So the inmate I have been seeing (I can’t even write that with a straight face) wanted to have a video chat with me from jail. Which is a great technological advancement. Instead of actually having to go down and stand in a line you can now visit your near and dear via web chat. I can see it being a good thing for close family, friends and busy lawyers. For me, it’s just an annoying reason to put on clothes and makeup.
Since I’m unemployed I really have no good excuse to NOT do a video chat. I have endless hours available to me. Much like my inmate. At least he has some structure. He gets told when things are going to happen, he follows that routine and then fills the rest of his time with whatever they let inmates do. I, on the other hand, have no structure. I don’t even have a board game.
This lack of structure can be stressful; I have to create it myself. I hate routine. But it’s also really good to have when you are unemployed. Which in the last three years has been a lot, so believe me. I could stay up until 4 am and wake up at 4 pm. But without structure, I just feel like a loser. Looking for a job is a full-time job so no slacking lady! Maybe I’m a bit hard on myself.
So I wake up, meditate, look for jobs, exercise, look for more jobs. Write, if I’m inspired. Then try to figure out what to do with the other 22 hours of the day.
So there really is no reason to hate having an excuse to look presentable. Even if it is a video chat from jail. But when you wear sweatpants all day, every day, without a bra, suddenly you want to get all feminist and burn those representations of male oppression. And shaving your legs? I’ll be a Portland hippie in no time if I don’t get a job.
I suck it up, though, and get dolled up for my first video chat. Despite any feelings, or lack thereof, that I have for this guy, I should at least give him a show, right? He wants me to spray my letters with perfume. Which I also can’t do with a straight face. So if I can’t offer him that, I could at least look nice for our chats.
After having done my research about what it takes to do a video chat and testing my computer to make sure it works, I sign on at our scheduled time. I sit there waiting for my inmate to show up. And I wait. And I wait. Five, ten minutes pass. These chats have a 25-minute cap so I’m starting to get annoyed. Did a guy in JAIL just stand me up? How rude! I mean, I’m sure shit goes down in jail but when you say you are gonna meet up with someone, you should follow through. I don’t give a fuck where you are.
At the 25 minute marker the video chat shuts down and I go wash the makeup off my face. Looking in the mirror I’m ask myself, how did you get to this point? How does someone who has even less going for him than you, someone who is in jail, stand you up? Existential crisis may now commence.
A bit later I get a free-from-jail phone call and I take it despite my previous downward spiral. Apparently there were technical difficulties and he tried to make it work. Man, where have I heard these stupid excuses before? Oh right, my ex. Who wasn’t in jail but was a loser just the same.
I forgive my inmate and accept that he’s probably telling the truth. I can imagine technology isn’t that advanced in jail. I can imagine lots of things but I have a Mac so I have no idea what computer problems are like in general.
We eventually, sorta made the video chat work. I don’t think we have had a video chat that has been completely functional. The second time we spoke the video froze and all I could see was some creepy guy in the background with an orange jumpsuit staring at me. For like ten minutes. I really hope my inmate doesn’t share my information with that guy.
The last time we spoke, though, was the best. I could hear him but he couldn’t hear me. Which is fine by me. I was starting to feel comfortable with these video chats, despite getting mad dogged from other inmates. So when I got the last video date request I, of course, accepted. I got all dressed up, makeup and bra on. And then sat there for 25 minutes without him showing up. I rolled my eyes and assumed technical difficulties.
A little later I got a phone call from my inmate. He began by apologizing. I was like, what for? Apparently he slept through our video date.
So who wants to start the bra-burning bonfire?