I was told to work in the jail kitchen this morning after breakfast. It was decent. I’d prefer to be writing. I working with my roommate Joe Ortega, Joe Leech, Matt Higgins, and a quiet funny guy named “Price”. My writing was interrupted to see some visitors (Kelly and Rene). The note to the left was help up to the screen to they would know why I was whispering into the phone. [The note says “Everyone whispers. It’s so weird. They tell me to be quiet”.] I was next to a guy who also had a visitor, and he was whispering, but I can’t wait to use my radio announcer voice once again.
The best part of working in the kitchen was being able to listen to music. We listened to an Aerosmith CD provided by Allison, one of the cooks, and chosen by Matt Higgins. I also met Scott, Don, and Butch, who are also kitchen staff (non- inmates). Scott is a jokester who working with Ian when he was at the Keene Spiritual Retreat. Scott grilled me with philosophical questions, most of them totally unoriginal and centering around roads or roving gangs that would take the place of government. Good grief. Don barely spoke and barely worked, staying inside his office, sipping coffee. Allison is a crass woman from Fitchburg, Mass.
I was called down to the kitchen to take the place of another who mumbled some groan of complaint under his breath when Don told him to go put on a hairnet. 2 officers came and put him in “bracelets” (handcuffs). I do not like this term [bracelets]. This story was later relayed to me by my roommate Joe. I worked from 8AM to 2 PM, taking a break at noon to eat lunch. It was good being able to prepare my own lunch, since I was able to pass on the ham sandwich which everyone else received in favor of a peanut butter sandwich. The choice was either meat or hydrogenation, a choice to which I would never limit myself in freedom. When I came back, I shaved and took my first shower in the facility. I had waited purposely because on Monday before coming in, I shaved my armpits and applied excessive Old Spice Deodorant, knowing that I would not have access to deodorant for at least two weeks while I waited for it to arrive with the canteen order.I think I look damn sharp today and wish I could flaunt my beauty by taking a walk or going out dancing or something. I feel like a rose under a lampshade or something. Sorry if that sounds vain, but that’s part of me.
The attitude of some of the inmates is very vexing. Most if not all – save for myself, Beau, and Josh – seem to believe they have done wrong, messed up, were bad, or something similar, even though they haven’t created a single victim. One guy, Thurston Thomas *fake name* is a tragic story. He studied in medical school for 7 years after spending 2 years with the navy. November 14, 2010 he was hit by a drunk driver and suffered brain damage as well as facial disfigurement. No longer able to complete medical school and suffering from pain, he developed an addiction to the opiate-based painkillers which he was prescribed. He became a heroin addict but was able to kick the habit in favor of a safer and cheaper drug, cough medicine.
March 2011, Thurston was drinking a beer and blacked out from less than 3 beers, even though he is a navy guy who can normally handle that. The alcohol had mixed with his anti-seizure medication. He didn’t know this would be the case because he was not a regular drinker, and the medication was new since the accident. During his blackout, he walked to a local center for mental health. Since he was wobbling and feeling friendly, he rested his hands on the shoulders of a woman standing inside. For this “horrendous crime” Thurston was arrested and charged with “simple assault”. He had court August 15, 2011 and was told that his sentence would be 1 year compliance with the terms of probation: that he visit with a probation officer once a week, and that his home was subject to search. On December 2011, Thurston stole a $2.97 bottle of cough syrup from a local pharmacy. Being a warm hearted and honest guy, he told his probation officer what he had done, even though he didn’t have to. The probation officer thanked Thurston for his honesty and told him that he should appear in court to pay restitution to the drug store. He did. The judged released him on $2000 P.R. and 1 year good behavior. On March 15, 2012, he drank one beer; it mixed poorly with his anti-seizure medication, and was awaken by the police on the floor of a Burger King bathroom.
Today was especially eventful. It was my first time in the kitchen, I was outside for about2 minutes while I took out the trash from the kitchen. Commissary arrived so now I have stamps, envelopes, pens (whoo!), playing cards, deodorant, and some floss. I’m happy with my decision not to buy snacks since I know I would be tempted to eat my boredom away. All things considered, I feel like I am beginning to settle in and adjust and have a rhythm, somewhat. I was visited by Kelly Voluntaryist and Renee, which was a joy. I’m looking forwards to having fun with those ladies when I am free(er).
I was surprised to learn today that the penalty for saying “No Thank you” when called for kitchen duty is 3 days in segregation, which is 23 hour “lock down” with one hour per day to do things like shower and make phone calls. I was surprised to also learn today that it is apparently, according to one guard, the policy of the jail that inmates serving time in place of fines must be in segregation. That means that even though it is apparently acceptable to serve 5-8 charges for crimes against the state concurrently, serving time for the violation – level offense of the town ordinance against “refusing to be processed” – must be served separately and in a torture chamber. Wow! I’ll check the inmate handbook as well as write to Mr. Van Wickler to confirm this is the case.