Thursday, 11 July 2019

Jailhouse musings: Weird shit I observed while in custody...

So I have talked a lot about the shit I've seen in psychiatric hospitals, but I haven't gotten around to discussing much about the jail stuff, probably because I was a bit worried about drawing attention to that aspect of my history, worried about looking bad, but now that I think about it there's some gold here to present in an article.  I will try to make as much of this one as amusing as possible.  Some of it is just sad, but some funny things happened too.

• When I got my one phone call, I decided to call my Dad to inform him of the situation.  I later realized I had blown my one and only chance (now that he is dead and I'm legally sound in society) to make a Was Not Was reference in a real jail to him, by singing this:

"Hi Dad - I'm In Jail" - Was Not Was

It probably would not have gone over well, seeing as he would not have seen the humour, due to it being a serious situation, and also - the man was so pop culturally clueless that even when Scooby Doo was brought up one time in conversation, he assumed it was about "scuba diving".  He also did not know about the band KISS, and once described rap music as something akin to "naughty poetry set to a rhythm".  So he definitely would not know about Was Not Was.

• In a holding cell, waiting for court with some other chick in the jailhouse greens we had to wear, I decided to suggest a game of charades.  So she went first, and started making all these hand gestures.  When I announced that I could not guess what the television show was, she said "Television show?!  These are GANG signs!" ... Oh.

• Another woman apparently felt her hair was so filthy that she needed to wash it in the cell toilet.  I don't think there's ever been a time where my hair felt so filthy I would have considered doing that, but to each their own.  I kept to my end of the cell, far from her, after she did this.

• I spent a couple of separate nights at the Vanier Centre for Women, which was very much like 'Orange Is The New Black'.  Believe it or not, prison food is actually better than hospital food - we even got a slice of cake.  Hospital food at CAMH is so bad I needed constipation meds because it ruined my regularity.  Not saying prison food is great, but CAMH could learn a thing or two from this.

• Once, in my cell at Vanier, I waved a guard over and asked for a drink of water.  He looked offended and said: "What the hell do you think this is?!"  I said: "Well, I thought it was worth a shot!"  So I had to sip water out of the faucet that was in the cell.  Precincts don't have mattresses, you have to sleep on a steel bed frame built into the cell.  But the penitentiary has them.  I was so sleep deprived that it was actually a relief to get to Vanier, after being shuffled along from precinct to precinct in a police wagon, not getting any sleep, chained to other women.  I was woken very early to be shuffled back into a wagon, back to Toronto again the next morning for more court belittlement, but at least I almost got one full night of rest at the prison, on a real mattress.  Then I was taken to a hospital, where I was finally able to catch up on slumber.

• When Christmas came and I was still in CAMH under incarceration, I wanted to gift one friend something, but had no money (the government cut most of my disability at the time because of incarceration).  So I gave her my green prison uniform, along with a card I made that said "Merry Manhandlemas - I am the prison.  Don't you dare step on my jail suede shoes.  Tie me up sweater!", which was supposed to be an ode to  This friend later dumped me as a friend.  I guess the gift didn't help with that.

• The prison issued underwear were the best damn panties I have ever owned as far as lasting a myriad of washes.  One day I finally decided it was ridiculously bad juju to hold onto these things, and I finally got rid of 'em... years later.  My underwear tends to be boring looking anyway, because I'm Ace and thus not out to impress anyone in that kind of way.  So prison issued panties it is.

Well, that's all I can really think to discuss that was rather interesting... there was other stuff but I tried to keep this one light and funny.  Anything else might just be depressing and ranty.


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