I Wish I Could Ctrl + Alt + Delete You?

Ctrl Alt Del

Clusterfuck

/ˈkləstərˌfək/

noun

A disastrously mishandled situation or undertaking.

As in: I recently visited my prison brother, and the experience was quite the clusterfuck. Let me set the scene…

On the night before the visit, my husband and I attended a concert at the state fair. My husband was terribly bored, leading us to leave early, and somehow turned into an incredibly stupid fight. We both anger-walked out to the car, hardly speaking, and then were pulled over shortly after leaving the parking lot, making the evening even sweeter.

The next day, I left work early for the visit. I pull into the lot much earlier than required and for a split second, I was feeling peaceful, happy to see my brother, and glad to be early to something for a change. I was ready to jam out to some music and collect my thoughts. Then, I realized – SHIT. I don’t have my FREAKING driver license. I had put it in my pocket for the fair and it was left on my nightstand. So I immediately enter panic mode and race home like a maniac, sprint inside, grab my I.D. and drive like a mad idiot all the way back. I’m late, but the visit time hasn’t begun yet so I may be in luck.

I run to the prison doors and enter. A very strange lady prison guard is standing by the metal detector, and continues to have random abrupt fits of laughter. I get through and head to the visitation room. The woman in charge sees me and exclaims, “Oh, no. You can’t do visitation in that.” WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, LADY? She responds, “Don’t you know our dress code? Nothing see-through is allowed”, referring to my (new) blouse I wore to work. See-through?? “It’s just my arms!” I say. It’s my freaking brother, for crying out loud. She says it’s not allowed, but fortunately is feeling generous so she also mentions that there is a dollar store around the corner if I hurry.

I have minutes until visitation starts. So I whip around, power walk out to my car and remember that my husband’s jacket is in the trunk. I don’t know if it will work, but I throw it on and run back inside. The aggressive laugher wiggles her finger at me and says jackets aren’t allowed either. EFF. Now I have less than minutes to get to this stupid dollar store. I run back to my car, and pull out my phone to GPS to wherever-the-hell it is. I take off. I’m raging out in my car now, yelling profanities, angry at myself for not knowing the damn dress code, trying not to murder pedestrians with my driving, and fly into the dollar store parking lot.

There are a strange amount of people loitering, having full, pleasant-looking conversations in the parking lot. They all freeze and stare at this maniac that just screeched in. I run into the store and find the clothing section. I grab the first shirt I see, run to checkout and there’s a line. When it’s my turn, I start to swipe my card and freeze. I realize that this freaking shirt is see-through too! I ask the checkout lady to wait and run back to the clothing. ALL THE SHIRTS ARE SEE-THOUGH – WHAT THE HELL IS THIS WORLD COMING TO?! Finally, I see a crappy blue t-shirt that seems solid enough, grab a large, and check out with the sweet little lady as she tries to make polite conversation.

She looks at my shirt, squeals delightfully, and exclaims, “Well isn’t this just the cutest shirt EV-ER! Is this what you do to people on the Facebook that you don’t want to be friends with anymore?” I realize then that the shirt says “I Wish I Could CTRL ALT DEL You” in ridiculous glittery lettering. Dear God. There’s no time. As politely as possible, I snatch the shirt from her and run out the door. I screech all the way back to prison, rip off my nice blouse, throw on this stupid shirt. That’s when I realize that I had grabbed a CHILD’S large. It was stupidly tight and short, making me look even more insane as I sprint past the Giggle Box to visitation, with only 5 minutes left – I made it. The officers try not to smirk at my appearance.

Finally, I’m able to see my brother via video chat. YES, it’s video chat. I get there just in time to pay for the 15 minutes I missed, and add an additional 15 minutes, totaling a $20.88 charge to visit my brother on a computer screen. Absolute robbery. It also costs $10.44 just for one 15-minute phone call. He looked happy to see me as I tried to focus and collect my thoughts after the clusterfuck that just occurred. He asks me how I am and what I’ve been doing, and I reply something IDIOTIC like “Well, not too much, it’s been pretty BORING and uneventful lately – tell me about what’s been going on with you!” Yes, I told my locked up brother (potentially 45 years to life) that I was bored with my freedom. Because I’m an asshole. He actually found it funny, and pointed out the stupidity, which I appreciated.

He then proceeded to tell me the most interesting prison stories. He and his roommates have been making trash bag “hooch” with oranges, sugar packets, bread, water, and other stuff. Apparently, the oranges bring the yeast out of the bread, and when it ferments, it tastes like total shit but lets them get crunk. He also filled a trash bag with loads of water and uses it to work out with, which I thought was very creative of him. He’s thinking of getting some prison tats, and promised me he’d make sure the needles are clean – so that’s nice…

Most interestingly, he told me that he’s been doing a little dating. A couple of floors above him is where the women stay. He and his roommates have been communicating with them via toilet pipes… Yes. Toilet dating. He said if you stand on the toilet, and talk loudly into the pipes, that you can have actual conversations with the ladies up there. He said that you can actually write them as well. How you ask? Well, he said he wrote a little bio of himself, put it in a plastic bag, and flushed it in the toilet. He refers to this process as “sending a kite”, which I feel is a real missed opportunity (why wouldn’t you call it “flying a kite”??). He said if you hold the flusher, that the message goes up a couple of floors and the girls pass it around until someone is interested in him. Then, they begin their courtship. Sounds magical.

