Living in the Department of Motor Vehicles© By Sera “Bureaucracy- an execution chamber in which the

condemned are alternately strangled by rules, clubbed with paper and starved in lines” Alexander Yarrowville
“Life is a long lesson in humility” James M. Barrie “Life –Just one damn thing after another” Elbert Hubbard Everyday is the same in prison. Monotony over and over. One of the most tedious and excruciating things we do here is the daily “pill line.” This is where after a meal we are bustled along like cattle, mooing our way to the end of campus to attend the only line that equals the endless canteen line. We are moved en mass behind secure gates to a building with three windows. Each window has a sign overhead indicating A-L, M-S, T-Z. These are obviously the first letter of our last name. So we divide into separate lines before our allotted window and await our dope. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Well, technically, it should be, but it, is like everything else in prison isn’t what it seems or should be. First of all we’re talking about three windows with one nurse in each, dealing out pharmaceuticals to approximately 1200 women. As a result, the lines are insufferably long. That’s the first problem. The second problem is that while the nurses are supposed to have all of our meds previously picked out and ready to go in individual packets, there is inevitably an endless list of things wrong. They forgot a pill, they put in the wrong dosage, they added a pill that is not supposed to be there, etc. So what you have are 1200 addicted angry PMS’ing women in prison, standing in either the blistering sun or the freezing cold, waiting in a line that never ends to get dope that doesn’t even get you high. Nobody’s happy. But you have to go! You cannot miss pill line or you’ll get days taken and disciplinary paperwork. You could even go to lock (the jail within the jail). So we go, oh yes, we go. Then as if the issues the nurses have with keeping all our meds straight aren’t enough, you get what I call the “whiners”. These are people who act like every time we go to pill line it is the first time they’ve ever been there. They ask an endless barrage of questions they have to already know the answers to: “What’s this pill? What milligram is this? Why

don’t I get two of these? Can I have some aspirin, my head hurts?” And a host of other utterly ridiculous requests that everyone already knows better than to ask. “I wanna see the doctor, my leg hurts, I’m hot, I’m cold, I’m at the perfect temperature, these pills make me tired, these pills make me cranky, these are too many pills, Can I have more pills? What’s the side effect of vitamin C?” etc, etc, etc. Behind the woman shrilly droning on and on is a line of impatient toe-tapping, complaining, and finally, yelling other women, who will bitch about how long it takes to get to the window all the way there and then immediately turn around and ask her own mundane litany of idiotic requests. It is a hell. My friends, I fantasize about the day I can merely stroll into Walgreen’s, stand in a five-person line, and just get all my medications for the month. Can you imagine having to go somewhere every time you have to take a dosage of your blood pressure medication or an aspirin? It would get pretty redundant. And it does, believe me. It does nothing for my cheery disposition. So, you in the free world who bitch about the long lines at the bank or Wal-Mart? I give you Lowell Prison Pill Line-the DMV of the penitentiary.


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