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Thread: "Life Without" - Memoir

  1. #1

    "Life Without" - Memoir

    Here at TC, "Life Without" starts at Ch. 18. The first seventeen chapters are elsewhere.

    Chapter 18: Feelings Check



    I had to spice-up up my prison resume pronto as Bumpo had advised me to make it look like I’ve improved myself – or have tried to, before a future Parole Board. I looked over my list from the Self-improvement and job board (see chapter 16, “Decisons, Decisions” for background knowledge if needed).

    I wrote down several possibilities backin “Decisions,” Did some thought, crossed out some and circled others.

    The first I would try would be.....”Feelings Check,” Mondays at 6 PM. Hosted by Patricia Worthington, Counselor.

    When the time came I walked to room 416-B and peered in. The door was open.

    There was a group of about 16 inmates sitting in a circle on plastic chairs. The carpet was light blue, rugged, and had holes in various places. It looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in decades. I had never seennor met any of these inmate before. This wasn’t hard to do since this prison had so many inmates housed here. I walked in and saw the ubiquitous Bunn Machine Coffee Maker with two pots half-full of black mud. I approached it to get a cup of Joe. I took the mini-styrofoam white cup off of the stack and poured it to the rim. As usual with coffee in prison, it was bitter thick syrup that had probably been sitting for a long, long, time. Coffee is a prime commodity in prison. You never throw coffee out if it’s old or stale. It’s expensive to buy at the Commissary, with only instant Nezcafe coffee available at 3 times a mark-up. Almost all Cons require the Caffeine Kick, including me. I took a sip. It was very tart. I waited to check if it was too hot – it wasn’t - and down the whole thing.

    I glanced towards the group that was talking peacefully in a hum of low voices to one another.

    This had “Therapy Session” written all over it.

    Kind of like those AA meetings and Interventions I’ve seen on TV.

    I spotted an open chair on the left side of the circle, walked over slowly and sat down. Some of the others made eye contact. A couple gave a nod to me - an act of “welcome,” but no words were said. The group gave a positive supportive vibe, yet I was apprehensive. I’d never done this type of thing before.

    A slightly overweight man in his 40s sheepishly entered the room. I could tell it was his first time, too. He looked around a bit bewildered trying to think about where to sit. His eyes focused mainly towards the floor to avoid eye contact. Finally, he shuffled to another open chair opposite of me. I could sense his pensiveness, which was similar to my own. I scanned the circle from my chair again. It was relaxed. Except for one man, in his 30s, with a dark brown flat top haircut and sweater who sat in a tense posture, eyes staring straight ahead, with both arms resting on his lap with fists clenched. Don’t make eye contact with this guy or engage in conversation, I told myself.

    A tall and lanky inmate in jeans, dull red flannel shirt, and graying pony-tail stood up and walked towards me. He stuck out his hand for a shake. I stood up, made eye-contact, and shook his hand.

    “Hi, I’m Mike Sutton. Welcome to Feelings Check.

    “Hello, I’m Grampa,” I responded, more at ease.

    “Nice to meet you. Here’s your folder.” He handed me a semi-thick notebook with big binders. “This is your health folder.”

    “Thanks,” I said.


    “Patty – who's leading this group, will fill you in on the details. Until then, make yourself comfortable. This is an open and empathetic group focusing on improving ourselves. We start at six. In about 5 minutes.”

    “Sure,” I said.

    I sat down amidst the quiet conversation among those here and opened my notebook.


    “Feelings check & Wellness in both mind and spirit.”

    Table of Contents, by chapter. I skimmed it.

    Nutrition for Physically Improving our:

    Stress

    High blood pressure

    Diabetes

    LDL Cholesterol levels

    Acid Reflux

    Arthritis

    Gout

    IBS

    Inflammation

    Etcetera....



    I turned the page. The next page read:



    Nutrition for Mentally Improving Our:

    Insomnia

    Anxiety

    Neurosis

    Agoraphobia

    Claustrophobia

    Feelings of inadequacy

    Anger Management

    Depression



    Etcera....etcetera.

