We’re Free Again

So it’s the 4th of July. I feel more festive than usual, and I’d imagine all of you feel the same way for the same reason I do. We’ve been released from Covid Purgatory, that self imposed ”I’m a prisoner in my own home” quasi hades zone we’ve lived in since March 2020. And you all never thought you’d experience prison–ha! Welcome to my world.

The lifting of Covid restrictions has everyone dashing for vacations, buying cars and new homes. Funny what a year does thinking about the things you still want to do in life should this not be the Apocalypse after all.

There are so many staff at my institution taking vacations right now that it has been a boon for us dog handlers. I’m a handler in the staff dog program here and we have so many dogs with us right now that we’re drowning in K9 bliss. Funny how for the past year everyone wanted to be around their dogs, but now that everyone can actually go somewhere again Fido is sidelined. Ah, my gain though.

Another curious thing is  the number of staff quitting their jobs. They’re fleeing by the handfuls. It’s not just my institution either. It’s happening everywhere. I think it’s a combination of a tight labor market where better paying less stressful jobs are plentiful, and a realization after a year of pandemic that people want to do other things in life still. Who’s to say? All I know is that I’m sad to see some of the staff go. I might be a prisoner, but there are a number of good staff here. Men and women who have always treated us with dignity, respect and sincere desire to help.

I usually watch the fireworks from my window. I love the patriotic symbolism of the 4th. The town of London puts on a good show each year and I’m looking forward to what they do this year. Someone told me that Columbus, Ohio cancelled their firework display on account of pandemic concerns. What? Give me a friggin’ break. We can cram ourselves into concerts and sporting events like sardines again, but can’t watch an OUTDOOR fireworks event? Doesn’t make any sense. Does it make sense to you? At least I’ll be able to watch fireworks on television from Washington, D.C. If they cancel that one I just assume move to another country.

The holidays tend to be an adventure here. I’ve written about this before in the posts ”Cry Baby, Santa, and The Easter Bunny” and ”Groundhog Day”, but this year something odd has swept over the men. Everyone seems to be smirks and grins, which by it’s very nature would normally make me suspicious and leery. So what gives?

I think it’s because of the same reason all of you are in good spirits, lifted covid restrictions. Guys are able to workout again, move, play sports. Free to do as they please. The tension levels have dropped to near zero–unheard of.

I wonder if the past year gave guys pause and this can account for what I’m witnessing? I mean, experiencing covid sweep through my facility and watching men literally healthy one day, near death the next, gave me days on end of worry. I know it had to impact others, too.

I didn’t need covid to appreciate life, but the thought of possibly dying behind bars did cause me to frequently think of the things that matter in life. Of course, you all know this because I wrote about it. Anyhow, it all seems like a bad dream at this point.

As I write I can see from my window the fireworks show that just began at the nearby fair grounds. It’s quite a show for such a small county. I wonder if it’s bigger and nicer this year than last because of the pandemic? I guess I’ll never know.

We’re being served Angus burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and ice cream for the 4th of July. What? What the hell is going on? We never get stuff like this.

It has been a strange year, but I’m glad life is returning to normal.


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