Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do you smell something?

Today my two daughters and I were in line in the school parking lot waiting for drop off. You know drop off? You must patiently sit until your car is in a certain designated area before your children are allowed to vacate the car. At our school they’ve started fining families $25 per infraction for breaking rules such as speeding over the 5 mi/per hour posted signs, pulling out of parking spaces before the 8am bell (backing out prematurely blocks other cars, which interferes with tardy families like me trying to reach drop off before the bells rings) and kids vacating cars who are not IN the drop off zone (mostly kids who are tardy so their parents tell them to get out and RUN fast).

Our drop off zone has 2 rows. We were in the left row. I prefer the left row because the school is on the left side so my kids don’t have to go around any cars, and they make it past the Not Tardy Line faster. To our right was a father who is family friend. He’s coached my daughters in softball, their entire family has camped with us several times, and we invite each other to holiday parties. We love this family. The wife is a nurse.  He’s a computer engineer who helps our country with espionage. Oh yes he does. He even has to go to Washington DC every 6 months for a lie detector test. At parties his wife tries to get him drunk so he’ll talk about what he’s working on, but he never talks dammit.

He and his wife have two children at this school. Their daughter is in 4th grade with my older daughter, and their son is in his final year at our school in 8th grade. This particular father has a passion for cars. Today he was driving his red convertible corvette.  Normally he drives a lifted jeep or their Denali Yukon when he’s dropping off both kids. His wife drives a convertible BMW. Did I mention he has a car fetish? In the car with him I saw his son. I asked Paula if his daughter was sick yesterday or maybe she didn't feel well since she wasn't with them.  Paula said the daughter had been fine yesterday. 

Paula begins to say how MUCH she loves their house because their house is so big, clean and smells so good. I raise an eyebrow from the front seat. “Our house is big and clean and smells good.” She says, “No, our house smells like garbage”.


My house does not smell like garbage. Yes, we do have a garbage can with a lid in the main part of the kitchen, which sometimes gets stinky, but overall my house does not smell like garbage.

I think.

Now she has me wondering. Have I just gotten used to the smell? You know how if you are around something long enough you become immune to it? I’m going to have to buy a crap load of Plug-In Air Fresheners. I have some candles too I’ll light. I do not want to be THAT family. You know the family I’m talking about. The ones you hate to visit because the house smells like garbage.

Damn her and her nose.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Prison Pen Pal

Awhile back I talked about my cousin Tommy who lives in prison.  You can find the posts  here and here if you want to read them.  If you don't want to read them, in summary, when I was a teen my cousin Tommy was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for murder. He is now living in his 3rd prison.  He was kicked out of his previous prisons for various reasons. First time for having sex with the dental assistant (frowned on apparently  ha ha), and next because of a tool he'd owned and used for years, but for some reason he doesn't know, the guards were searching for it, but during the search for this said tool some cell phones were found in other inmates cells.  Cell phones are abundant in prisons but not allowed.  They're snuck in by the guards. 

After the cell phones were confiscated the inmates who had them were apparently angry at Tommy, but Tommy denies this fact.  He says he gets along with all the races.  Tommy was put in solitary confinement as punishment for having the tool, then aapparently the guards worried about his welfare so they moved him.  He describes his new prison view like living on the moon. No view at all.  That would be the desert. 

A few months ago I sent Tommy my first letter. I was nervous to write him.  We weren't close growing up.  I remembered him from family functions but he being a boy and me a girl and our age differences meant we had almost nothing in common.  But, I'd wanted to write him for awhile so I did.

To my relief, he was thrilled to hear from me and we continue to correspond back and forth.  Each of us write/receive a letter a month. 

He's got a great attitude considering where he is and where he'll stay most likely for the duration of his life.  He is bitter that he has a life sentence, but others who have committed worse crimes received lesser sentences.  He's very philosophical and a very good writer. He's been told by me and others to write down his story in essays to be published. He avoids doing so because he doesn't want to relive the nightmare. He denies he's guilty. 

He claims to be busy and loses track of time.  He gets to watch TV and reads books. He says it's not unheard of for guys in prison to read 1000+ pages a day.  He says he doesn't read that much. I sent him a few paperbacks he requested. He's only allowed to receive paperbacks and they must be mailed directly from the book seller.  Meaning I can't mail them.  A company/distributor has to send them.  He gets to spend time in the "yard" where he hangs out with his friends.

He knew some guys at his current prison since they'd been together before at a different prison.  He says unfortunately at this prison, when your a Lifer you don't get the good jobs.  He enjoys working and was saddened to learn this fact.

In the latest letter certain races were banned from using the common yard due to fighting going on among them. Mostly the blacks and Hispanics.  Tommy is American Indian. He's actually American Indian (deceased father), Italian and Irish (mother - my aunt), but he decided in prison to use his American Indian looks to his benefit.  It's all about Race in prison.

I think in the future I'll write down some quotes from him.  I don't have any of his letters with me right now or I'd give you a few lines.