Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slow Children

I often stop and wonder in the middle of the shift whether I am working in a prison or a mental institution. The place is so crazy it makes me question reality at times.

Working in the Hive is stressful. Even slow nights are stressful. If you walk out into one of the wings or even outside where they think you might be listening, the inmates will start yelling questions (like the old "what time is it?" thing) or making demands for soap or toilet paper or to see the Sarge or the Warden or Howdy Doody or whoever.

They yell just to make noise and to be acknowledged by someone other than their cellie. They yell to seem tough or clever or pitiful, depending on what they think will work. They yell because it is the only tool they have available because they cannot get free from their cells.

Your average inmate in the Hive acts like a ten year old after a six pack of Jolt cola. They are loud and rude and annoying and hyperkinetic and it makes you want to slap their mothers for raising such unruly little brats.

Damn, I wish that was an option.

So to bleed off the stress we, in return, act like twelve year olds in the privacy of the office. A little more mature than the inmates, but not much, sometimes.

A string of bad puns coming from a fart joke will keep us in stitches for long minutes. And an actual fart will send us all reeling in laughter.

Someone keyed up their radio by mistake tonight and said "Aw, bullsh*t!" really loud into the mike. I thought it sounded like Miz Shortcake, but KP said she had already gone home. I laughed so hard I got the hiccups over that one. I wish it had been Miz Shortcake. I would have given her grief over that for a long time. Ah, well...

I am sure that there were points during the night if someone had installed a microphone in our office and listened to our conversations they would have come to the conclusion that we had all been down there way too long and we needed a vacation.

It's all quite therapeutic and I'm sure we go home the better for it.

But man, we do sound silly down there sometimes.

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