Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

TV Lesson Applied

In a previous post, I commented on how TV room disputes were not going to bother me. Well I got another opportunity on Saturday to apply my new lesson.

Except during visiting hours, inmates use the Visiting Room (VR) as a large TV room and dining hall. It has 5 TVs, many tables and chairs, bathrooms, vending machines and microwaves.

On Saturday evenings after the 4p count, the VR is particularly popular. Inmates bring food ingredients purchased from the commissary and prepare elaborate meals. It is a type of prison tailgate party with different groups pushing together tables and having a communal feast.

At 6p on Saturday and Sunday, they reshow the movie that was shown at the base theatre the night before.

Saturday afternoon I was watching the 3rd round of the Masters golf tournament. I had picked a table and chair near the front and had probably been watching for a good hour when a guy walked up, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, "That's my chair."

Huh? These tables and chairs get moved around repeatedly during the course of the week and especially during Saturday visitation. There is no fixed configuration. How could this guy possibly know that I was in his chair?

Nonetheless, having learned my lesson, I got up, brushed off his chair, gave him a shoulder and foot massage, shined his shoes, and thanked him for the privilege of getting to warm his seat for him!

... Actually I just relinquished the chair, but I thought about doing the rest :).

1 comment:

Paul Eilers said...

That reminds me of the line from the movie, Animal House - "Do you mind if we dance with your dates?"

And of course, the college kids didn't mind!


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