Friday, September 16, 2011

You Gotta Be Adaptable

There are some hard lessons to be learned in prison. On both sides of the cell door.

And one of the main things, especially for us, is you have to learn to adapt.

Things change here constantly. Not only do new rules and changes come down from the capitol, they also come from the white house across the street. Some assistant warden or program director who works out of an office will say "Okay. Now we are doing things this way." And it will be the law as far as we are concerned. No matter if it's dumb or doesn't work right, it's the way we have to do it.

So we do it that way until someone else changes their mind.

And we just got a new Major and apparently he doesn't like the way we did almost anything, so he's changing stuff.

Our Captains rotate every six months and with each new rotation we have to change how we do things. And we have two Captains on our shift and they like things done differently so we have to act according to whoever is on shift that night.

The Lieutenants rotate once a year and they all like things done their own way. And we have to figure out how they want things done to keep them happy.

And when you go from housing unit to housing unit and yard to yard, all of the Sergeants want things done their way and you have to learn their little foibles and idiosyncrasies in order to keep them happy.

I remember seeing a movie one time where the hero had to cross a wide pit. And the only way across was to step on the tops of these wobbly wooden poles that stood up in the pit.

I don't remember which movie it was, but I thought it was a neat concept at the time.

Now imagine there's a deep pit. You have to get across it and you have eight hours to get there. It will take you eight hours to cross. And if you fall in you will either die or get a serious frowning at. There are wobbly wooden poles that you have to step on to get across the pit. And not only are they wobbly, but they are all moving at different speeds. Some go up and down and some go side to side and some go around in little circles and a few of them will wait until you step on them before they start moving.

Some of your co-workers will stand at the edge forever and wait until someone comes along and builds a bridge. Some will leap out randomly like spastic jack rabbits, flinging themselves from pole to pole and hope they end up somewhere good. A few will just attach themselves to a certain pole and hope it goes somewhere. Some will make it across and some will fall.

Got that picture in your head?

That's a pretty fair analogy of what I'm getting paid $13.50 an hour plus some often dubious benefits to do.

Sound like fun? Come join up! Just don't wait for that bridge thing. There's no money in the budget for that.

Friday I'm out on A-yard in the Fireman's spot. Which probably means I get to do the Del Norte walk two days in a row. Ah well. I need the exercise.

And Friday will also be Stay Away From Seattle Day and Collect Rocks Day. I don't know why we should stay away, but I'll do it just to be on the safe side. Guess I'll just collect rocks instead, eh?


  1. Stay Away from Seattle Day? What if you live in Seattle? Hmmm, maybe a good day to go looting.

    At any rate, don't feel too bad. I could come up with some pretty noxious analogies for what they pay me $10.25/hr. to do. Like any job, though, some days are better than others.

    Still, I know that the guards at the nuke plant here are getting paid at least 15 or 16 an hour, and that was several years ago. You guys should be making at least that much, or more, for the kind of crap you have to put up with.

  2. The pit analogy is a pretty good one. I wanted to cross the pit but there was a brick wall in my way that I just kept running into head on until I went blind ! Lol

  3. My dad just escaped Seattle last month...I'm pretty sure he's on "Stay Away from Seattle Day" for the rest of his life. (Apparently there's something mildly disconcerting about the constant rain and lack of sun.)

    Anyway, if I could do the pit thing with Indiana Jones by my side I'd like to give it a try. But under no other circumstances, and certainly not for only 13.50 and hour.

  4. Bryan- I had actually planned on saying something else and that analogy popped up and I ran with it. Maybe I should start taking my night time meds after I blog.

    Ghost- That wasn't why you went blind. Your Mother warned you!

    Chanel- I loved Seattle when I was there. I don't care much for the evil yellow thing in the sky, myself.