The Dog Days of May

Posted: June 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Jackson

Correctional Institution (JCI), a facility of the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  We are in the middle of an intense heat wave, made even stranger that we are toward the end of May.  Mid nineties are an unusual occurrence this time of year.  We don’t have any kind of air conditioning here.  Yesterday I made the mistake of leaving the window of my cell open and the resulting humidity made the night quite uncomfortable. Today I noticed other inmates putting towels up on the bars of the cell window, I’m sure to block out the sun.  Technically, this is a rule violation but nobody cared.  At about 10 am the prison announced a heat advisory, cancelling outside rec and advising everyone to drink water.  I have my temperature taken everyday because my white count is low due to chemo and when I approached the officer’s station there were 5 or 6 present, an unusually high number.  Once the door to the officer’s station opened, it was clear why, as an icy cold blast of air hit me.  Let’s just hope this isn’t the sign of what the whole summer will be like.  The longer the window stayed shut in my cell and my fan stayed on, which I’m now so glad I ordered, the more tolerable my cell became.  You know it’s hot when the concrete floor in your cell is sweating!

Perhaps the heat is making me crabby.  I don’t know.  A while back a sponsor provided me a subscription to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which I’ve been so grateful for.  If you remember Freddy, we’d become friends.  He wanted to share my newspaper with him which I did.  I also shared it with another guy in a nearby cell and asked them to pass it between each other.  Even when I got word Freddy was giving it to others, I hadn’t really given it another thought.  But then Freddy started coming to me, yelling at me that the other guy wasn’t giving him the paper in a timely manner, or in a satisfactory fashion.  I got a sense from Freddy he felt entitled to the paper which really bugged me.  So, I decided to give it to this other person and asked them to throw it away when they were done.  I know Freddy would be unhappy but that would put an end to his attitude.  Well, I was wrong. Others told me that either Freddy or this other person had made arrangements to sell various pieces of the newspaper to other inmates.  This of course made me angry.  I didn’t feel it was right that something I or others got for free to turn around and sell.  So, just to find out if it was true, I asked this other person to return the paper to me. when they were done. They reluctantly agreed.   When they did, the sections of that were being sold were missing.  So, I’ve decided to just rip it up and throw it away when I’m done.  People are going to be unhappy here but I just don’t want to deal with this anymore.  Funny thing is if these people were honest with me, I’d have been much easier to deal with.  I’m in prison though where lying is a way of life for many.  It’s just not that surprising.  It’s a bit of a reality check for me.

Sorry this entry isn’t insightful, meaningful (at least to me) one you might be used to.  Not every day is going to be like that.  But neither is life out there either.  We just do the best we can every day with what we’ve got.  As long as I do that, it’s going to be ok.

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