23 June, 2015

Toilet Paper Tuesday

Without fail, an inmate worker slings two small bars of white unscented soap through the two-inch gap under my cell door every Tuesday. Our weekly allotment. My cellmate and I only use it for washing our hands, yielding as it does unsatisfactory results in the shower. Dial, it ain’t. But we do use it, contrary to what the stack of extra bars implies. Nuisance contraband is what the guards call our excess. They take the little tower in their monthly search; we begin rebuilding it the following Tuesday.

It seems silly that we can’t just decline to take the unneeded bars, opting out of the give-and-take cycle, but I suppose they need to report on their cell search forms that they confiscated something. It’d be nice if the guards also had to write one positive thing about each cell they were in. Balance might improve prisoner-staff relations. 5D172: confiscated 2 bottles ink, latex gloves, 1 tattoo gun; noticed cell smells good. Or 6A212: removed 5 bars soap; footlockers very tidy. Admittedly, there are probably many cells you’d be hard pressed to say anything complimentary about.

After the soap is flung in, the toilet paper comes. I’ve carped about the toilet paper situation in prison before and won’t flog that particular dead horse any more.

The prisoner who drops our rolls outside the door is an acquaintance, a clean-cut kid who can often be spotted doing yoga on a grassy area of the yard. Where for the rest of the wing he stays hunched over the big cardboard box he nudges along the walk, when he reaches my door he rises up, smiles toothily through the window, and waves. It’s an all right way to initialize my civility subroutines. I’m usually part-way into my second cup of coffee by this point, finally ready to peek out and acknowledge a reality beyond my skull stuffings.

Hello, fellow human, I wave back. My acquaintance drops out of sight and pushes on. Then the door’s opened long enough for me to bring our rolls inside. And that’s all the excitement Tuesday morning has to offer.

1 comment:

Lacking computer access of any kind, Byron cannot respond to your comments but is relayed them and appreciates your kind remarks.