Friday, February 1, 2008
There is a maze of tunnels running beneath these hospital grounds.
They run from the former mental institution where I'm presently confined, all the way to the main hospital building on the hill. Years ago, they were used to transport patients back and forth when they were sick. Or rather, when they were sicker so they could see the doctor for special treatment. It was a great way to keep them from escaping on foot. It was also a great way of keeping them out of the public eye.
Out of sight, out of mind. Literally.
From what the director of the program tells us, these buildings have been around since the Civil War. Wow, the Civil war. One half of the country trying to kill the other half over the right to own people from half way around the world. That doesn't sound too civil to me. But I digress. It's what I do.
I'm here in a two week confined rehab program because I drank, drove, and got caught...for the second time.
I'm one of 72 people who have been told it is this or jail. Fifty eight men, and 14 women stuck in a mental institution to be taught how to behave. Because if we repeat the behavior that got us this far, we don't have a choice; and we'll be out of sight for a long time.
I'm here for what I believe are the right reasons.
But it appears that most of the people in this program just want to party. The want to drink, drug, swear, smoke, gamble, fight and fuck. All of the activities that will get you kicked out of here. And I can't blame 'em. We are one and the same, except I don't want to be like this anymore. And I believe doing this will help make that desire become a reality.
Believe it or not, my roommate is doing his second tour of duty here. He made it all the way to day 10 and then he snapped. He's actually a very nice guy. Mid 40s, dirty blond buzz cut, mustache and built like a Pit bull. He's extremely nervous and moves and talks very quickly. He keeps telling me I can use his stuff whenever I want. Powder, Q-tips, shaving cream, you name it. He just offered me some cough drops from the bottom drawer of his bureau. He said, and I quote, "Feel free to open my drawers any time you feel like it."
Lemme tell you why he is repeating drunk school. Oh, yeah...and he does have to pay for it again.
From what he tells me, some guy in the last class kept coming on to him. I guess he touched my roomie on the shoulder and roomie didn't like it. Then he touched him again and roomie told him to fuck off. Then, so says roomie, this guy touched him on his inner theigh(sic). His words not mine. Roomie freaked and pushed this dude so hard in his folding chair that he went sailing clear across the classroom.
No, regardless of how many times he says it is OK, I won't be opening his drawers anytime soon.
Recent Groundbreaking events:
I learned the F word originates from the middle ages. Apparently, a decree was put forth by some old King in England. It stipulated that no one may fornicate without his consent.
Therefore: No Fornication Unless Consent by King. For reals.
Friggin' though, is still a mystery.
I've learned a lot in just two and a half short days.
I've learned that, under certain circumstances, it is perfectly acceptable to season your plate of food before tasting it.
I learned that the Tewksbury Piggery stench does not reach the State hospital grounds.
I learned that it is great to get mail in lockup. Thanks Aunty.
I learned that I miss my family and friends more than I could possibly imagine.
And, I learned that 80% of the staff here are former clients.
This last statement is absolutely true, and it blows my mind. Each time the counselors address the group and tell their story, I smile. Because, they are not just a bunch of would be cops. They don't work here because it gives them a sick thrill to exercise control over others.
I learned that they're just like me; a good person who did stupid shit under the influence of an insidious substance. They sat in the same uncomfortable folding chairs that I have to. They ate the same bland institutional food that I have to. They slept on the same thin dark green plastic mattress on the top bunk, that I have to. They made the same mistakes I did, and had to face the same unfortunate consequences that I have to...and they made it out.
And, now, they tell us what we can and cannot do. They tell us we can't go outside unless they authorize it. They tell us not to complain about the heat because it's controlled by the hospital on the hill. And the people who run the hospital don't like us because we are mentally ill and are a danger to the public.
We're kept under tight control here in the hot house at the bottom of the hill with the tunnels underneath.
It's a great way to keep us from escaping on foot. It is also a great way of keeping us out of the public eye.
Out of sight, out of mind. Literally.
Thanks for reading, Stay tuned
F. Alex Johnson.
(transcribed by Muskrat)
Posted by F. Alex Johnson at 2/01/2008 03:59:00 PM