A Day in the Life

What does a normal day look like for me?

Well… it’s really boring. As seeing it is the Inferno which gets top billing and Paradise which is generally ignored, I’ll tell you specifically about last Tuesday. This is pretty much as bad as a single day in prison can be without ending up either in the hospital or the hole.

So I wake up at 6:45 AM and discover I’ve developed a head cold. Usually I get sick once a year; however, ever since I’ve come to Monroe I’ve been averaging three head colds, coughs, or similar a year.

I brush my teeth, take my HRT, chug 20 ounces of water and use the restroom, the same as every other morning, then spend 3-4 minutes emptying my sinuses of slime. 7:00 AM is pill line. So I’m standing there waiting, sipping a cup of hot water because I can’t afford to drink tea every morning, and the person in front of me in line has a grand mal seizure. Luckily, they got him to medical’s trauma room quickly and the rest of us in line were sent back to the unit.

Once back on the unit, I wandered downstairs to check the JPay machine. I had gotten a response to my fifth request for them to take my money and give me a new player. Their answer was “download this patch to your player and that should fix it.” My player is currently a fancy, overpriced paper weight; I can’t even turn it on, let alone download a patch. I write my sixth message asking to be able to buy a new one and went back to my cell to meditate and take a nap.

8:00 AM – pill line, take two. I was able to pick up my morning Ensure without incident. 350 extra calories, check. I then ate my first PB&J of the day and went to “work.” I don’t actually have a job, but I’ve been getting my “do-gooder” on for the UBB and indexing their library to make finding and checking out books easier for students.

10:30 AM – return to unit for count. Eat a PB&J with a muffin. Curse the prodigious amount of snot being manufactured by my nose. Nap.

11:45 AM – Lunch. We call it “brakepad,” as in the brake of a care. It’s shaped like its namesake and made from textured vegetable protein (read: soy). The only thing I’ve been fed on a regular basis which was objectively and objectionably worse is nutraloaf. If you google it, keep a barf bag handy. It’s that bad.

Also, only given ten minutes to eat, so very little time to talk, just walk in, shovel food, walk out.

11:55 AM – while returning to the unit, there’s a code, meaning there is some sort of “emergency” that the c/o’s have to deal with. These emergencies range from someone having a medical issue like I mentioned earlier to a fight or a fire. However, most often it is somebody sat in their chair wrong and triggered the accelerator built into their radio to send an automated distress signal. These are officially known as “body alarms” but everyone calls them a waste of time and money.

Well, when the code happens, I happen to be in the dayroom. So I walk to a table by the wall and sit down. When the code clears, the c/o calls me over and yells at me for not sitting at a table by the wall rather than the table nearest to me when the code was called. The simple read of this is that he is petty; the reality is that he is transphobic. He can’t get away with saying or doing the discriminatory things he wants to, so instead I get yelled at for petty things.

12:45 PM – go out to yard to talk with my fellow nerds and get some fresh air. Yes, there are nerds in prison; we even D&D on occasion.

1:15 PM – get shat on by a duck. I think she may have been a Marine sniper or something in a former life because she got me center of mass. Even worse, because people here feed the birds the oat bars from the breakfast boats, the duck’s poo was a weird dark purple color on my white t-shirt. However, luckily…

1:20 PM – movement back to the unit to change clothes.

1:30 PM – back out to yard.

3:30 PM – return to cell for count. Third PB&J of day and packet of dry CI brand cherries for a snack, drain my 20 ounce cup for the fifth time that day and work on homework. Empty nostrils.

4:45 PM – dinner. Gravy-like substance with mashed potatoes. Also, learned that a dear friend of mine was on the hospital floor with a brain tumor.

5:00 PM – return to cell. Cry. Read book. Blow nose.

5:50 PM – go to class. H.E.A.L. is usually the highlight of my week; however, due to half the people in the room being worried about our friend in the hospital and the other half not quite being sure how to deal with us, it was a rare occasion of a poor meeting. We processed a lot of feelings and discussed some issues, but resolving any of that had to wait for the following week because we weren’t emotionally there yet.

8:30 PM – return to cell for the night. Eat fourth and fifth PB&J for the night. Read, do homework, drain 20 ounce mug of water a couple more times, get ready for bed read more, sneeze up a lung, then…

Sometime between 11:30 PM and 1:00 AM – sleep.

And that’s my life. It’s usually a bit better, though occasionally a little worse, but overall kinda garbage.

In this case, I think the moral is don’t come to prison or else you’ll get shat on by a duck while nursing a head cold.


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