A few weeks ago I was voted into the "white" TV room. To refresh your memory, there are four TV rooms in my dorm, the white, the African American, the Hispanic, and the multi-use room. The white TV room is called such because the inmates do not watch BET, Univision, or Tedmundo in that room. There are non-whites in the white TV room, but there are no whites in the "black" or "Hispanic" TV rooms. I'm not sure why this is other than to quote a common axiom we have in prison that is, "try to remember you are in prison."
Prior to my prestigious election to the TV room, I had to sit with the peons and short-timers in the multi-use TV room. (The short-timers are ostracized because their sentences are so short that no one talks to them - not because they are rude or unfriendly, but it is hard to find someone that you like, and then they leave shortly thereafter, so the inmates figure better not to get to know them. But I digress) The multi-use room is also where dominoes is played. For some reason, and I can attribute this only to prison, but when playing dominoes, it is apparently essential to yell at your opponent while slamming down tiles. Actually, you can yell while not slamming down a tile, or slam down a tile and not yell, but most inmates prefer the double whammy, if you will. At any rate, the slamming of tiles and yelling occurs while other inmates are watching TV. One can probably guess that all the noise is a cause of friction for the inmates.
One should be aware that in order to watch TV in prison is quite different from just plopping oneself down on the couch and turning the television on. It is really quite different from a college dorm lounge as well. First, you need to have a radio to tune to the TV station's frequency to get sound. Second, you need headphones (otherwise, you might as well have it on mute). Unfortunately, the headphones don't help at all. Third, you are competing against noise from people who do not care if they are rude, and fourth, the guards do not care if there is confrontation about who is being too noise, so long as no fights break out. So, my "election" to the white TV room was a real boost to my prison experience.
How did I get elected? Well, I can only guess. I did participate in an emergency meeting of the white room TV guys at one point. The purpose of the meeting, from what I could tell, was to determine which shows would be played during the week. The weekends are reserved for the movies (more on that later). At that meeting, they group also voted two new guys into the room. From what I can tell, a guy who was leaving referred me to the leader of the white TV room. Then my name was passed around tot he other 10 guys. The purpose was to see if there were any strong objections. I guess there weren't. So, I was invited in. I did not realize there was a leader of the TV room, but shortly after the meeting he told me that I was "in." I said, "in what?" He said, "the TV room." He said I would be in the front, right under the TV. So, that was that.
I was now a member of the elite group of TV watchers. I do not think I have ever been voted into anything exclusive before. It was a bit of a thrill, to be honest. I must say, I have enjoyed the movies much more despite the fact that my neck gets a little crick in it.
One thing the TV room experience has shown me is that people are watching me and scrutinizing my attitude. The guys in the TV room do not want rude, selfish, and confrontational attitudes. They want to watch TV without disturbances. It is an organized way to keep the inmates happy over what to me seems to be a highly volatile issue of what people want to watch on TV. One thing I have tried to do is live in a way in which my actions would reflect who I am. I failed miserably at this many times and in many areas of my life. I'm hoping that demonstrating humility, respect, friendliness, and acceptance makes it obvious to the men around me that I'm a Christian. I want my lifestyle to be that of Christ. I hope that being voted into the TV room reflects, if only in a small way, that God is changing me to that end.