Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Too Close for Comfort"

"I'd Rather Read"

Too close for comfort is a way of life in prison, and comfort is non-existent. In a 5' x 9' cell, the walls are too close together. The toilet faces the open bars of the door. That is surely too close for comfort: I'm not complaining. It could be worse.

As a prisoner in ad-seg, I live in solitary confinement. If I were in General Population, there would be a second bunk above mine. In the same space, I'd have a roommate (cellie). Even the best convicts, those that know how to do time and mind their own business, are too close in those conditions, and convicts, of any description, are rare in Texas prison.

Privacy doesn't exist in prison. One man's gaseous flatulence is everyone else's miasma, even when we live in separate cells. Guards are always too close for comfort, unless you're sick and need one. Then they are nowhere to be found.

It's a matter of getting through one day at a time. Some days are harder than others. Each of us has to find our escape from the closeness. For some it's books, others use drugs, some exhaust themselves with exercise and find many gods. Those with no place to hide are lost to insanity in the maze of their shattered minds. There, nothing is too close; everything is far away or hidden in a psychotropic haze. As for me, I'd rather read a good book.

-Daniel H. Harris