Made in prison
May 16, 2013
YOU: Whaddya in for?
ME: I opted in. I pressed the button that said, “Create my account,” then I agreed to some terms I never read.
YOU: How long you in for?
YOU: When did you do it?
ME: Five years ago.
YOU: Whaddya do with your time now that you’re stuck in here?
ME: Oh … ya know … I keep hitting the refresh button on my phone, laptop and tablet. I’ve learned to juggle all three in here. What else is there to do? I’ve been quarantined from my friends and family, I have no other distractions or responsibilities. This is it, man.
YOU: What have you accomplished?
ME: Is that a trick question?
ME: It sounds like a trick question. I don’t appreciate that.
YOU: Now what are you doing?
ME: Dialing my lawyer.
YOU: Oh come off it. OK, let me rephrase that: have you made anything worthwhile? Written a book? Done some paintings? Some people become a gale force of productivity in here. Conrad Black wrote a 500-page memoir.
ME: Fuck off.
YOU: I’m just saying.
ME: I’m finding things to comment on and retweet. I’m pressing “like” a lot.
YOU: That sounds positive.
ME: Uh-huh. Actually it gets me nowhere. I hate being reactive all the time. It messes with my nervous system. I need to be pro-active to feel alive and engaged. I used to be the most disciplined and focused person I know.
YOU: Now look at you.
YOU: What do you miss about the outside world?
ME: I miss the sound of lawn mowers and the smell of fresh cut grass. I miss dangling my legs off the dock, feeling the sun burn into my skin, telling time by the sky. I miss navigating the silences in conversations with nothing but my wits and raw emotions. I miss the smell of books and sitting on the porch swing.
YOU: So write about that then.
ME: Yeah … Yeah, you’re right. But do you think people would understand it?
YOU: Hard to say.
ME: I think I need to try.