Last Saturday we had a snowstorm and the power went out across the entire compound. When all the lights go off in a prison inmates immediately jump into action. I should have assumed nothing less would occur. The night started like many other evenings this winter. A dark, snowy, cold walk to the gym after 4 pm count. As we’re warming up for our workout the entire gym goes dark and the dim, battery-powered security lights come on. There is a generator system on the compound and it allows for limited power to each of the buildings, but the system doesn’t turn on automatically.
The CO on duty tells us to leave the gym and head back. As expected, COs are watching our every move from the moment we leave the gym until we walk through the doors back in the housing unit. I walk in and the ‘mayhem’ has already begun. I’m not talking about riots or fighting, but the preparation that occurs when a bunch of federal inmates has gone through multiple lockdowns. You never know how long one will last and what may come up. Immediately, all the showers are occupied and all hot water taps are being drained for cooking purposes. All chess boards are missing from the study hall and we settle in for what will be a dark and tranquil(ish) evening. Any food that was cooking in the kitchen downstairs is brought up along with various exercise equipment and cards.
A lot of people were frustrated that the Saturday night workout was taken away. I know the old version of me would have been. My immediate thought this time was that this has already occurred. Not a power outage, but the gym is closed, it’s done. Why in the world would I become upset? Tomorrow will be here in no time, and then the memory of any inconvenience of any given day, fades away into oblivion.