Today I am surviving my first Christmas behind bars. Tonight is Christmas Eve. My cellie, Ron Schwartz, and I were just whistling and singing Christmas carols together in our cell. The song was, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”
My days are bizarre in jail. My concept of date and time has become severely altered. I guess I didn’t know it was actually Christmas Eve until right now! I’ve fallen into such a dominant daily routine that I’ve lost track of all societies “important days.” Every day seems to be the same in this cell block.
I experience such little change in here. I am basically totally quarantined from the outside worlds ritualistic pressures. As I write this, I am just suddenly awakening from my deep routine, and I am missing the little things that make the holiday seasons special. I suddenly realize I miss the Christmas cookies, and the presents, and the hugs and kisses from my family and friends. I miss the snow. I miss the food. I miss my families tradition of waking up early and traveling to the ski hill to spend the day skiing. I miss shaking hands with my Uncles, and explaining to everyone how great my life is going.
I just experienced a few revelations on how potentially powerful the routine I am developing in jail actually is. When my cell mate and I were singing Christmas carols, I felt as if something wasn’t right. On a normal week, I never sing Christmas songs. It made me wake up to this reality that I’ve created as normal. I suddenly looked around, and noticed my surroundings haven’t changed at all for the last three months.
Even on Christmas Eve, the cell block is full of the same people in orange jumpsuits that have also been here the last few months. They’re playing the same card games, and reminiscing over the same stories that they’ve been telling since September.
I have totally lost track of the seasonal routine of the outside world. I have begun a new routine of life in here where my conditions never change, and everything is always the same.
I realized tonight, on Christmas Eve, that I am becoming “accustomed” to my situation. This is becoming my “normal” now.
I woke up from my “new normal” for a second, and realized how much I suddenly miss Christmas Eve back home.
Oh well, on into my future I go.