|Good To See That I'm |
Maintaining My Stature
I got to the jail to see at least a dozen of my contemporaries in the same boat. The city is closing downtown shelters and moving them out into rural areas. This way, the homeless would need to buy a bus token in order to come into the downtown area and panhandle.
The task force is part of the initiative. There were a few guys in the lockup who said "As soon as I get out of here, I'm leaving Mobile." This is exactly what the cop want them to say and do. There is a defiant side of me that wants to be stubborn and stay longer, but, I would only be hurting myself.
They put me in a two man cell with 4 other guys, yes 5 guys in a 2 man cell.
I guess the task force has been busy.
I said that, if I got up and walked all the way out into the day room to get the tray, then I might as well eat it myself.
He walked out, and I heard him repeating what I had said to another inmate, seeking a ruling or opinion of some kind. He mumbled about it all morning, keeping my sleep light. Then lunch came, and he repeated the process of kicking my foot. I told him that if I gave my lunch to anyone, it would not be someone that woke me up, out a peaceful sleep. I lay back down, and as I drifted back to sleep, I could hear him telling the guard who was passing out the trays, that I had given him permission to eat my lunch, because I was not feeling good, and was not hungry. The guard refused to go along. I don't think the inmate, who they called "Pops," even enjoyed his own meal, so enraged was he over what he considered a lost opportunity to get two lunches.
I thought about getting up at the evening mealtime, getting my tray and giving it to "somebody else," picked at random. I wonder if that would have satisfied Pops, knowing that the county didn't get to keep the tray (one of his arguments), and that I had done the right thing in sharing with one of my fellow prisoners.
I think, rather, that that would have caused a scuffle, maybe some pushing and shoving and harsh words.
I have seen the dynamic at work which makes men more animal-like. It seems to stem from putting them in cages and then throwing them food thrice daily, always at the same times.
I decided to fast the whole two and a half days. I eventually gave my cellmates the very last of my trays, after the judge had set me free, and I was only waiting on "the paperwork," or for the people who push the paperwork. This was not before Pops, in yet another one of his appeals actually told me that he would appreciate it if I would give him my dinner tray, because he was "starving." "I haven't eaten in two days, and you're what?"
The tray was divided somewhat equally amongst my cellmates, with Pops getting the lion's share, probably based upon some lie that he had concocted for the others.
That kind of restored the peace and, as I left, I apologised for being "kind of grumpy," but blamed it upon the fact that I wasn't eating. They said that they understood. "This is jail," said one of them. They wished me luck.
I was out the door by about 8 pm. My money had been given back to me in the form of a check, which cannot be cashed until next Monday. My guitar and my backpack are at the main police station building, a two mile walk, and cannot be gotten until next Monday.
I continue the fast, breaking it only for a 64 oz. can of tomato juice, this morning, with some instant potatoes mixed in, and a few drops of hot sauce.
It is Saturday afternoon. I keep reaching for my guitar, every time I get a musical idea. Last night I was reaching for my mosquito repellent, my radio, and a bunch of other things that I had been taking for granted that are in my pack. I had also been using the pack as a pillow, especially when it is stuffed with clean laundry.
Last (Friday) night, there were people out on Dauphin Street. The temperature wasn't too high and there was a pretty good crowd. All I could do was sit there, feeling useless.
Now, I wait until Monday to walk the two miles to get my stuff, then cash my check and, after a visit to the food stamp office, I should be ready to say my goodbyes to Mobile.