    I opened a random page to take a look. They were all photocopies of articles written by Psychologists, Nutritionists, a couple Doctors, Yoga gurus, and Personal Trainers. Some of these articles even came from magazines and newspapers.

    “Oranges have an abundance of vitamin-C" --No sh*tSherlock,I thought. What do they think I am? Stupid.

    Another read: “The symptoms of a Vitamin-D deficiency and how to raise D Levels.”

    Get more sunshine,” it advised. Duh.

    Useless info....I thought....it’s common sense.

    I remembered the fact that the prison population IQ is a full 10 points lower than the non-prison (free) population – Much like TD’s compared to the non-TD population.

    The chatter all of a sudden stopped.

    In walked Patricia Worthington. A civilian (non-prisoner) counselor who I’d later learn was on contract with TD State Prison to MC this program. Patty came in and sat down with confidence.

    “Hi, everybody!”

    “Hi, Patty!” the group said in unison, with a clear lack of enthusiasm.

    Patty Worthington was a middle-aged plump women with slightly red mid-length poofy 1980s style hair, large glasses and a radiant smile. She wore a light blue loose-fitting dress. Loose fit was not only because she big but also to not arouse deprived male inmates. The light blue color allegedly “mellows people out.” She chewed gun voraciously at a fast pace with her mouth open, while scanning us – the fish in a bowl.

    “Oh, better get rid of this,” she said out-loud as she picked the gum from her teeth and placed it into a tissue, putting it away.

    The room was silent.

    “OK, 6 o’clock....let’s get started!”

    “Do we have any members here for the first time?” She already knew that I and that other guy were the newbies.

    I raised my hand slowly.

    “Hi, there. I’m Patty. And your name is?

    “Grampa,” I responded a bit awkwardly.

    “Hi Grampa!” She group responded in a pleasant and welcoming manner in unison, but lacking any energy whatsoever.

    She looked down at her clip-board and marked it with a pen. “There you are, you‘re on the list. Being this is your first time, would you mind telling us a little about yourself?” She said rhetorically.

    “OK....Well....Hi,uhm....like I said, my name’s Grampa.”

    “I’m a....here for....feelings check....I’ve been here about 6 months and.....”


    Pause....silence.


    I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have the confidence.

    Patty recognized this immediately, and being the professional she is, she filled the void.

    “Welcome Grampa. We look forward to being with you here in our group!”

    “Thank you,” I said nervously.

    “And who else is here for the first time,” she asked rhetorically.

    The New Guy opposite of me raised his hand.

    “Hello, I’m Bob. People call me.....Bob.”

    “Hi, Bob!” they again regurgitated without any genuine feeling.

    “Alright! Feelings Check! Let’s go. Who’s ready?!” She bellowed.

    A man raised his hand.

    “OK Danny, let’s hear it.”

    “Well today I’m doing great. Doin’ Awesome! I’m stoked!! I got promoted to line manager at the License Plate Factory.”

    Jesus, I thought....Does this guy have a life?

    “And I gotta raise. .74 Cents an hour, now I’m makin’.”

    Some members clapped their hands in a slow and muffled manner. This was like an Alan Smithee film.

    “That’s Great, Dan. Anything else to share?”

    “No ma’am.”



    “OK, next,” instructed Patty, in her procedural manner. She’d obviously ran these sessions hundreds of times before during her career as a psuedo-shrink on the cheap. Probably a low-grade Counselor who the prison hired on the cheap, knowing how tight with budgets they are.

    A man with long brown hair pulled parted in the middle raised his arm in the back in the middle of the circle.

    “Randy. OK, let’s hear it. What’ve you got for us today.”

    “Hi, name’s, Randy.”

    “Hi, Randy!” once again, like a football team in the locker room doing it’s Rah-Rah chant but with no soul.

    “I’m a....I’m....I’m pretty f*ckin’ pissed off. I’m really hot right now!”

    “Well, Randy, tell us how you really feel,” she said with in a jokingly polite manner.

