Juggling

Tonight was interesting.

I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned this in foregoing posts, but for the last two months or so, the Lifeline complex where all the computers are has been closed for remodeling; I guess they were putting in central air conditioning.  Therefore, instead of meeting in the computer room, we’ve been meeting in a classroom, without any computers (except mine, used mostly for presentations).

We’ve been heartily looking forward to the day when we could go back to meet in the Lifeline lab, and last week it was opined that the lab might be ready this week.

So when I got to the A building, I asked the duty officer whether Lifeline was open yet.

“Oh, sure,” he said.  “There’ve been folks back there all day.”  Cool, I thought; so when I called Control 2 to ask for the Java passes to be called, I asked the guy to call them to Lifeline.

When I got to Lifeline, though, I discovered that while the door was unlocked, and the lights were on, and there were people inside, it wasn’t really open.  None of the computers were set up, and the prisoners there were busy cleaning the place and hooking things back up.

The Lifeline duty officer was a little perplexed, since his cap sheet said that he’d have only nine prisoners in Lifeline, and they would be busy cleaning; now he had a contractor and between fifteen and twenty prisoners in there.  But he and I know each other slightly, and he was inclined to let it slide and hope nothing bad would come of it.

Now we have to go back in time a little.

Last week, the duty officer in the A building discovered that the gate pass allowing Joel and Rob in had turned up missing.  (I don’t need a gate pass, since I have a contractor’s badge, but they do, since so far they’re “mere” volunteers.)  We made several calls looking for it, but eventually the duty officer called the captain and persuaded him to allow Joel and Rob in. We were late, but they did finally get in.

This week, we were expecting that the missing gate pass would have been produced; but it was missing again.  I called the lady responsible for getting it set up, and she said she’d plain forgot: she answered the phone beside the bed of her daughter, who had just gotten out of surgery.

So the duty officer in the A building performed his magic again, and Joel and Rob were allowed to sign in.

However, since they’re volunteers, whenever they move in the prison they require an escort, who has to be a prison employee.  (Not me, in other words: I’m just a contractor.)  So the duty officer asked the captain to dispatch an officer to escort, and he agreed.  Joel and Rob went into the lobby of the main prison to wait for the escort, while I went on in.

Half an hour later, the JavaGuys suggested to me that since Joel and Rob had still not arrived, the captain might have forgotten about him, and I should call and remind him.

That was a little scary, but I did it, and a few minutes later somebody came to the door saying, “They’re here!  They’re here!”  Turns out they were out with the Lifeline duty officer, and he was up in arms.  Apparently it’s one thing to fudge the cap sheet a little bit to keep track of a contractor and a gaggle of prisoners, but when there are outside guest volunteers involved, it’s a whole different story.

So he made a call to the captain, and eventually kicked us all out back up to the classroom.

So we went, and that’s where we met Joel and Rob.

We had a great discussion about the upcoming conference and about a number of other things, but perhaps that’s fodder for a different post.

We began to understand what juggling balls feel; but it was still marvelous.

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