This number is significant because through all my writings for this blog I've never touched on the following subject. I was finally allowed outside of the prisons secure grounds to visit an outside job assignment. For you, this is no big deal, but for me it was like being shocked with a defibrillator and coming back to life.
For 75 months I've been in secure confines only seeing fellow prisoners and a handful of guards. Any transport was by secure means as if I'm the most violent prisoner of an entourage. I walked from buses and planes with my hands handcuffed to my waist chain, and my feet shacked at the ankles with about 12-18 inches of chain, so in this regard I didn't walk, I shuffled.
Most prisons are located in rural areas or in areas distant from streets, people, traffic, smells, colors and the energy present in society. Prison is a microcosm of society, but I see now this part of living is dead, it's cold, unresponsive, painfully slow and crippling.
After various check points for security measures by the prison, I finally walked out the door, no shackles, no shiny tight handcuffs, no waist chain, normal prison garb similar to a sanitation worker uniform. I stood on the sidewalk outside the prison in a minor shock. It was surreal but the best was yet to come.
I got into the back seat of a van and the music was on. No one told me what to do, how to sit, what direction to look in, how to place my hands or what to expect.
As the van began it's acceleration, I strapped on my seatbelt and visually took in all the sights possible. I felt like a new born baby experiencing everything for the first time, literally.
After months indoors without any outside day light, my eyes could not focus beyond 25 feet so my vision was blurry. It seemed that everything was moving frighteningly fast. Cars weaved in and out of traffic, while traffic lights blinked their normal familiar colors. People talked on cellular phones, I'd only seen on television and magazines. Cars have changed and seeing the commercials does no justice to seeing the vehicles in person.
People said good morning and smiled as they passed me on the sidewalk. I ate non-processed food. I used real silverware to eat like a gentleman, I drank orange juice, flavored coffee, and enjoyed a fresh salad with great salad dressing.
Going outside into the community was more than I expected even in all its simplicity because my surroundings for 75 months have not allowed me to use society methods of reasoning, action or consideration. Optimism told me I haven't been in prison "that" long but realism told me it would take some time for me to get re-acclimated, even if up to two-weeks.
I now know how debilitating prison has been for me. Thank G-d is's almost over, but not quite.
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