[This is a continuation of last weeks post – A Day In The Life – Part One]
So last week I told you about life behind bars and how I enjoyed my private time. Today I am going to detail more about how each day unfolded.
Each day the cell doors would be unlocked (electronically) by the guards at 7:30am. I’d been out of bed a long time at this point and was waiting to be set free. Once opened, we’d head to the kitchen to boil water for coffee and wait for breakfast to arrive (Monday to Friday only – no breakfast on the weekends). Breakfast consisted of hot cereal, toast and milk. If we were lucky, there was enough cereal for everyone.
Once breakfast was over and cleaned up, I would usually have my morning walk. I would walk in circles, around the interior perimeter of our unit for about 45 mins to 1 hour. Sometimes alone, sometimes with someone else. The sitting inmates chose that time to make fun of my OCD but I refused to allow myself to just sit around and do nothing.
At the end of my walk, I would either go for a shower (we had access to shower at anytime we were not in our cells) or go read and study my Bible. This would take me pretty close to lunch time which arrived at 11:30am (or close to it). Lunch consisted of cold cuts, or macaroni, or hotdogs, or any number of unidentifiable meals. Always supplemented with bread to bring the calorie count up to the standard. Often, however, the bread was stale or moldy, you learned to horde bread for times when things didn’t go according to plan.
After lunch and cleanup, it was walk time again. 45 mins to 1 hour of the perimeter of our unit. And then back to my cell to read or study the Bible. Are you starting to see a pattern?
Supper would arrive at about 5:30pm, again it was pretty basic food, never enough and never any real taste. I began to dread certain meals. The jail operated on a 28 day cycle, so we eventually learned what meals we would get. After supper and usually a watch of the evening news on TV, it was time to … yep you guessed it, walk again. 45 mins to 1 hour around the perimeter of the unit. I estimated that I was walking about 8 miles a day, 7 days a week for most of the time I was in jail. When I was released, I was in pretty good shape still, unlike many who had gained a lot of weight and gotten lazy!
After that, I’d play cards or some other game, or if it was a weekend, I’d maybe watch a movie, but I found many of the movies not to my liking. If I was lucky I could catch a hockey game or football game on TV, but I didn’t like to rattle the cage too much if others weren’t interested.
So you probably don’t know, but inmates in provincial facilities earn $1.00 per day (Mon to Fri only) for just being there. This is paid at the end of each month into our canteen accounts. If you work at a job you can earn $3.00 per day. About half-way through my sentence I got a job delivering the meals to the unit, which meant I went across the field to the kitchen and collected a cart of food trays and brought it back and then helped to hand out the trays to the inmates. One of the additional bonuses was you got an extra food tray for yourself! (I usually shared mine with my table mates). After a couple of weeks doing that I was “promoted” to kitchen supervisor and I no longer had to get the cart, I just looked after more cleanup and kept our small kitchen clean.
That money in the canteen account was valuable, because the jail supplies very little to you. All your toiletries and additional food much be purchased, and by working I was able to make my purchases without having to bring in money from outside. We used bags of microwave popcorn as currency in our Texas Hold-Em tournaments, which the guards didn’t let on they knew about! We could also buy soft drinks and snacks to make up for the lack lustre meals! And twice while I was there, we were able to order outside food, KFC and Subway, I had never tasted anything that good!
Each day was like the next one. The main differences were the weekends when we only go two meals and had access to movies. The other thing is that for one hour each day, either at 3:30pm, 4:30pm or 7:30pm we had one hour of outside exercise. Depending on the weather, I might have taken my inside walk to the outside.
I really looked forward to 11:00pm and the lockdown for the night. The place would get quiet as everyone began to bed down. But for me it was a real opportunity for some quiet and alone time. We had our own light switches in our cells and could turn off the light whenever we wanted. I usually kept mine on for a couple of hours after lockdown and would read, something I have always loved to do anyway, until I was tired and ready for sleep. A quick prayer followed and then it was time for sleep. The only bad part about the night was the fact that three times in the night the guards did a bed check. That meant they would shine a flashlight into the cell to check if you were still there and alive. They kept the light on until they noticed signs of life, eyes blinking or breathing. It was really annoying because I would always wake up with the light in my eyes. Sleep during those seven months was rough, but I survived.
I learned many lessons during my time in jail. I don’t recommend it at all, but not many people get the opportunity to spend seven months working on themselves. I used that time to the best of my abilities and came out a much better person. I learned the love of God, and I learned to love myself and those around me. I now try to show others what I have learned and through the way I live, hopefully change someone’s life.
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The Great Controversy Ended :
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I like alot of blogs, but I really enjoy yours so far. Thank you for being so open. I know it must not have been easy. I know that because I was the same way. I’ve never done hard core jail time, but I was arrested in December and had to stay locked up for a night. That night was bad enough, I couldn’t imagine what long term would be like, nor do I wanna know. Your testimony is amazing. You are living, walking, breathing proof that God uses the broken and wants the broken. I admire you for taking your incarceration so seriously and using it to benefit yourself. No matter how far down the rabbit hole we’ve gone, we have a God so gentle and so loving that He can and will forgive us. Keep doing what you’re doing.
Thank you. I write to heal myself and to help others. In my very first post, I outed myself to many people who didn’t know my history. That was terrifying, but so far has gone well. If I can help just one person find their way to God, then it’s all worthwhile. God Bless. -Paul
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And that’s the way to look at it! Writing is good. Writing allows us to release our feelings and emotions in a healthy way. I guess that’s why I like it so much.