23 January, 2013

Anatomy of a Bad Day

2:31 AM — Awaken to a guard’s shouted announcement of a standing-only head count.

3:?? AM — Fall back asleep.

6:12 AM — Awaken to breakfastgoers’ steel doors slamming.

6:?? AM — Fall back asleep.

7:25 AM — Awaken to my alarm clock. Stretch, cracking and popping self into shape.

7:32 AM — Penultimate high point of the day: coffee with Amanda Palmer (on headphones).

7:56 AM — Stand for second-shift guards’ monthly random standing-only head count.

7:57 AM — Change CD to Rasputina’s Cabin Fever and plan productive day.

8:39 AM — Lockdown lifted. Pinch finger in door upon exiting cell: instant bruise.

8:52 AM — Cellmate leaves for work. Perform morning toilet.

9:14 AM — High point of the day: phone call to Mum.

10:27 AM — Hand-wash laundry.

10:33 AM — Find guards searching my cell. Walk circles in wing to pass time.

11:00 AM — Lockdown announced for head count. Guards emerge from cell.

11:01 AM — Restore order to cell. Confiscated rags delay cleaning of spills.

11:48 AM — Ready workspace for continuation of new writing project.

11:58 AM — Lockdown lifted. Lunchtime announced over loudspeaker.

12:01 PM — Eat lunch: tuna salad sandwich, gluey macaroni and cheese, stewed tomatoes, cole slaw, banana.

12:28 PM — Return to cell, ready for work. Cellmate back early to claim his confiscation notice for excess family photos and to restore order to his footlocker. Writing delayed.

12:33 PM — Coffee. Walk circles in wing to pass time while cellmate organizes.  

1:43 PM — Cellmate returns to his job. Resume work on new writing project.  

2:36 PM — Bout of writer’s block. Stare at half-typed page.  

2:59 PM — Cellmate returns from work. Leave cell to afford him space. Talk with former cellmate Zach.

4:00 PM — Lockdown announced for head count. Jeopardy! interrupted by severe weather alert.

4:19 PM — Read uninteresting article in the New Yorker about “rewilding.”  

4:37 PM — Mail call: subscription offer, notice of Wired confiscation for “free stickers and violence.”

4:58 PM — Lockdown lifted. Leave cell so cellmate can perform prayer ritual. Walk circles.

5:36 PM — Old cartilage injury begins hurting. Nowhere to sit; locked out of “sacred space.”

6:07 PM — Dinner belatedly announced over loudspeaker.

6:09 PM — Eat dinner: processed turkey sandwich, instant potatoes and gravy, leftover mixed vegetables, brownie.

6:28 PM — Return to housing unit with rock salt in shoe.

6:31 PM — Take tentative shower under scalding water. Get heat headache.

6:47 PM — Clean T-shirt falls in puddle of brackish multi-shower runoff.

6:48 PM — Return to cell. Dress. Accidentally drop one of last two aspirin into toilet.

6:53 PM — Read disappointing article with typos, in the Writers Chronicle, on the craft of memoir.

7:29 PM — Leave cell to avoid nodding off to sleep. Immediately accosted by talkative know-nothing.

8:13 PM — Retreat to cell without causing chatterbox undue offense.

8:14 PM — Evicted from cell due to cellmate’s erratic digestive processes. Walk circles.

8:20 PM — Again set upon by motormouthed goon. Knee pain still unabated.

8:52 PM — Zach emerges from his cell to affect a rescue: “Gotta talk to you about …” nothing important.

9:01 PM — Zach and I avail ourselves of one open table in the wing, compare shitty days.

9:38 PM — Lockdown for head count announced early. Local TV news is especially inane.

10:08 PM — Stand for nightly standing-only head count. Perform evening toilet.

10:16 PM — To bed, exhausted.

10:?? PM — Fall asleep amid cellmate’s typical late-night channel-surfing.

11:17 PM — Awaken to crinkling of chip bag and cellmate’s crunching and lip-smacking.

11:?? PM — Fall back asleep.

11:58 PM — Awaken to knock on bunk beneath me: cellmate’s accidental head-bump during elaborate bed turndown process.

??:?? ?? — Fall back asleep. Final conscious thought: What a waste.

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