Akon Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me

02.08.10 Kari Ferrell

California PrisonsWhen you go to jail you’re provided with many an opportunity to say to yourself, “Jesus Christ, I never thought I’d be doing this.” It makes you view the world in a different way (consistent pessimism), and is totally refreshing, rejuvenating, and any other “re” word that is included in self-help book reviews; except for not. Incarceration forces you to think about things that would otherwise occur without a hitch; simple tasks such as waking up in the morning, taking a shit, and masturbating.

While locked up in the Chateau ADC I was in the “minimum/medium” pod–which means that even though I was minimum security, I was treated like a medium security prisoner. We were released from our cages for three to four hours a day, rotating getting out in the morning and getting out in the evening (since the different classes of prisoners couldn’t mix). Due to the rotation, every other day we would be subjected to a 28 hour lock-down in our cell. Which was fortunate for me, because I could only avoid the behemoth that I (lovingly) referred to as Down Syndrome Chewbacca from shanking my geejay (girl jewels), with her fist, for so long.

Our deluxe suites were approximately eleven feet long and nine feet wide. Approximation because we didn’t have our Binford tool belt on hand, so were forced to measure with the toothbrush and sock my cellmate had constructed into a replica of her husband’s penis (which according to her was fairly accurate, and also according to her was about 8 inches). Salt Lake County’s jail was hip and modern, and by the way the guards talked about it, you’d have thought it was built by Frank Gehry. There were no bars, just heavy sliding metal doors. The walls were transparent (otherwise known as plexiglass), which allowed the officers to look in on us at anytime. Two beds stacked on top of one another (in which you were assigned top or bottom, and were not allowed to be in the other), a small toilet/sink combination, a small table, and an omnipresent pale-institution-yellow that covered everything.

In an area that small you have to be creative, which I’m not, so I mostly just sat there and read really riveting literature (James Patterson, anyone?). Seriously, you will come out of there as a terrible book aficionado, with a penchant for shit that has the words “hood”, “cash money”, or “hoez” in the title.

Normal every day functions, like going to the bathroom, become an arduous task (for me, it was difficult because there weren’t any high-resolution photos of Little Richard’s crazy eyes, which is what I am used to gazing into while doing my biddness in the Real World). You try to be courteous to your cellmate, but when the toilet is at the foot of the bed, and their toes are going into your stream, it’s sort of hard to do. Don’t even get me started talking about bowel movements, unless you want to hear about eating soap in hopes that it would upset your stomach enough that you could take a shit, covering your ears and humming so you wouldn’t have to listen to the dropping of the food baby, and shoving your head as close to the crack in the door as possible, trying to inhale fresh air. Masturbation was on the same plane; something you needed to do, but didn’t want anyone else to know that you were doing it. Sometimes it made you feel like an undercover agent, but mostly it just made you feel retarded, and was more of a boner killer than Lady Gaga.

All hygiene products were provided to us compliments of Bob Barker (soap made from real neutered animal parts!), and were just as poorly made as you would think (listen, there’s a reason he didn’t have a full size mic). The soap left a fine layer of film on your skin, that was entirely impossible to remove, and I don’t think it was comprised of any actual cleaning agent. The razors (yes, they gave us razors, but somehow pens were just too dangerous to have) were single-bladed harbingers of destruction. Seriously, if the four horsemen of the apocalypse were combined and transformed into a toiletry item, this would be it. I have never shaved slower in my life, and my genitals still looked like they met up with a cheese grater. The toothpaste was called “Nature’s Mint” and didn’t work so well on teeth, but could get any stain off of your shoes, concrete floor, or toilet. Deodorant had to be purchased, as did non-alcoholic mouthwash, and strings from the sheets were the only sort of floss you were getting.

If you like using anything other than Suave, I would suggest you remain out of jail, but if you like being able to take a dump, brush yo’ teef, eat your dinner, and make your bed all at the same time, then have I got the cutest little bedroom/bathroom/dining room/kitchen/closet/storage unit/study/rec room/gym for you! All utilities paid; includes maid service. Monthly rent: your dignity.