A Prisoner’s Lament


March 31, 2007

A Prisoner’s Lament

Outside today it is a sunny and windy day. There’s a chop out on the lake surface and one needs to wear their overcoat to enjoy their smoking pursuits. Inside, it is just another day. With each spin of the earth this place gains in familiarity yet, with the continuing influx of new arrivals, it becomes almost less so. My willingness in getting to know my fellow detainees when I’d first arrived here has slowly given way to a cool detachment towards the newbies. Being the lone guy bunked in the only single room lends to this. While there is the obvious privacy, there too is an amount of isolation from the rest. Strangely, I find myself wanting for some of the faces that no longer inhabit this place. Are they any different than the ones who populate it now? Were I to have happened upon this range yesterday, I’d be just as inclined to chip away at the walls that can serve to maintain each of us an island, just as I did back in January. Would these stranger faces to my current scrutiny not then be as friendly and familiar as those of before? 

My lack of will I question isn’t seated in apathy, unfounded skepticism, or a form of lethargy. A mild depression perhaps. The familiarizing of this jail for me is, for all intents and purposes, done and the grind of realizing that I’m not even one-third through my stay has begun to take on a greater weight to my conscious. Momentary flights of fancy, dreaming of life after all this is over are restrained by the weight of knowing that I’ve barely gotten into the meat of my bit. The weather outside has turned reminding me that time is elapsing but the weather inside doesn’t pay that much attention or adherence to the seasonal shift. This may indeed be ‘Camp Cuddles,’ largely viewed as a cakewalk compared to doing time most anywhere else, but it is still jail. It is still draining on the mind and mood. It is something that I wouldn’t recommend. That being said however, I shudder thinking what time would be like serving it at Wilky or some federal penitentiary. It is utterly paradoxical to be appreciative for being at this facility when you can’t escape the fact that it’s still prison. Good Lord! Is this me becoming institutionalized?! 

I ache to be beyond this chapter in my life. It is such a waste. 

My life awaits me after all this and it could conceivably go in any direction. It’s almost as perplexing to my mind as the reasons for me being here in the first place. I feel that I am a kind and good soul but this place is meant to sap one of such notions. When I leave this place it will be to no one or anything in particular. My stalled out existence will be at the beginning once again. I suspect I’ll have more ties to my existence in this place than I’ll have to my life prior to arriving here. Everyone I know on the outside continues unabated in the pursuits of their lives, getting further ingrained and attached to their lovers, children, work, problems and dreams. For me it will all be new again and it’s hard not to recognize that in a way, I’ve been left behind by the world I knew. I might exist in the thoughts of those who knew me prior to this experience but while I’m mired within it there is no communing or active participation in each other’s existences to have me feel that the passing of time doesn’t discriminate. While I’m sure I’ll be received well by my true friends and family, I too will be distanced from everyone else for my absence. A shifting attitude not unlike the one I’m experiencing in this place. Here, the setting is familiar but the perception and feeling about it has changed in a mere two months. When I get released and return to the Comox Valley that setting will not have changed much from my remembrance but, for this ordeal I’ve had to undergo, the perception and feeling about the valley will likely have changed after eight months away. Woe is me. The children are growing up so fast and I’m missing that. Life can be calibrated by experiences but for the kids and me, it will be calibrated by inches. Most every child I know will be how much taller by the time I next see them?