The Things That Make Isolation a Little Better

I’m now over two months at home. I wrote last week about hitting the wall. I’m still there. I’m very sad this morning and the thought of being productive makes it worse. I am trying the whole “be kind to yourself” thing but that’s not normal for me. Instead of writing more about that I will write about what has been my comfort during all of this.

  1. Watching old Survivor episodes with my daughter – While she was still in school she would stay in the office for class and studying while I was in the family room working. As soon as we were done, she would pick a season of Survivor and we would work our way through it. Yesterday was her first day of no school and our first day when we did not watch Survivor. I missed it.
  2. Game shows – I need sound when I am working. I can’t work in silence. I have the TV on in the background. I learned pretty early on that it couldn’t be the news. I now have Let’s Make a Deal and The Price is Right on in the background when I am working in the morning I generally then turn it over to ESPN. I don’t really pay attention to the shows, but they have been better than stressful news.
  3. Watching Tiger King with my son – I haven’t really talked about it, but my son got really sick around Easter. None of the symptoms matched Covid so the doctor didn’t test him, but it was very stressful. He came home and lived with us until he recuperated. I kept my vacation day I had already requested before all of this happened and watched TV with him for four days. We watched Tiger King together and some episodes of Community. It was a stressful time, but having him home and no work made me feel better.
  4. Weekends and days off – I took Friday off last week because I couldn’t stomach the thought of working while I was as depressed as I was. It was really nice to have a day to do a little bit of housework and then watch TV all weekend. My weekend days still fly past while my work at home days drag. I didn’t think weekends would make a difference, but they really do. I needed a change in career before work from home and I need it more now. Work from home does not make it better. I just feel stuck because there aren’t a lot of places outside of “essential services” hiring right now. Weekends are better because I can try to forget how miserable my work days are.
  5. Play Life with the family – Life is my kids’ favorite board game. We play it together every weekend. We still have a lot of fun every time we play.
  6. Walks – I walk the dog most days. I should do it more than once a day. Being outside with my music in my headphones is a good thing. It’s why I also enjoy yardwork days.

And now I sign off and muddle my way through another day of work. Sigh.

My Life as a Jailbrarian: Scenes from the State

I was only with the state for about a year, so there aren’t a lot of interesting stories to tell. I think the one from the last post was the most interesting day I had at work. So, the entire year will be completed in this post.

Most of my time with the state was spent in an office working on a computer. Nothing much exciting ever happened in the office. We had the occasional collect call from a prison with an inmate trying to contact us. There was the time my boss was given a brand new computer even though she never actually used her computer so the IT guy switched it with mine one day while she was out of the office. She never noticed. There was the time I was called down to the front desk because I had certified mail and had to sign for it. It turned out to be Penthouse magazine. This happened for several months until I figured out why. It was soon after the state banned adult magazines from the prison libraries. One librarian kept getting them in the mail so she sent them to us so she wouldn’t get in trouble. Most of what I remember from the office is that the boss was the worst boss I’ve ever had and being in prison was preferable to being in the office with her.

I got the chance to do be in prison more when the librarian at the women’s prison left. I spent a couple of months working as the substitute librarian. There aren’t a lot of exciting stories from my time there. I do remember one early morning when I signed in and headed over to the building where the library was located only to find it locked. I had arrived before the day shift roll call was done and the education building was not yet open. I considered waiting at the door until this officers arrived and then realized I was lurking around prison grounds in the dark and the officers in the towers had guns. I changed my mind and walked over to the roll call room to wait for the officers there. I had a library worker go on maternity leave. It was not something I expected to happen while working in prison. It was relatively uneventful. It was a good job. It was an easy commute. It was a 7-3 schedule. The inmates didn’t cause me much trouble. I had a private restroom.  I applied to be the full time librarian but did not get the job, most likely because my boss was an asshole.

I went back to the office and back in front of a computer. I took over the LASI program when the LASI coordinator  went out on medical leave. This meant I supervised law students who used LEXIS to send requested legal cases to the inmates on request. This program was eventually moved to a building back at the penitentiary compound from the last post. This meant I spent some days working out of the compound. One perk if working at the prisons was that the library staff had reserved parking spots. This was never an issue at any other prison, but it became an issue here. There was a lot of construction at the compound at this time so parking was scarce. It was not uncommon for someone to be parked in my spot if I arrived at the compound later in the day. One day I guess I was in a bad mood(shocking, I know) and had had it with people taking my spot so I pulled in behind them, parked and started to head in to work. An officer ran over to confront me about this. Due to the construction, the compound was guarded on the ground by armed correctional officers. This guy was one with a gun. He ordered me to move my car. I refused. He ordered me to move the car again. I pointed to the sign that said reserved for librarian and told him that I was the librarian and that I would be happy to move my car to let the car parked illegally to vacate my spot. I honestly can’t remember who won that fight, In my mind I did, but I think that is a false memory. I’m pretty sure that the guy with the gun probably won, but let’s pretend I did.

Eventually, the stress of working for a horrible person, the fact that it was a contract position with no benefits and that fact that she had rejected me when I applied to be a real employee added up to me deciding my time in prison was over. My boss did manage to be an asshole one more time by pulling me into a conference room to yell at me when she heard I was looking for a new job. Fun times.

Up next: I apply for parole.