And yes, my brother does have schizophrenia, so this story may not be real. But I’d like to think that it is. It seemed real when he was explaining it. My husband suggested that maybe the pipes are full of water, and when he puts the message in the plastic bag, the air carries it upward to the women’s floor. Who knows. It’s prison romance.

And too soon, my visitation time runs out. I’m in my stupid-ass-too-small shirt, and do the walk of shame back out to my car feeling the eyes of many onlookers. I had another engagement to attend after this visit, so I take off my shirt to put my blouse back on and see that when I ripped it off, I also ripped a huge hole in the delicate fabric.

So I decide to call it a day.

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32 responses to “I Wish I Could Ctrl + Alt + Delete You?

  1. Your brother has schizophrenia and is in jail – that is the most tragic aspect of this whole story. Good on you for maintaining your own humour.

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    • Yes, it is tragic. I try to think of it like – if he wasn’t in prison, even more terrible, unthinkable things could have happened. Obviously, this is no where close to being the ideal situation. Ideally, he would not be there and instead would be receiving treatment somewhere. But he may never believe that he’s ill, so maybe this is the only way he’d be safe? This is me trying to be optimistic… not something I’m great at. Haha. But I’m trying. I find that humor really helps. 🙂

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  2. kat

    oh, hun, i am so sorry for your horrible day. the whole thing about the blouses, esp since it isnt even a person-to-person visit, is ridiculous. and having to pay for the part of the visit you missed is messed up too. i suppose thats how they ( the police authorities) make most of their revenue!

    but i am glad you had a shirt that really matched your feelings atm! how did that work out?! and i am glad you still got to visit with your brother, and it doesnt matter what you talk about, it matters that you were there for him. and he is happy for that and it means a lot to him im sure. so you still did what you came to do.

    and next time, youll know all this, and youll be prepared and not so stressed. remember, you are important to him, and any contact matters. you are awesome!

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    • Haha, thank you for your sympathy! Yes, the stupid shirt ended up being quite funny after-the-fact. I’m glad I was able to be there for him. I can’t imagine the disappointment one would feel if your one video chat visit for the week was a no-show. Talk about a major bummer.Thanks for the encouragement!!

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  3. Wow all that for video chat? 😦

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  4. I exchange snail mail with a man in prison 5,000 miles away from here. He’s not related to me, but the total cost of communicating with him is two or three sheets of paper, an envelope, and a $1.05 stamp. For that reason I have significant compassion for the king’s ransom your visit to your brother cost you (gas, price of shirt, price of video visit). There must be a better way.

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    • I bet that snail mail exchange is something he really treasures. I feel like the prison system is draining my wallet and will be for a long time to come. My husband and I have this terrible conversation each time we reevaluate our budget – how many phone calls and visits can we afford to pay my brother each month? If we cut out one phone call, we save ourselves $10.44. Then we feel like assholes because wouldn’t we rather spend that money for my brother than on something stupid like a Subway sandwich for lunch one day? Writing letters is much more economical, but I know he’d much rather see or hear me. It’s tough.

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  5. Toilet dating, that cracked me up haha. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. a total shame you had to go thru all that 😦

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  7. Ha ha ha! I am so sorry I am amused , but the way you narrated everything makes it all humorous. But on a more serious note, I guess that is how life is 😦 Its a huge joker. It likes to mock us at our expense.

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  8. whenlifeisgood

    This episode made me sweat, really. But, you did get to chat.

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  9. Jennifer DaMomme

    I was anxious for you and glad you got your visit

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  10. wangoed

    I am having a shitty time and this post made me laugh a bit. Thank you for sharing your foolishness, as it is amusing.

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  11. Oh my. What a time. I didn’t know they did prison visit video chats, let alone charged for them. Don’t they want prisoners to have visitors??

    Now you can honestly say, I visited my brother in prison and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

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  12. This should be told on The Moth. Great story.

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  13. LMFAO! Sorry, I know that you didn’t find a bit of it funny at the time; however, it’s absolutely crazy when you “run against the wind” as I call it…Used to do that on occasion myself and I’m sure its gonna happen again someday and I hope I will have the courage to simply vent it all out, give it a couple of days, then laugh my a*^# off.

    Yes, the “sending a kite” through the toilet is a very real prison experience.

    They did that at the county jail where I waited ten long months for my trial. I tell you what else is crazy about jail life-they come and make you clean your cells out at 3am in the morning and you’ve got a date with the Judge at 8am and all you wanna do is swat the cleaning lady with the broom like she’s a pesky housefly.

    Just thought I’d thank you for following my blog and see how you’re doing…
    Hopefully today has been mellow and smooth for ya! – LaVancia

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  14. I know it might have been far from funny at the time, but your exasperated sense of humour made me chuckle. You seem like an awesome sibling!

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  15. What a great story! I’m glad it turned out well for both you and your brother after all. Thanks for the follow, I will definitely be back to read more of yours. 🙂

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  16. Uggggggghhhh, what a day. Glad you were finally able to connect with your brother, even if a TV screen.

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