One of the many joys when living in a room with up to 16 other people is the use of the alarm clock, especially if all 16 of those people are on different schedules.
If you are the first one up and out of the room every morning, like I usually am since I work at food service, you don’t notice it much. But for the individual that sleeps in every day, there is a good chance they hear anywhere from 8-16 different alarms go off every day, as early as 5:30 am, which is the first food service move, and all the way till 7:30 am, which is the standard work call for the rest of the compound. So the inmates that you have left that will sleep past the last work call is unit orderlies, who clean and sanitize the unit, and anyone with a day off.
Some compounds you can get away with not having a job or having a job that you simply have to check in one time a day, but here at Yankton, our fine officers make sure everybody is participating and doing their part.
I have always been an early riser before I came to prison, and it has stayed constant throughout my time incarcerated. At Milan, I never really noticed any alarm clock except my own, because I would be the first one up, and then I would be out of the room and on the compound or at the gym. Most people in Milan, especially the ones that I lived with, didn’t have jobs, so they never got up early. When I came to Yankton, I went straight to AM food service, and my work times have ranged from 5:30 am – 6:45 am, and therefore once again, I would be the first one up. On the weekends, I have always worked out with some type of cardio and set my alarm for 6:00 am, and once again, I am the first one up.
Then one day, I got sick and was put on medical leave from work, and I slept in, and that’s when I realized the chaos of the alarm clock. First 5:30am, then 5:45, 6:20, 6:30, 6:55, 7:25, 7:30, and 7:35. It finally stopped, or so I thought, and then right when I got back to sleep, another went off at 8:00 am. Nine alarms in total and I was wondering how an orderly could ever get used to this; I would think you would just get up and do your job between those hours. Ivan and Pepper don’t seem to mind as they are the last two still sleeping; it must be months if not years of training that allows them to sleep through it because I never see a flinch.
The reason I brought this up today is that I did something entirely different this morning, and it has become my signature move as I am usually the first one up. I woke up early as I so often do. It’s Saturday, and I always have my alarm set for 6:00am, but I had been tossing and turning since 5:15, and finally, at 5:45, I just said screw it, got up, and made my cup of coffee. I grabbed my MP3 player and went downstairs excited because I had purchased a bunch of new songs from NF’s new album, and I couldn’t wait to hear them.
I went on with my day, completed my morning ritual, and don’t worry; I will spare you of the details, completed my workout, and went into work. As I am at work, one of my roommates, Chris, comes up to me as I am sitting at a table with another one of our roommates, and Chris asks, “have you given him shit yet?”
Puzzled not knowing what he is getting at, I think he is referring to the two granola bars I have sandwiched together like he’s accusing me of breaking some diet I am on, and he says, “you forgot to turn off your alarm clock this morning!” I thought, “Shit! I did it again.” Usually, when I wake up early before I jump down I slide the button over on my alarm clock, but every once in awhile I forget and just jumped down and go on with my day, so at 6:00 am it goes off for a full minute, and my alarm clock is loud because it has to be since I am such a heavy sleeper, and then it stops for a minute, then it sounds again for another full minute, then it stops for about 5 minutes and then finally goes off for another full minute.
Chris said by this time everybody in the room is laying in their beds swearing, but they don’t know who they are swearing at because no matter how many times this has happened they haven’t investigated, but Chris knows whose it is, and he’s just laying there laughing.
So now, I am back in the unit writing this email and getting ready to go upstairs and possibly face the music when I have to once again apologize to the handful of my roommates who have figured out who keeps leaving their alarm clock on. It’s kind of like office space, where the main character has to hear it from all three of his bosses every time he screws up, well, in this case, I have 16 bosses, and I have only heard it from one so far.
Wish me luck, and thanks for listening!