There are around one-hundred and twenty men permanently assigned to the cell-block that I am being warehoused in. For these 120 men there are eight individual shower stalls ; four upstairs and four downstairs. Of these eight showers six are off-limits from usage until 2:30 pm…which is really a pain in the backside, because 7:45am is really 6:00am because the Orderlies, the guys who clean the showers want to start cleaning them as soon as the doors open, making them unusable. They do this because they want to get finished early so they can go outside, or workout, or just basically do what the heck they want to do with no regards to the fact that it forces guys who would prefer to bathe before going to work to wait until later…just another example of the “me first” mindset of the folks in here. I am one of those guys who like to shower early, but like I said, I have to wait until later in the morning to use the TWO showers open, by decree, for day time usage.
Now, I can be an ass, and every now and then, I’ll just plow into a shower at say 7am, after it’s been cleaned, just to make my case that they are technically OPEN, by decree, until 7:45…but, I don’t do it often enough to get into a fight over it, but I have to admit, want to. Anyway. I’m telling you this for a reason, and here it is.
I, in my capacity as Mayor of Ingleside, was part of the process implementing this rule to shut down the showers from 7:45 to 2:45 on week days…yeah, crazy right! Well, I wasn’t directly involved, but definitely, indirectly involved. Here’s what happened.
As best I remember we had a few back to back years where the annual rain fall was low, causing draughts across most of Texas and other parts of the country. Couple that with the steady increase in population and what you have is, less water available for more people, pretty simple to see the rational of the decision to try and cut the Peak Hour water usages.
This Water Conservation Program was put into place because due to that draught it became apparent that the population was growing faster than the local municipalities could afford to increase the size of their water transfer lines, or more precisely, the population was growing faster than the revenue available to upgrade the water systems. There for, it was decided by the Mayor’s Associations that it was imperative to cut down on the the water usage during the Peak hours of the day i.e.: 7:30am to 2:45pm, those being the hours when the biggest consumers of the local water providers, industry and PRISONS, were drawing through the water lines, the water they needed to operate. I hope this makes sense to you; hard to comprehend without all of the data that was presented to us at the time…but, like I said, I was part of this decision back in the day. Anyway, little did I know that all these years later I would be bitching about it!!
You want to hear something else even more ironic? Well, I’m about 99% surer that, in my capacity as Mayor of Ingleside, that I was here in Three Rivers for the “Ribbon Cutting Ceremony” to begin the Ground Breaking to build “THIS” prison! Yep, that means that somewhere on an office wall, or tucked away in a box someplace, is a picture of a young Mayor Mark, in a suit, standing and smiling next to the Mayor of Three Rivers while she cut the ribbon on this joint! Wanna hear one even more ironic than that?
Well, I remember flying to Oklahoma City on business, and hearing my pilot, Mark Phillips, come over the intercom pointing out that, at that time, the unbelievable fact that off to the left of my taxing plane was a new Federal Prison, one built right on the airfield itself. Yeah, I remember looking out the window and thinking that that was the craziest thing ever – little did I know that only a few short years later, I myself would, in leg shackles, walk the floors of that same prison.
This has definably been the strangest life I can remember.
We have a cat! Yep, he’s a gray and white Tom we have named Boss Man; one of the guys made him a blue and white leather collar with his name and a Dallas Cowboys Star painted on it.
I don’t know who it was that gave him the name but it certainly applies to his status on the yard. For instance, the other day he was sound asleep and stretched out in front of the Metal Detector, the one that we all must pass through to go out onto the Recreation Yard – sound asleep! It was hilarious to watch as four or five hundred men, used an elongated stride to step over him and pass through the Detector. Not one person disturbed him, nor did he seem to give a big rat’s butt about the inconvenience he was causing, it was an amazing site, and I stood there and watched the whole move go down. Amazing how so many men from so many different cultures and backgrounds, some who I’m sure don’t even like cats, come together to appreciate one of God’s little gifts, (I know, that sounded gay).
This morning I went outside and he was lying stretched out on one of the benches, the one in the shade, I might add. Anyway. I sat down beside him and intended to pet him, but he didn’t wake up when I sat down, so I just sat there and watched him, that didn’t sound creepy! As I sat there watching him I noticed that he began to twitch and jerk, obviously in some kinda cat-dream. I could only smile at how complacent he is in this environment.
I remember when he first showed up as a kitten. Man guys would bring him all kinds of stuff to eat – yes, cats will eat bread! Not kidding. I’ve seen Boss Man wolf it down. Now don’t go to thinking that he’s on some kinda prison diet of bread and water! This fat bastard eats better that half the folks in Europe! Yeah, he don’t lack in the food department; guys are going to the Hole for stealing food out of the kitchen for him! That’s an exaggeration, but, trust me, whatever is in that kitchen is on his plate too!, he’s healthy!
For the record, I love cats, always have. And being able to see him and to love him a little bit each day is the highlight of my day! Happy Happy Happy!!!
Funny the little things we take for granted.
Thanks for all the well wishes on my Birthday. Peace be with you all. Mark
Three Rivers, 8-4-17