Quite comfortable, I could talk about why so too. I don't know if that would be derailing this thread though.
No, I don't mind, if people are interested.Well I certainly am interested, but only if you feel comfortable doing so.
I didn't know about this before, so I must have missed the posts where you mentioned it.
So long as you can tie it in to the topic somehow, I have no objection (and that is my professional, moderatorial opinion).
I didn't know you were in jail. Do you mind providing more info/history? Thanks.
No, I don't mind, if people are interested.
I remember you mentioning it, and would be interested in hearing about your experiences. I guess in keeping with the context of the thread it would be interesting to hear your thoughts as to what are the chances that anyone would take a "stint in a monastery" as an option to "time in gaol".
LOL. Actually I spent time in "jail."
Maybe I should describe that fine institution:Cook County Jail is the world's largest jail, which does no good because it has one of the biggest (if not the biggest) single site population in the world. That is why it caught the attention of Fitzgerald, and he sent a scathing, threatening letter (93 pages I believe) to the cabal who run Cook County last July, while I was there (it was interesting to see the response).
To start, I have to say that in the decade of teaching, I have never seen such respect to the teaching profession as I saw in jail. While I was there everyone at first thought I was a lawyer. Except three people: one thought I was a judge, and another an accountant. They found out I was a teacher because I opened my mouth to correct them.
After I was there 2 weeks, one of the guards saw me, "in uniform" and a couple days beard (you don't get the opportunity to shave unless it is a day court is open, and you get one of the razors to shave (inmates sharpen plastic cards and other things to shave with), and said "are you a professor or teacher or something?" He was the only one to guess correctly.
When I was being processed for the holding cell at court, when the guards asked me what I did, and I said "teacher," they looked in stoney horror at each other, not saying a word. They had "my God, he doesn't stand a chance" written all over their faces. But the preferential treatment from the inmates started from the very beginning. When I got shipped into holding at the jail (small room with at least a hundred standing in it, not much ventilation to speak of) someone tapped me on the shoulder. When I looked behind, there were some guys on the bench who had moved aside and they said "teach, you sit here."
When we got in line to start processing for uniforms, someone in front of the line said something to me calling me "teach." When a couple of guys behind me heard that, they asked "are you a teacher?" with shock and awe. Someone else in line answered for me: "yeah, he's a teacher," and then, leaning out of the line and waving down towards its end said "so you all better show some re-SPECT!"
Standing out I had worried about (I had always thought of incarceration as only a matter of time). I had worked a summer at Walmart at night to try to make ends meet. The Americans all felt some sort of distance from me, that the job was beneath me, and I shouldn't be associating with such people (I got some of that in prison. "Why would you want to be with us hooligans?"). I got along mostly with the Bosnians because they were mostly in the same situation, and spoke limited English like I spoke limited Serbian, so they didn't feel such a distance. So I knew that fitting in for me was going to be a problem not of my making. I had figured that standing out would get you marked, and I figured that in prison that could get you dead.
There is a lot in prison of one wrong look, touch, etc. being able to set off a whole chain reaction. But a lot of that is because of the posturing that gangs require. It's almost like Kapu. X can't sit on Y's bed talking to Z because X, Y, and Z don't belong to the same gang so X can't sit along on Z's bed (though he can talk with him, play cards, etc.) and can't sit on Y's bed. Those not in gangs, the "neutrons" can do some things without getting in trouble. I wasn't even a neutron because the lattitude I got was far beyond what they did. Once, getting in line for breakfast (2:30 AM, I did not eat the entire time I was there, on a hunger strike, which was an amazement to the inmates. I did get the food to give away) I stood in the wrong place. Someone muttered under his breath "NOT here, THERE!" A recent gang arrival looked me up and down and said "they must really like you not to F---- you up!" at which point a gang member there for a while said "oh don't you worry Teach, we AAALLL watchin' yo' back!"
So, as far as monastic disciple. Yeah I can see them having it.
to be cont....