Seems Ironic that I would spend any time inside a ten foot square box beings that I purchased a domain entitled TenFootSquare after complex meditation on a Japanese Philosophical Classic that I recently had sold weeks earlier to a friend of mine.
Seems Ironic that at moments it was the very peace that this Japanese Philosophical Classic entitled Hojoki brought to me inside that ten foot square was what probably kept me alive.
It was that and the Saint of La Mesa.
Inside La Mesa Prison lies a dark and horrid place like non other I had ever been. And I hope I never visit any place like it again.
The Cell was Ten Foot by Ten Foot with a primitive ‘South American Style’ raised toilet. A fifty gallon drum stood in one corner with a garden hose connecting to a primitive looking iron pipe. This was the toilet water and shower water. A 5 gallon bucket of drinking water was delivered each day around 10am. It is I assume filtered water but it was always in a communal bucket that wasn’t guaranteed to be up to par cleaniness wise and we were made to dip from it using our dishes which were actually styrofoam cups that we ate our soup from each day.
These elements alone were of heightened punishment of themselves. Now cram 30 people into the damn cell and you have a nightmare. However, one thing I found amazing. They had a rudimentary level of respect for everyone in the cell and their private space.
For some reason I was given preferential treatment. Partly because I shared much of my soup with them because of my inablity to stomach it most days. And partly because I managed to trade items of interests for cigarettes. I seemingly learned within a day that smoking wasn’t such a bad habit. It passed time and it managed to quench my hunger from trading food.
During those days I was surviving on cigarettes and thin wafer cookies that were shared around. I was smoking roughly ten cigarettes a day and it was keeping me sane. Sortof.
Much of my day was spent staying awake yet laying down on the hard iron bed which was often shared by as many as 2 other people. After the first day the stench was tolerable and even seemed ok.
You’ve now entered my world. My ten foot square cell… In the next post I will introduce you to some of the world’s strangest moments. The humanity and sharing of the Mexican commoner amazes me.