PRISON BLOG 9
Missing You Already
After only a month it has become clear (at least at this stage) what my preferences are and aren’t in life. Some things you can do with and others without; being restricted in prison the priorities are coming into focus.
THINGS I’M MISSING
Women: Ones in Corrections Department uniform don’t count (no offence). How they look, how they smell, how they laugh, how they dress…
E-mail: Perhaps a better invention than even the telephone.
Telephone: I can make calls – but the fucks at Telecom get $1.80 per minute. Being able to call anyone at anytime and (with e-mail) solve problems involving many people and documents within hours is sorely missed. Trying to do anything purely through letters is absurd.
Computer: Being able to make text documents and the editing process is just incomparable to the laborious hand written, mistake-ridden drafts of correspondence on paper.
Internet: Isn’t it a human right protected by the U.N. yet? Not surprising that not having almost the entire knowledge of human civilization instantly available at your fingertips is a tad annoying.
The Wireless: I’m not talking about the one Kinch has concealed in the teapot – I mean Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme, Parliamentary Question Time (esp. when I find out later the questions are about me!), the jazz programmes on Sunday, BBC world service and yes, even Jim Mora’s show (esp. the panel – and yes, even when Mr. Bradbury is on).
The art of conversation: That is to say I’d settle for semi-decent quasi-intellectual discussion on any topic that doesn’t abruptly conclude with someone expressing an intention to assault, kill, rape, steal or destroy.
A View: How did Hannibal Lecter put it again? “I want a room with a view of the sea…” Where I lived I would walk into town (the CBD) at least three times a week across a bridge that commanded views of the sparkling Waitemata Harbour – and down to my flat views of the Waitakere Ranges and the rest was a Peter Sidell painting – now it’s the tops of some barren hills.
Coffee: Proper coffee. Nescafe isn’t proper coffee. I mean plunger coffee or café coffee. And to think I used to sigh when ordering a flat white or a latte like it was a chore! Oh to be inflicted with such a chore now!
Earl Grey Tea
Dessert: Any dessert. We get a small, cold apple pie on Sundays and that’s as close to it as it gets.
Sleeping in: Can’t really do that – having to be at breakfast at 8am on weekends is now considered “sleeping in”.
Staying up late: Primarily to read and write. Can’t really do that when you’re awoken at 6am for breakfast at 7am on weekdays. I don’t know what the point of waking people up at 6am is considering 90% of us don’t have anything to do. And when they give you dinner at 4.30pm it’s difficult to stay awake – a pity since I’m not in a writing mood usually until almost midnight normally.
A normal dinner: Cooked by or for the flatmates at a civilized hour of 10pm-midnight.
Drinking and watching Rugby
THINGS I’M NOT MISSING
Primetime television….at least not yet
Junk mail/NZ Herald/Talkback Radio
Sound of traffic: esp. rush hour and the tension.
Errands: To the bank, the post office, any office, the supermarket, the shops…
Sound of yapping, barking dogs
Alcohol…not really. Felt like a beer the other day in the sun, and if I were able to watch the rugby I’d probably want one then too.
Cannibas…not really. Not exactly the best environment to enjoy that drug.
Money: The only actual money I’ve seen was during a visit when coins were used for the vending machine (only takes the old coins!). Prison is a cashless society. Sure, things are measured in dollars and cents but you never get to see it. Like Star Trek(?).
”Dealing” with people over the phone: Yes, telephones are handy, but so many calls are unnecessary including surveys, recorded ads, “charity” etc.
Pop-ins and awkward social engagements: These still happen here of course – people wanting to borrow things, screws calling you out etc. But the amount of preparation time, the average person puts in to things that they don’t want to do in the first place is quite staggering on reflection.