Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Laughter in the waiting room

It's a strange thing, this business of waiting, especially in prison. That's all we ever do seemingly - wait. We wait for all manner of things - letters, canteen day, visits to arrive, our hair to grow We get so used to waiting, in fact, that after a while we start to wait for nothing. Speaking personally, I have lost count of the times that I have had that feeling that I am waiting for something, but if asked I would have had to say that I had no idea what I was waiting for.  In fact that is the whole story of prison life - waiting - and the successful prisoner is the one who learns how to wait patiently. A lot of cons fall by the wayside, of course. They simply lose the plot with the frustrations of waiting and kick over the traces.

It's only stress brought on by the seemingly pointless waiting, but of course the prison service does not recognise that fact. Any prisoner who creates a disturbance or a fuss is punisbed FOR that disturbance or fuss - the causes are neither gone into nor cared about at all.

So we all sit and wait - all for different things, but that doesn't make the waiting any easier.

How is the waiting affecting me?

The main difficulty is that my sleep patterns have suffered. I don't get the sleep I need and most of the time I am dog tired.

But this perpetual waiting doesn't just affect the prisoner - it has stressful affects on others too, like family and friends. I have noticed over recent months that Boudica has changed gradually and my sense of humour isn't the only one that would appear to have taken an unauthorised leave of absence - hers is missing too. She is becoming a bit short with people and situations which, just a few months ago, she would have found funny and made fairly comical observations about.

Humour is the biggest aid to waiting and keeping down the stress levels that come from waiting. I use it all the time - sometimes quite offensively, as several people have noticed. I never intend  to be offensive but it often comes out that way, so if I should say anything that anyone finds offensive, try to remember that prisoners are under a great deal of stress and that allowances must  be made. Offence and malice are two different things.  I often make quick responses to situations which are basically jokes designed for no other purpose than to amuse - but they can be misinterpreted.

Many years ago, in my salad days, when I was nobbut a callow youth, I was strolling down The Strand in London during one of my trips ashore, when I was a mucky little matelot - just strolling, taking in the sights and eyeing the passing ladies, as we did in our youth. I was stopped by a group of Japanese tourists and one said (in a Japanese accent), "Excuse me! You tell me way please, Marble Arch!"

I said, "You found Pearl Harbour on your own, didn't you?" See! Quick. Not intended to be offensive, just witty.

Another time in Liverpool, when the ship was docked over the water in Birkenhead, I was in a dive called the Sierra Leone (a place that is still there today) and I had spent the night drinking  and dancing with a pretty little black girl called Danielle.  We had a good time - it was good fun.

Then, at about ten minutes to two in the morning, she asked me if I was going to walk her home when the club closed at two. I said, "I'm not walking all the way to Jamaica at this time of night."

She might still be laughing for all I know.

So, not only are remarks not intended to cause offence, they only cause offence to SOME folk - others find them funny.

So, what is the point of all that waffle?

There is no point. All I am saying is that there is nothing to report this week - nada, zero, zilch, nowt. We are bereft of any intelligence, we are clueless.

As I say, I'm just sitting here waiting for the time to pass.

The Voice In The Wilderness

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