I Know why the why the caged bird sings

          Because they don’t allow IPods in Jail, Hardy Har, You know… Well, I’m still here and waiting for my trial to start and end.  Every court date brings further delays. I wonder what it would be like o be an actual criminal. They must end up serving more time waiting for a sentence than actually serving it. Regardless, I am taking my time in stride. I work 8 hours a day in the kitchen helping to prepare meals for all the inmates. We get to eat what the sheriffs eat and take coffee breaks (cinnamon coffee no joke! So yum). It is a cool collaborative effort between all the inmates. Never have I seen such hard workers. These ladies definitely take it seriously and for a bunch of people here for breaking the law, they sure do understand following policies and procedures. At first, I hesitated to take a job because I imagined working with, well, slackers. What I found instead were a bunch of smart sophisticated workers that ran the kitchen like a well-oiled machine. Once, while wiping the sweat from our brow, we sat on overturned milk crates, drinking iced coffee and adjusting our hair nets, and someone finally voiced the opinion I’ve always had about people in jail – “If we’d apply the same amount of energy into productive legal things that we did in illegal things we did to get here, we’d be rich. In the same moment they catch their breath however, they smile and say “don’t take it so serious it’s only jail not your career”. Don’t forget though I’m in the trustee dorms. So compared to the other dorms (aka “High Power” where inmates don’t get to leave their cell) we have a lot more freedoms we don’t want to give up over being lazy. We get an open floor plan, so no cell or bars, private bathrooms, a microwave, hair dryer and flat iron, a new change of clothes everyday, book clubs, games, movies, etc. We get delicious food and desserts and most importantly – a purpose, we have a job to do. And for many here, whether they are starting a six-week sentence or halfway through a two-year prison term, having a purpose away from friends and family that we use to solidify our place in the world is hard to find. But we put on our all-white scrubs, pull our hair back in high pony tails, step into white rubber boots, slap on our hair nets and rubber gloves, and march into a kitchen to do our job.

“Look at us” one of the behind me said admiring our not-so-perfect line we’re supposed to walk in from our dorm to the kitchen, “Todos in blanco, somos como anjelitos.” (all in white like little angels). Half of us turn around laughing “oh yes,” an inmate replied “and it’s our angelic ways that got us here I’m sure.”  And we marched into the kitchen, one-by-one.