...taught me more than I ever knew I didn't want to learn and some things I needed to learn.
Yesterday, I mentioned on my Monday Listicles post hating jail and several asked for a follow up. This one is for you!
...I know way too much about local chapters of national gangs. Enough to actually concern me when I drive thru the city, which says a lot given my 12 year history working in rough hood schools, and just past "enough" to cause me to double check all the windows and doors in my falsely secure suburban home some 20 miles North of the city.
I can tell you what ink you'll notice as you pass people on the street and what ink will be purposefully hidden so only the canvas knows of its placement. A series of dots now creates more of a response in me than just that damn ear worm "connect the dots La La LaLa". I can tell you I have walked the same halls as the two youngest most violent murders in the state.
Its a place where stereotypes thrive, are born, and some succeed in breaking even if it is a sentence hearing too late. Its a place where cement, no natural light, and no fresh air is ruled by some wizard in a safe room who grants passage from corridor to corridor with the buzz of a heavily plated lock. It's a place where souls and faces are significantly older than the number of birthdays displayed on their intake bracelets. It is a place where a frantically squawked "Code 2000!" brings guards dashing from behind every door. It is a place where the silenced cell phone hidden deep in my pocket is federal contraband.
I won't work without it.
I learned my upbringing is both coveted and mocked. I learned there is an entire demographic of ungrateful, well fed, properly clothed, electronically outfitted fuck off teenagers I'd like to slap in the face with an alternate reality. I learned a deeper appreciation for the food in my fridge and the lice free pillow I lay on nightly. I learned just how much I still take for granted even when I thought I had reached a place of gratitude and thankfulness for what and who is in my life.
I learned I hate jail.