It’s an ordinary Tuesday night in prison. As I write this, I’m watching the penultimate episode of “Married At First Sight.” Jackie is with a total idiot named Ryan who may be the most annoying man I’ve ever seen on reality TV (with a voice just as grating as Ty Pennington’s). And Jonathan decided to divorce Molly, who was totally awful to him. I wish that Jackie and Jonathan could get married — I think they’d be a great match. I need to remember what someone on this blog pointed out to me once (when I was watching The Bachelor). I need to not get emotionally invested in these people, she said, because all of them are just doing it for the publicity.
I’ve been drinking a lot more coffee than usual, lately. I think it’s because I’ve recently switched to Folgers, instead of my usual 100% Colombian (aka “Yellow Bag”). Folgers may have the brand recognition and may be the best part of waking up, but Yellow Bag clearly packs more of a caffeinated punch. Lately I feel so sleepy all day long.
Monday morning, my friend Kevin and I went to our weekly group therapy session with the new clinician. I’ve been complaining that the new clinician hasn’t been very reliable — he has missed a couple sessions and shown up late to others. But yesterday he informed us that he has a 3-hour commute each morning, and that’s why he was late. He’s still trying to find housing in the local area, so for the time being he drives 200 miles each way. Suddenly I felt bad for being so critical. Clearly the guy must care a lot to drive 3 hours to work, just to help a bunch of whiny inmates with mental health problems. I am going to be more understanding going forward.
Earlier tonight I looked at some of my friends’ girly pics. They collect and trade pictures of women like they are baseball cards. You’ll often see 10 guys gathered around a table, looking through somebody’s photo album. They’re called “booty pics” or “shower girls” by most inmates. One might hear, “Yo, dawg, you got any booty pics? Hook me up with a shower girl, fool. I got lots of lopes.”
I spent a few hours today writing articles (with pen and paper) for the newspaper, then a couple hours at the school typing them into the computer and arranging the layout. I do about 98% of the work, and there are three of us. Life is so unfair. (But like usual, when I get frustrated about things like this — about the fact that I have to do the majority of the work — I just remind myself, “Steve, you have much bigger problems — you’re in prison!” Then, all of my other problems seem trivial by comparison.)
Speaking of trivial problems, tomorrow is my day to clean the cell. I always dread it, because I live with an OCD cellmate who is very particular about cleaning.
Step 1: Move the magazines, the apples, the alarm clock, the saltine cracker box, and the toilet paper off of the shelf, and temporarily store them atop of our lockers.
Step 2: Remove the chair and my cellmate’s dirty laundry and place them both in the hallway outside our door.
Step 3: Carefully move the 6 sodas that he always has carefully arranged on the floor. (He keeps them on their sides, convinced that less carbonation will exit the bottles.) There are three dark sodas (Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper) and three Ruby Red Squirts. He arranges them in an L shape, from oldest to newest. And some of the cokes he had arranged by the names on the bottle (as in, “share a coke with Jose”). If I replace the sodas in the wrong order, he always nonchalantly informs me of my error.
Step 4: Move my cellmate’s large typewriter box into the hallway, next to the chair. Move all of our shoes out into the hallway.
Step 5: Empty the plastic bags from our saltine cracker box wastebaskets, and place new bags inside (we get the bags each day with our sack lunch). Throw the old bags in the large trashcan in the dayroom.
Step 6: Get the dust mop from the janitor’s closet, and get all of the dust off our floor.
Step 7: Ask the janitor if I can borrow the spray bottle, and hope he’s in a good mood. Take the two rags from our sink, and spray the floor with the spray bottle. Get down on my hands and knees and scrub every inch of the floor with said rags. Move backwards, spray, scrub, move backwards more, spray, scrub, until the entire floor has been sanitized. (He doesn’t like me to use the mop because it is used in other cells. I cheated once and used it. Also, a few times I just used water instead of the disinfectant spray. One time when I did this, he asked me if I was still scrubbing the floor because he noticed it was really dirty still, so he re-did it when I was at work).
Step 8: Get the toilet scrubber and scrub the toilet bowl. (I always skip this step).
Step 9: Wipe down the exterior of the toilet and sink. Wipe above our coat hanger hooks. Wipe down the small desk, the windowsill, shelf, heater, and the cell door.
Step 10: Once the floor is dry, put everything back. But don’t put the magazines and saltine box back onto the shelf for an extra 10 minutes. If the paint isn’t fully dry, the magazines and saltine box can stick to it, causing damage.
Step 11: Neatly fold two new rags, and place them in the proper spots on top of the sink. (One catches the dripping water from the leaky toilet flusher button, and the other he likes me to step on when I get on my top bunk, so that my bare foot doesn’t touch the sink itself). Usually he will re-fold and re-adjust the rags when he sees the way I did them.
So, you see, it is kind of like being married, except without the benefits…
Oh, I forgot…
Step 12: Turn the fan on and stand in front of it because by this point, I’m sweating my ass off.
And I do all this between 7:15 and 7:45 AM. And tomorrow is the day. UGH! Please, no!! (Remember, Steve, you’re in prison, you have bigger problems!) Ok, thanks, I feel much better now.
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Categories: Stephen Newman