“Time waits for no one.” – Unknown
I live inside a vacuum. To me, the world halted the night I got arrested. September 2, 2011. I still look at life the way it was almost 2 years ago. In essence, I am being left behind. Life goes on for the rest of the world, while I and so many others struggle with the process of being cutoff from modern evolution. For instance, I have absolutely no idea what Instagram is. To me, it does not exist.
This is just one example of how our world is nothing but a shadow cast off by the real world, the world outside of these walls.
We became distant memories to people that meant the world to us. We became forgotten lovers and used-tobe’s and remember him’s? We become irrelevant. We become the scapegoat to peoples problems, our incarceration the only proof needed to justify the belief that we are the cause for others problems, we are the reason they suffer. We have become the excuse. Just as so many people blame the government for their struggles. Never stopping to look at themselves or their own personal lackings. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things that I myself have not been perfect in, just as there are many mistakes our government has made, yet like I have said so many times before, it takes two halves to make a whole.
Now before I get totally off topic, let me return to the beginning, which is how the world I once knew no longer exists.
They say so often that the world we live in is based around computers, yet in prison there are none. No training what so ever having to do with computers.
To give you an example of how far removed from society a prisoner in California is I’ll tell you about a conversation I recently had. It was with a friend of mine who has been in prison for 31 years but will most likely be paroling relatively soon. We were walking around the track one morning and he said he wanted to speak to me about something but could we keep it between ourselves. Now being in prison, this can sometimes be a bad thing because sometimes just a simple conversation can involve you in something that you really didn’t want to be involved in. So I took a minute and thought about it before saying, sure, what’s on your mind.
Well he gets all quiet and secretive, speaking in a whisper and softly asks me, “what is telemarketing?”
I’d like to tell you that my response was empathetic and sensitive, but it wasn’t. I began howling with laughter, asking, is that what you wanted to talk about? He had made it out to be some heavy conversation that was of dire importance… and it turns out it was exactly that. It was a question of the utmost importance. Because it was a the question of, how can we stay relevant in a society that has forgotten us? How do we prepare ourselves to reintegrate into a world and become a productive, contributing factor when we are unable to get the tools and information to do so? This is a question I don’t have an answer to, although I really wish I did.
So after I had a good laugh at my buddies expense I brought him up to speed on telemarketing and call centers and we went on to discuss other new developments such as ATM machines, Bluetooth and we moved on to me explaining to him that there are even cars out there that no longer use keys, only a computer chip that you carry in your pocket. It was a conversation of the likes I’ve never known before and may never know again. It was a surreal feeling. Like speaking to someone on a time machine, until I realized it was exactly that, and that is what I too have become, because when I told him at the end of the conversation that I’d be more than happy to answer any other questions he may have, that is when I realized I too am “outdated.” I too am “out of touch.” My knowledge stopped on September 2nd 2011. I can read all the magazines and watch the news on TV but no matter what I do doesn’t change the reality that I am on the outside looking in. The same way that someone on the outside can watch a million programs on prison, read every article about what it is like to be locked up but no matter how much they research, they’ll never truly know what goes through ones mind in prison the minute before a riot kicks off. The tension that can invade your bones and make the air you breath seem on the verge of shattering like glass. Having to wear your boots or sneakers every waking moment, even to the shower, because something may jump off at anytime.
Now lets combine this with being cut off from the world and is it any surprise people have a difficult time adjusting?
When I think about my friends I think of a group of people that I spoke to often before I came to prison, now they are distant memories of a happier time. As they say, “out of sight, out of mind.” And I can honestly say that I can totally understand, because like I said earlier, life goes on.
And it does.
Like I said, we become forgotten lovers, used-to-bes and remember him’s?
So to all of my old friends and former lovers, I leave you with this…
Love like there is no tomorrow, sing like no one is listening and dance like no one is watching. Do the best you can to enjoy every moment and don’t worry about me, I will be fine, I will survive, I will… carry on.
Honor me by never looking back. Honor meby never losing faith, by never giving up hope.
Honor me by living a happy life.
Honor me by trying your hardest to make tomorrow better than today.
Honor me by trying the best you can.
And I will honor you by trying to do the same.
So from all of the forgotten to all of the remembered, until next time… KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN.
MAD LOVE – DANIEL DART
Song for this diary:
Title: CARRY ON
Write to me:
Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076
C.M.L. West Prison
P.O. Box 8103
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403