Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wednesday's Child: the Following Tuesday

Something unfortunate has happened at Worst Luck: I was looking up a reference on Yahoo! and discovered that my creation of a new Protective Custody block has to be re-done completely. See, when I created this fictional newly-remodeled chunk of SF City Jail, I was working from one incorrect supposition and some information that was fourteen or fifteen years old.

My first problem was that San Francisco is a city and a county, and though the police department is run by the City, all detainment is operated by the County... so there is no such thing as a City Jail, on which I had been searching for references. So once I got that sorted out and searched for references to protective custody in the County Jails, I came across a lengthy document about the treatment and housing of transgender inmates, who are not to be housed in "Protective Custody" as they had in the past, but rather in a "vulnerable population" area that includes effeminate gays and too-pretty straights. Oh, and the SF County Jails are not divided into wards or blocks, they are divided into "pods" (which sounds too 70s to me, but I wasn't consulted).

Much of what I'd based the "Protective Custody" fiction on came from my old friend and former roommate Jason, who was arrested in San Francisco for misdemeanor possession of drugs and then extradited to San Jose for the parole violation of possessing drugs. I visited him in both places, and based my Worst Luck scenes on his sketchy descriptions. But that was almost fifteen years ago, and things have changed.

Aside from the fact that the phrase "vulnerable population" wasn't in use fifteen years ago, the gigantic and rather nice-looking County Jail #8 hadn't been built yet, either (it's that odd silver building with the undulating front which sits beside the freeway as you exit San Francisco on the Bay Bridge). The "Protective Custody Unit" used to be situated in the Hall of Justice building on Bryant Street, but now I find the "Vulnerable Population" is in the new building. And while, since Worst Luck is my own created world, I can very easily put the Vulnerable Population Pod back into the old Hall of Justice if I wanted to, with only minor editing, the fact remains that all booking is done in the new building, not in the old.

Then the document about transgendered prisoners created new problems for me. This document outlined policy changes that are better than the place I created in my imagination, and it behooves me (as a GLBT person as well as a supporter of law enforcement) to make the world of Worst Luck better than real life, not worse. Another problem is that transgendered or otherwise vulnerable people are not placed in Vulnerable Population when they are charged with a violent crime... and so Danny charged with murder and Kiki serving time for soliciting would not have even met; Danny would have been placed in today's "protective custody," which is more like solitary confinement.

So now I have to completely rewrite all of the jail sequences in their entirety: I can recreate Protective Custody any way I like, but it has to be recreated because it's simply too big and inclusive as I've written it; and either Kiki has to go, or I have to come up with some reason for Kiki to be in Protective Custody. I just don't know which way to go. Bother and buggery-fuck.

In the meantime, though, I posted a very nice scene yesterday, "Chapter 6 Part 2"... it's a single scene, much shorter than anything else I've posted so far, but I really liked it and felt it stood well alone. So go give it a gander.


To finish out this post, I was tagged by Dana Marie to play this meme. This is a cross-pollenation meme, so one starts off with a bit of business: Remove the blog #1 from the following list and bump everyone up one place; add your blog's name in the number five spot. You need to link to each of the blogs for much cross pollination of the other blogs.
Next, select four new friends to add to the pollen count. (Not obligated to partake... which is good, since I doubt they will... well, maybe they will... one lives in hope): I tag Vince, Paul, Gina, and Tom

And now for the meme itself:
Five Things I Miss About Childhood.

1. Being smaller than other people. I stand six feet, three-and-one-quarter inches in my socks (that's 1.9 metres for my international friends), so only pituitary freaks are any larger than me. I'm the tallest person in my family by several inches, and taller than almost all of my friends as well. I've met people over the years who are taller than I, and I usually develop serious crushes on them... if it weren't for painful memories involved in the game, I would be a total basketball groupie just to be around whole teams of men among whom I would be considered a runt.

I cannot be held in anyone's lap, I cannot be completely surrounded by a hug, I cannot have that wonderful protected feeling of standing in the warm shadow of someone who is substantially bigger than me. Spooning is always someone's back to my front instead of vice versa, and cuddling means me cuddling someone else. And while I am by no means averse to these, in fact I could go for some spooning and cuddling right now with a nice man of any size, and while I enjoy the strategic and psychological advantages of great height, I do miss being small sometimes.

2. Mother's Rice Pudding. This was a taste sensation! It was soothing and creamy and chunky and comforting and deliciously good. I have no idea what was in it, though... raisins, and cinnamon, and of course rice, but that's all I know. I asked Mother for the recipe a few years ago, but she has absolutely no memory of how to make her special rice pudding anymore; I'm not sure I can forgive her for this loss. Fortunately, I'd watched her making her special Fried Egg Sandwiches, so I can recreate the only other truly memorable dish in her limited repertoire.

