I have a standing appointment every Wednesday afternoon to call an acquaintance in an organization. It is a formal relationship that is quickly forming into mentoring and hopefully will turn into a friendship for life.

However, the strangest thing happens. When we are talking by phone and I get to talking, the phone hangs up. It doesn’t do it when I speak quickly. As long as I don’t talk for more than 3-4 seconds at once, the phone stays on. If I go longer, it hangs up and I have to call back.

First, it was an annoyance. Second, it costs money. Phone calls aren’t cheap in prison. Every minute costs an hours wages. In those terms, every minute dropped is a lot of money. Third, a part of me thinks my mentor is click training me. Talk to much and, oops, dropped call!

I don’t know if this is true or not. The outcome is the same regardless, talk less. Which may or may not be a good thing, only time will tell.

This could also be the time of day I call, the phones get busy and we just drop calls a lot. It happens here. But it doesn’t stop me from internalizing and thinking.

For instance, in prison there is a loudspeaker in the room where we are all caged. When staff wants to communicate with us, they use the speaker system. Movement, come see so and so, stop movement, go eat etc. We live and die (figuratively) by this mysterious talking box. But the c/o’s learned a new trick, click training, like dogs.

When the loudspeaker sounds it begins with a simple click activating the sound system. If they press their call button repeatedly all, we here is “click click click.” Instead of speaking to us, now they click, but only when they don’t like what we are doing. Now I know what a dog feels like. I say this humorously. When you wag your finger at a dog after they’ve done something wrong they cower and slink off somewhere, the owner thinks they have proved their point and feels better because the animal showed submission. That’s kind of the same thing here. In fact, its exactly the same thing.

So when I am on the phone and I hear a simple click, I immediately begin thinking about what I have done wrong. Can’t help it, I’ve been trained this way.

With Love