Women’s prison? Not as hot as the movies…Posted: March 30, 2011
One of the wonderful things about the (quasi) anonymity of this blog is that it affords me a chance to pontificate on some of the uglier aspects of life without fretting too much about the ensuing collateral damage. At the very least, it allows me enough space to delve into subject matter that I just can’t go into with the 420 character limit imposed by facebook for status updates. I’ve dug myself into several holes along the way with facebook comments that sacrificed context for brevity. It’s pretty embarrassing when a wisecrack misfires, feathers get ruffled, and I have to go into damage control mode. Sometimes the joke bombs because it just stinks, but I’d say a lot of complications resulted from a dearth of exposition. Anyway, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
Then there are times when I made a joke that was funny, and someone was just a ninny. Deconstructing a comment for a lummox who is simply hellbent on policing my thoughts and language because they don’t fall in perfect sync with their own is enraging. It’s a surefire way to get on my bad side permanently. And if some of those people managed to stumble across this blog and feel the creeping burn of shame whilst reading this, rest assured that I still think you’re a humorless douche. WHAT THE #$%@ HAPPENED TO YOU?! YOU USED TO BE FUN!!!
Now where was I?
Oh yes! I meant to talk about women’s prison in this entry. People who know me well are already aware that I have a sister who is currently housed in the Avoyelles Parish Women’s Correctional Center. It’s not a dirty little secret, but it’s not something I feel the need to interject into conversations unless someone asks about her. If they do ask, I don’t tap dance around her situation. Then again, people who know her well were already aware of her demons. I figured it was just a matter of time before she ended up behind bars or a body bag. All things considered, I’m thankful that the law won out. A year and a half into her incarceration, she’s sober, somewhat healthy, and finally repentant for her misdeeds. For that alone, I’m thankful. As far as the social pariah status and the challenges to her sobriety that will accompany her eventual release, we’ll cross those bridges in due time.
I had little to no contact with her while she was addicted, because she was so far gone that she could not be trusted. It’s a shame that it took lockup to finally dry her out, but here we are. She started writing me while I was in Iraq last year. That led to regular correspondence between the two of us via snail mail. Out in Iraq, it meant a letter about once or twice a month. Now that I’m an hour’s drive away, we’ll write each other at least once a week. She stayed so messed up for so long that it still surprises me to read a cogent letter from her. She’s made some significant strides. And for that I’m thankful.
She’s allowed two new books and two new CDs a month. She loves to draw, so I’ll get her a new art book every month. Her letters are always chockfull of doodles and sketches. I’m genuinely impressed with her improvement, although I’m not thrilled with her enthusiasm for giving homemade tattoos to her cellmates. Nevertheless, she might inspire me to start drawing again.
I told her to just trust my judgment when it comes to the rest of my purchases. While I’m certainly willing to encourage her artistic impulses, I’m not dropping a dime on the New Age poppycock that she requested – books about dream interpretation, astrology, alien abductions, and psychics. I’m force-feeding her a bit of culture whether she likes it or not, damn it. This month, I got her a copy of “Confederacy of Dunces” and Big Star’s first two albums. She loved them, just like I knew she would. Now we have even more stuff on which we can commiserate when I visit.
And that brings me to the topic at hand. My sister is allowed visitation every other Saturday, from 12:30 to 3:00. I haven’t missed one since coming home for good. I’m probably going to skip this weekend’s visit for a rendezvous with my latest mercurial she-devil, who looks like a cross between a younger version of Lucinda Williams and Kaitlin Olson. I hate myself for allowing her to bewitch me so, but that’s a long story to be continued later. I’m sure I’ll embarrass myself thoroughly before it’s all said and done, but what can I do?
God, I hate myself.
Now where was I?
Oh yes! Prison! Focus, focus!
I enjoy my jailhouse visits with my sister, even though they are emotionally exhausting. I can deal with that. What I have a hard time dealing with is the fact that women’s prison is decidedly unsexy. What the hell is that about? Those damn Italian exploitation movies bamboozled me! I spent 30+ years fostering a deluded fantasy that prison babes looked like this:
The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of penitentiary pets look like this.
And the ones that come up to my sister in the yard and tell her that they’d like to know me better tend to look like this.
And that is clearly unacceptable.
If Bruno Mattei wasn’t already dead, I would be on the first Italy-bound pond hopper in order to kick that spaghetti bender’s ass.
Another dream evaporated. Alas.