I was writing an email to a friend, who asked me to tell her something ‘gloriously interesting.’ I wish I could say that I spun a tale of incomparable intrigue, but…well…I live in BFE. Intrigue is nonexistent.
But we do have something here in my tiny town that you may not have in your big/medium/busy enough to have at least one stoplight town. And that is inmates! Working right next door! You say our tax dollars are wasted, but I say that my town is putting them to very good use. You can trust me, because I see it in action at least 2 days a week. Our brush is cleared and our Town Hall/Fire Department has a fresh coat of paint. All in all, it’s been a largely positive and unintrusive experience.
Well, except…well, here, you can read it for yourself.
[excerpted from email]…I’ve tried to think of something gloriously interesting to tell you, but it’s been a slow week in the swamp. The most exciting thing that’s happened in Kelford is that the convicts are back working next door. We live next door to the Town Hall/Fire Department on one side and the vacant lot the town owns on the other side. Since we are in a very rural area in general, we have a lot of prisons around here. Most are minimum security facilities with work programs, so you see a lot of inmates working on the side of the road, cutting brush and stuff. Apparently, you can also hire a group to come work for your town, which is what our town has done. So there they are, a couple of days a week, painting and clearing brush and making things prettier. Now I just consider it normal, and I don’t notice much anymore.
Before I left for ACL a couple of weeks ago, I was taking out the trash. It was the day before trash day, so I went ahead and moved our bin up to the street. I was dressed about as frumpy as I could possibly be- dirty t-shirt, old baggy jeans, total bed head (and when my hair’s this short, it sticks out all over the place), no makeup at all, not even my lipstick. Plus, I had an armful of trash. I wasn’t paying much attention to anything but the garbage when I noticed that the inmates were walking down the street (single-file, with no one allowed to speak, like my son’s Kindergarten class has to walk in the halls at school, with the only difference being rifle-carrying guard bringing up the rear in case anyone tried to break for it…which, geez, must be kinda humiliating). No big deal to me, I just nodded at the first guy in line like I would to any of my neighbors and went on about my trashing.
That’s when I felt it. Ten pairs of eyes, all staring at me. Staaaaaaaring at me. Like it was 99 cent beer night at Pantana Bob’s, and I was back in college, with my college bod, and had on an amazing push up bra and a low-cut shirt, and was the only girl in the room, and the Party Bus from Frat Row had just let off a load of passengers. I don’t think I’ve been ogled like that ever in my life. It was unsettling. Immediately, two thoughts came to mind-
1- Damn, those dudes are staring at me like they haven’t seen a woman in months! (I’m feeling pretty good, all of a sudden…)
2- Oh. They probably haven’t seen a woman in months. Damn. (I’m feeling pretty lame, all of a sudden…)
Ok, I guess I should go get cleaned up now, since it’s 11:30am, and the inmates usually show up in the afternoon…No! I mean because I need to look presentable when I go pick Noah up from school, yes…that’s exactly what I meant! Really…
Now, in addition to wearing clean underwear just in case I get in an auto accident, I won’t leave the house without lipstick. Just in case.