here when we have a sewer line backup guess who gets to go fishing? Yep, you guessed it. The inmates. We have our own massive snake machine and I am not sure if I mentioned it, but last month it was my own dorm that had the clogged line.

In our case the water comes out through the shower drains. And it is not at all just shower water. This particular clog was caused by a large pair of boxer shorts that made it all the way to the main trap at the edge of the building. Since the snake does not go through the traps, the only way to clear the clog was to open a couple of covers that led straight down to each side of the trap.

A couple of my fellow inmates had spent the better part of an hour snaking over fifty feet of heavy duty snake along all the interior pipes only to come up empty. I figured out how to get to the trap and had the line flowing in minutes and was the proud owner of one very skuzzy pair of boxers that some moron had flushed down the toilet.

They have rounded up three inmates from our dorm and have been able to apparently build enough of a case that the three inmates will be facing some substantial additional time. They are being charged with arson and sixty counts of endangering all the inmates in the dorm. I noted there was a blurb about a lock-down at the Fed joint in Ray Brook. I wonder if this case will make any blip on the new front.

One of my neighbors mentioned that one of the inmates that they caught was also the one the had attacked me while I slept a couple weeks back It is strange how the idea about not snitching that has been in the news the last few days, is so strong in the prison system.

Except in this case, there was one inmate that they managed to get some key information from and then it appears they were able to get the ringleader so to speak. I guess since they did not get into any trouble for attacking me, they felt somewhat invincible. This apparently caused them to take it to a higher level and at that point they got caught.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
  Keyboard Manual.
I want to thank you for sending the copy of the Yamaha PSR-E403 keyboard manual. It arrived yesterday, and your letter arrived today! You are correct about needing the magnifying glass to read the manual! But it was very helpful in terms of learning about the features available.

It is odd that while it does allow for six different tracks per song, it still only has room for five songs. While I suppose I could use two tracks and end up having two different songs stored, it is assumed that one has access to a computer and thus can save songs to a hard disk.

It does have a few added features over my current keyboard but I will probably stick to the one I have for a while longer.
Friday, May 04, 2007
  Okay, I know this letter
is not much on the personal side. I have not received any mail in three weeks.

In addition to finally doing the FAQ, I think I will write an honest post on soul mate wanted.

I am thinking that at the least I need to spend some more quality time with my typewriter, and perhaps I can finally abandon some things that are just not going to happen under my current situation.

Hope you are doing well and I promise to get another letter out this next week to get our conversation moving in a forward direction again.

Hopefully you did not fare too badly with the storm last week. Since we are in the valley, we only got a dusting of snow but some of the employees lost power and had two feet of wet snow to deal with.

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