3. Flicks. I don't know if you remember these, or if they still exist somewhere in the world, but they were a chocolate candy very like Hershey's Kisses, but flatter, which came in cardboard tubes wrapped in shiny foil. Grandpa used to always buy these for us, and aside from the fact that Grandpa gave them to us, the whole tube-instead-of-bar issue made them very glamorous. Oh, look! You can still get them!!! God bless the internet!

Still, I bet they don't taste as good unless Grandpa gives them to you; and I suspect they'll seem small and tasteless in comparison to my memory. Grandpa's presence, my smallness, and an unsophisticated palate were, I expect, parts of the "thereness," the Gestalt of Flicks.

4. Blond Hair, Lots of It, and All On My Head. I've never really reconciled myself to being brunet, nor to having body-hair, even though I've lived with both since I was thirteen... twenty-four years of brown hair all over the place and I've never got used to it. And I don't think anybody ever really reconciles himself to a receding and thinning hairline. While I would never willingly give up the pleasures of my adult body (though I wouldn't mind it going back to a previous shape, say twenty-seven or so), I would happily take back my prepubescently glabrous skin and thick dense head of shining straw-colored hair.

5. Impossible Dreams. It seemed perfectly plausible, when I was five years old, that I could become anything I wanted to be when I grew up... a butler, a magician, a tap-dancer, a girl. That Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy existed seemed entirely rational.

I'd forgotten about that one, that I used to say I wanted to be a girl when I grew up; so why was anyone surprised when I turned out to be gay? They should have been surprised that I only became a drag-queen instead of a full-time transvestite or operative transsexual. But this was all before I knew anything about gender reassignment surgery or transvestism as a lifestyle, I don't think I'd heard about "sex change" until I was a teenager and didn't know about drag until I was an adult.

I actually believed that I could just turn into a girl somehow, perhaps through divine intervention, and so I prayed to God and Santa (who I couldn't ever quite tell apart) and wished on stars and wishbones and eyelashes and birthday candles for this change. I also believed I could obtain magical powers in this manner... when I said I wanted to be a magician, I didn't mean a regular guy who performed tricks of illusion and sleight-of-hand, I wanted to be a magician who performed real magic, like on Bewitched.

I would fantasize about it endlessly, but it wasn't just a "wouldn't it be cool if..." kind of fantasy, I was actually planning on these things happening and was very excited about this future in which all things were possible. It was a terrible and painful disappointment when it was finally made clear to me that my dreams were impossible.

I'd figured out the truth about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny on my own, and the lies I was told to bolster these fictions made me deeply distrustful of adults, not to mention destroying my belief in God; and I'd clung to my fantasy future much longer than I should have, and therefore could neither enjoy the mundane present nor make realistic plans for the actual future. I really think I would have had a better childhood if I'd been given a better grasp on reality by adults.

I have long felt that it's wrong to foster a belief of the impossible in children. Encourage their imaginations, yes; encourage fantasy by all means! But don't make a child believe a fantasy is real, don't tell lies to make them think Santa Claus and the rest of that ridiculous pantheon exist. It's not that hard to explain to them that some things are possible while some things are fantasy, and that fantasy is good but it is not real.

Nevertheless, it was lovely while it lasted, this belief in the impossible, this expectation that, if I really wanted to, I could be anything at all. I do miss it, but unlike the rest of the items on this list, I wouldn't have it back at any price.


That wasn't as hard as I'd thought it would be. I didn't have a very nice childhood, and there's really not much I miss; as the title indicates, I was born on a Wednesday, and as we all know, Wednesday's Child is Full of Woe. So it was quite pleasant to go back and think about the things that were good, or at least that I wish I still had. Plus, I found out where to get Flicks! I call that a worthwhile expense of time and energy.

Well, it's back to the salt-mines with me; I need to start working out the necessary changes to Worst Luck. And see about finding a job. And do some laundry before my room starts turning back into a cave of horrors.
    [P.S. 2:45 p.m. ~ More bother and buggery-fuck... I started searching through the SF City website, specifically the Police Department and the Office of the District Attorney, they're very informative: the there is no District Attorney assigned to Homicide, there is one DA and a passel of ADAs who work on various crimes; the Homicide detectives are a Detail, not a Division; the Crime Lab is no longer in the Hall of Justice, much less in its basement, it was moved to a whole other goddamned building in Hunters Point in 1999! This information negates so much of what I've written that I am going to have to make even more changes! Details! Gah!

    But you know, I wouldn't have done the writing if I had waited on the research, because I would have kept putting the research off. So now that I've done the writing, I can focus my research on specific problems. So it's all good.]
Have a frabjous day, calloo, callay!

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