This is not normal. It really is not.

October 15, 2009 | Thursday

IT’S ON PARTICULAR days that I stop to consider the daily nuisances about the day around me as I am doing right now. Sitting on this steel bunk, I could hear the squeaking wheels of the clean clothes cart (well, the clean part s not so true) that was pushed into the cellblock with an eagle-eyed officer in tow. Walking up to each cell door, the officer asks if you need an exchange. Only socks, boxers, jumpsuits and towels are exchanged. However, you’re better off washing your own clothes, even if it is a chore. The reward is knowing that your clothes are indeed cleaned and, besides, personal socks, boxers, T-shirts and gym shorts must be wasted in the sink regardless. The officer went down the line to each cell, asking. I watched him as he went up the stairs to ask men in the seven cells above me on the second tier and then walk back down, escorting the three general-population inmates who pushed the clothes carts off into the next section. I could still hear the squeaking wheels.

It is lunchtime now, and as I look down the walkway I can see the officers who are feeding us lunch on plastic trays, as has been the case for so many years. One officer is holding two pitchers of juice and the other is toting around the tray carrier and metal slot bar used to open the slot on the cell door through which we are handed our tray and served juice. And now two officers have come on the section to escort somebody (a Death Row prisoner) to a scheduled visit with family or a friend who cares about him.

I have just been advised by an officer that my hour of recreation is scheduled and will be coming up soon. I should get ready.

Somehow, we get used to these daily nuisances as one day rolls into the next and it becomes normal to us. This is not normal. It really is not, but I’ve survived it for almost two decades now. I often wonder how, myself, and perhaps it can be summed up in one word: headstrong? Maybe.

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One Response to “This is not normal. It really is not.”

  1. Barbro Linde Says:

    Hello Rogelio! Some time since I visited your site. It ´s so very,good reading although one get´s throath choking, and tears falling now and then. That cannot be helped, you tell of life, the way you meet it, and it is hard facts, so often, but I liked the the quote you ended one blog with, it was your cousin I believe who wrote: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising everytime we fall” that is very profound, and I will pass it on to children,grandchildren and friends, if I may.
    You also wrote about keeping sanity- in many ways your thoughts remind me of Buddha´s teachings, which I have been studying for 15 years, and which help keep MY sanity. I pray for your, and so many others release. Please, continue your strifing towards light. Barbro

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