second degree banana

The -2 Degree Banana

Every morning at breakfast we are offered oatmeal, 2 cartons of milk, a donut and an apple. In terms of mealiness and instantaneous browning upon biting into said apple, the consistency across the board is astounding. On the weekends, if you are so lucky and also choose to not sleep in, you show up at the chow hall and they are serving a banana instead of an apple. To play it safe, the bananas are far from ripe, but that’s better than being rotten.

No fresh produce is offered via commissary. We frequently have oranges at lunch but as far as leafy greens, or any green vegetable, the closest you’re getting is canned green beans or a few sprigs of romaine lettuce. This makes the infamous weekend banana all the more tempting.

A couple weeks back I asked a friend how his Saturday was going and he responded, with all sincerity, “It’s fantastic, I had a banana this morning.” To think, some of you maybe just left the grocery store, bought as many bananas as you wanted and then brought them home to eat at your leisure. We aren’t allowed to bring food out of the chow hall and I understand it. The prison wants to eliminate anything perishable inside the housing units. Hence the excessive amount of sodium laden cured meats available to inmates.

The first weekend in March was COLD. That biting, windy, Midwest cold. The unit is warm, my bunk bed is as toasty as a metal bunk bed in prison can be, but I’m faced with a dilemma – I’m craving that banana. So I wake up around 6:00am, get changed and wait for mainline to be paged over the intercom. Then I began the icy, dark walk to the chow hall and stand in line with my fingers crossed, hoping it’s not only a banana day, but mine has even a slight shade of yellow to it. A guy can wish.

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