    “I’m getting released in 8 months and I’m happy about that, but my lawyer says that my application for SSI (disability payments) was rejected because they don’t have any record of me living and working in Wyoming. I worked my butt off for over 20 years and paid taxes and now they won’t accept my application for a job-related disability that I qualify for It’s absurd! Absolute bullsh*t! But my lawyer is working on tracking those records down though!”


    “Well, good luck on getting that straightened out, Randy. Let us know how it goes.”

    “Thanks, Patty.”

    One guy in the group shook his head disapprovingly.

    Randy looked at him: “what?” he demanded.


    “You.”


    “What?!


    “Every week your oh-so pissed off. It’s one thing or the other, Randy,” said the man.


    “So?!” Randy countered.

    “You’re always complaining. If somebody gave you a bar of gold you’d complain that it’s too heavy to carry. You’re always angry here, even though you’re getting released soon,” he said.

    Randy fired back: “I’m not angry!! I just did a feelings check! Is that against the rules!” “That’s what we’re here for! It’s called FEELINGS CHECK! If you don’t want to hear about MY feelings then don’t listen---!”

    “I already tuned you out, Randy!”

    “Good!”


    “OK! OK! Gentlemen. Let’s move on. New topic,” said MC Patty.

    My mind was already wondering. This was so dull. But it was what I was willing to do to cast myself in the best light possible before the parole board. I was only her to ‘Tick the Box’ - like it seemed everyone else attending was.

    “Now, let’s turn to page 47 and read on the health benefits of Pineapples.....
    Last edited by Boots; 09-20-2018 at 01:31 PM.
    LWO Community strong!

  2. #2
    Thailand Lifer xiao mo's Avatar
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    Is this something to do with getting out of the Freakdoor Jail? Do what I do: Send a message to that e-mail they provide with a FECK YOU in bold capitals, then re-nic.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by xiao mo View Post
    Is this something to do with getting out of the Freakdoor Jail? Do what I do: Send a message to that e-mail they provide with a FECK YOU in bold capitals, then re-nic.
    LWO is about a man's journey through a difficult time and how faces adversity and what he learns along the way.

    Stay tuned for future editions.

    Chapters 1-17 are over at that other place.

    Thank you for responding, xiao mo.
    LWO Community strong!

  4. #4
    Interesting read.. did you write it, Boots?
    It reminds me of how I would do a feeling check in with my grade one students with a magic stick. They passed the stick around if they felt like talking to check in how they were feeling before the start of the day. It was a good gauge on how to approach them and the day. The rest of the story could be a good read, boots.

  5. #5
    Snippets from an ebook published a few years back, here is the first chapter of Thailand Calling

    https://thailandchatter.com/showthre...ll=1#post32600

    Second passage

    https://thailandchatter.com/showthre...ll=1#post53716

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by vendetta4real View Post
    Interesting read.. did you write it, Boots?
    Yes, it's from me.

    I've written short stories before.

    It reminds me of how I would do a feeling check in with my grade one students with a magic stick. They passed the stick around if they felt like talking to check in how they were feeling before the start of the day. It was a good gauge on how to approach them and the day. The rest of the story could be a good read, boots.
    Nice story on the magic stick.

    More chapters will be coming in LWO.

    Cheers.
    LWO Community strong!

  7. #7
    ^^Cool, thanks.
    ^Thanks.. what is LWO?

  8. #8
    Thailand Lifer xiao mo's Avatar
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    I also wondered what the acronym 'LWO' here are a few guesses:

    Love Won Out

    Limited Weather Observation

    Lesbians Without Opportunities

    Liquid Waste Operations

    Long Way Opening

    Liaising With Orangutans

    Ladyboy Warning Organization

    ....the list goes on

  9. #9
    Thailand Lifer Jesus Jones's Avatar
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    Life Without Orgasms

    Lefties Winge Obsessively

  10. #10
    Thailand Lifer palexxxx's Avatar
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    Lardarse Wobbling Over

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