Life passes quickly, murderously.
The walk from Georgetown to Virginia over the Key Bridge passes quickly too one night, cold air pushing exhaust from passing cars safely into the atmosphere, away from me on the surface. Borf-like graffiti in blue-stenciled print draws my eye to the sidewalk, admonishing me to “Stop Building Prisons.”
On the other side, I sit with my drink at a coffee shop, watching the evening crowd queuing to dress their coffee with half-and-half, 2% and nonfat milk, sugar and spice at the counter that has no name but should—the Patagonia, as I think of it. Some people are nice at the Patagonia, whereas others wish only to drink their coffee sometime before they die, sometime soon.
In the newspaper, Mayor Adrian Fenty agrees that life is too short. Squeezed by the recession, the city hopes to save $4.4 million during the next fiscal year by allowing as many as 80 percent of its prison population to qualify for early release, which would reduce the daily average of 3,000 inmates by two percent. To qualify, prisoners must pass a battery of physical fitness tests, demonstrating also proficiency with either small arms or at least one video game—no written tests required.
Nothing in life forces a self-accounting quite like contact with the police or with a law firm performing due diligence, adding and subtracting, pulling off-balance matters back onto the ledger. The man hears a summary unlike that which I tell colleagues, young women and that proverbial business opportunity in the elevator.
No judgments have been issued against me, unless you count that restraining order—and I don’t. My record includes three arrests, two in 1997 and one in 2006, all resulting in misdemeanor convictions. “But I served no jail time!” would be my epitaph, someday.
Which is not entirely true, either: I once lived in the District of Columbia.
Posted by M@ at 1:02 PM