Monday, October 17, 2011

Then The Phone Rings

There are, I believe, seven phones in the control center. And at any given time any or all of them can be ringing.

It really sucks when they all ring at the same time. Especially if there are only two of us up there. Things get nuts when that happens.

If you are working "the desk", meaning doing count and running the radio and all, you have two phones to keep track of. One of them is the switchboard phone where all of the outside calls come in. 33% of the calls on that phone are other staff calling in sick. 33% of the calls are staff on the inside trying to make an outside call. The last 33% are the families of inmates making complaints or asking questions or trying to get us to give their little felon a message.

The other phone is the "Desk Phone". That is the line where the houses call in their numbers for count. And that is primarily all that it is used for.

If there isn't an actual count going on, you don't want that phone ringing. Usually that spells trouble or extra paperwork.

I've talked alot about the urge to misbehave on the radio. It's always there, like a barely controlled addiction, just waiting for me to slip and do something stupid. Last Friday I succumbed to a weak moment. Things were kinda busy and Sgt Banty was sitting at the desk doing something with the paperwork. I was right there and hear someone call to close the yards.

Without thinking I leaned over, pushed the button and in my very best Boston accent said "The yahhds ah closed! The yahhds ah closed!"

Just as soon as my finger came off the button the desk phone rang. It was Captain CJ.

"Do we have to use a New York accent on the radio?"

"Actually it was more Boston, Ma'am."


"I've been a bit nasally, is all."


"I won't do it again."

"Thank you!"

Ah, well. I could have been worse. I've heard her give some pretty awesome tongue lashings and hope I am never the recipient of one. I think I got off easy.

Tonight I lost all of my composure. Right in the middle of mainline somebody (that evil swine Vinnie) said something that caught me completely sideways and suddenly in the middle of a sentence I completely forgot how to speak English. My face cramped up hard to keep from bursting out with the giggles and the more I tried to speak the more gibberish came out.

I stopped and took a breath and tried again. Nope. Just gibberish and nonsense. I've heard clearer statements from people OD'ing on Liquid Wrench.

Then the phone rang.

"Yah yah yah! What you smoking up there?" Click!

Then the phone rang again.

"What the frack was all of that? Did any of that actually mean anything?" Click!

Then the phone rang again....

You get the idea.

I would have happily flushed that phone and the radio down the toilet and gone home. Instead I spent the rest of the night making fun of myself and saying as little as possible on the radio.

And while I was doing the radio check those other two miscreants, Vinnie and Puddle, were making remarks and odd noises behind my back to see if they could crack my composure again.

I made it through, but it was a close call.

Tomorrow Vinnie can have the desk all to himself. I'll just run the doors and try to behave myself the best I can. I have been thoroughly chastised enough.

Tuesday is going to be No Beard Day. That's an easy one for me. Not allowed and I can't grow a decent one to save my soul. It will also be National Chocolate Cupcake Day and World Menopause Day.

Except for the chocolate part, you may have to celebrate that one without me.


  1. You did fine, St. Francis understood everything you transmitted.

  2. Accents are fun, and it can be truly irresistible to let one loose. I've worked drive-thrus and in retail where you are required to make announcements over the loudspeaker. I never did Bah-ston (although I do a pretty mean Kennedy) but Australian and Deep-Fried Southerner were always fun.

  3. Boris- You got me. Burned me to the quick, you did.

    Doug- I usually try to say it in a funny accent before I hit the button and get it out of my system. I failed that time.