7.22.2005

Captive Audience

So I went to the state prison last night--the really scary one up at Point of the Mountain. What can I say? True love makes you do crazy things.

Only I just remembered that one day my dad might read this and I really don't want him calling me up to ask me what the crap I'm thinking of, so let's just clarify that I did not visit the Utah State Correctional Facility to pick up guys.

I went to be part of the Healing Power of Music.

My roommate AA's grandparents are serving a mission up there at the prison. They work in the family history center, which I think is a great idea. Let's just put all the inmates to work in family history centers! Then they can do my family history for me, because let's face it, I have a job and they don't.

The family history center is in the Chapel building, and they hold church services and activities and things there as well. Last night was an Activity Night, and AA's grandparents asked if she would come and play her harp (she is a brilliant harpist). AA agreed because she's done this before for them, and even got another harp friend to come too. (Now go back and read the title of this post and have a chuckle at how funny I am.)

Then she asked if I wanted to come to the prison to watch.

Me: Like, watch you play?

AA: Yeah

Me: But can't I do that at home? Without the convicts?

AA: It's actually a really cool experience. I mean, it feels strange to be there at first, but the inmates who come to these things are the ones who are trying to turn their lives around, and they really appreciate things like this.

(Ugh. Did I mention that in addition to being a brilliant harpist, she's also a very generous and caring person?)

Me: Yeah, I bet they do. Okay, fine. I'll go with you sometime.

AA: Great. It's next Thursday and I'll need your driver's license number, Social Security number, and birthdate. Now would be great.

(Did I also mention that behind her sweet exterior there's this will of iron? Dang German ancestry . . . )

So last night AA, a guy friend, and I drove to the slammer. (Rules for visiting: no jeans and no tight shirts. I'm not even kidding.) On the way there, AA chose to reveal a key bit of information.

AA: Oh . . . by the way . . . I talked to my grandpa today and he says it'll be a smaller group tonight.

Me: Okay . . . what does that mean?

AA: Well . . . it's just a different group than the one I usually play for.

Me: Different how?

(pause)

AA: It's kind of the sex offenders.

Me: WHAT??? It's Sex Offenders Night?? Are you kidding me??

AA: I didn't actually know that when I agreed to come play. But it'll be fine.

Me: Um, I don't think sex offenders need to hear harp music, okay? They probably wouldn't even appreciate it. Why couldn't they have invited us to Tax Evasion Night or something?

AA: (smiled sympathetically)

Only then I remembered that I'll be sitting in the audience next to Guy friend. The sex offenders wouldn't staring at me for 45 minutes--they would be staring at AA. Then I felt like a jerk.

It ended up not being that bad, though. And as AA predicted, it was even kind of cool. Most of the guys who were there didn't look or act like creepy guys at all--I felt kind of bad for some of them. They looked like guys you might see at church or something. I know, they've done really really bad things, but they're the ones who are going to church services and working on family history and taking classes and listening to harp concerts. Plus it turns out they weren't all sex offenders. Some of them were there for murder.

We had an opening and a closing prayer, and everyone was very reverent and quiet and laughed at AA's jokes and gave AA and her friend a standing ovation when they finished. They asked all kinds of good questions about the harp and how it works, and said how much they appreciated the beautiful music.

When they were all finished answering questings, a bunch of people came up to shake AA's hand and thank her, and for a second I thought, "Gaagh! Why is there mingling? Is there supposed to be mingling???" Then I thought that I'd better get over it and just mingle like a nice person.

And of course, I ended up with Skeezy Guy. He didn't say or do anything creepy, but there was something about him that was just off. We talked about music, and I kept watching his eyes, thinking, "Okay, as soon as I see them go lower than my face I am gone." He's been in there for 11 years, and I don't even want to think about what puts you in prison for 11 years.

When we left I mentioned to AA that the inmates did seem like a nice bunch, but that I managed to talk with the skeeziest guy there.

AA: "You mean Farrell?"

Me: "Yeah, you know him?"

AA: "Yeah, I usually keep an eye out for that one. He's . . . a little different."

Perfect. Who says I can't find me a man?

9 comments:

daltongirl said... [reply]

I actually had about two or three chuckles at how funny you are.

You go, nemesis! And who says sex offenders can't turn their lives around? You never know.

Cicada said... [reply]

Bwahahahaha! That is sooooo funny. I especially liked the comment, "Plus it turns out they weren't all sex offenders. Some of them were there for murder." Brilliant.

Streets of Belfast said... [reply]

Speaking of sex offenders, did I tell you that the sex offender that lives across the street from me is moving? !!!!

Chris said... [reply]

That's Brave..

And kind..

Kudos to you and your friend. Not many people are willing to be a good samaritian.

It was funny post too, which I dig ;)

ambrosia ananas said... [reply]

Wow.

Savvymom said... [reply]

So did you give any of them your number so they can call you once they turn their lives around?

Nemesis said... [reply]

Yeah, I had my number pinned to the front of my too-tight shirt. Then I got up and did this sexy dance during one of the harp numbers. I think they'll still remember me after the next 10-15 years.

CoolBoyH said... [reply]

Maybe you could get all your old London friends together and do your Spice Girls act. I'm sure Farrell would really appriciate your musical ability.

Irrational logic said... [reply]

Ok, so you don't know me, but I just got through laughing my, ummm dairy aire off (have to keep it appropriate for the bubble)...

I just completed an internship at the prison, yeah the very same one that you went to, now I realize that it isn't as bad as people want to make it out to be, but there is something inherently wrong with gettting cat calls from convicted drug offenders, (I am male and worked in the female drug offender treatment program) even if it is just to try and embarass me!

I feel your pain. My intership is over now, but ya know I really do miss them (not the cat calls)...

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