Date: March 27, 2007 10:25 AM
Topic: Sandwich Summit
To begin the day, Mr. Person informed me that my complaint about the lunches made it all the way into the morning’s C.O. briefing, sharing how a good laugh was had by all. As a matter of fact the Senior Corrections Officer, Mr. McClelland, he of the three stripes, came down for a formal inspection of our range after breakfast where, after completing his rounds, he sought me out regarding my complaint. Not to reprimand me for its cheekiness but to get further information on the state of the lunches. And here I elaborated further for him.
I did find it interesting that he appeared to have difficulty holding my gaze. Whether his shifting eyes revealed how weak of a leg he was standing on or spoke to undisclosed medical condition, I couldn’t quite say. He responded with the standard party line of “the manual says this…” and, “the allotted calorie counts are…” but his cutout explanations and stiffness in delivery left me unmoved. At this point he lurched into reminiscing on his days when he was in charge of the highways crew. Regaling me with how often they had hamburgers for lunch when I had touched on our preference for them despite not getting them all that frequently. I countered by telling him how when I first arrived on Crew#2 the presence of hamburgers in our lunch kit was more the norm than the exception to. Conversely, we’d had hamburgers just once in the last three weeks and that was only after we’d submitted our last barrage of complaints. What was a congenial discussion ended with McClelland saying that he, himself, would have a talk with the kitchen staff! Success? Hopefully.
In the course of our chat I didn’t miss the chance to mention how highly productive our output on Crew #2 had been. Incidentally, C.O.’s Person & Cunningham had both been the main advocates behind the crew’s campaign of complaint letters. Not leaving them to dangle in the wind, I judiciously reeled both of them back to solid ground in sharing with McClelland that I believed they were only lobbying on our behalf because they were truly impressed with how hard we work.
It was quite the opportunity to bend the ear of someone with pull around here. Best of all, it was through a candid conversation rather than the alternative of being summoned up to the presumably stuffy and official setting of the Senior Correction Officer’s lair. Mr. Person confided to me what a kick both he and C.O. Wight got from the letter, as it was Wight who I’d addressed it to. He followed by passing me the compliment, “you certainly have a way with words.“ I countered, “that may well be…” yet standing there in prison red as if to emphasize my point, I continued, “but it’s not as though they haven’t gotten me into trouble at times!”