The other day I had to teach a class for our local Toastmasters club. We meet every Sunday morning and I was to do a 20-30 minute presentation. I was among two speakers for the day. I had spent many days preparing, had it all dialed in, and was going to show this group of men and women a thing or two. I had all the freedom to teach this class. The announcement was made to move, because prisons operate on move schedules, and we were off. We have five minutes to make the move from our living units to the visiting room where we host such things.

As I made it to the pat down and search area, it was pointed out to me the error of my ways. I left my personal bought shoes on. We can’t have personal shoes in the visiting room because of security issues. I know this because its been this way for a couple of years. But I was caught in the moment of preparing for this class and I forgot the stupid shoe issue. The only time I don’t wear my personal shoes is for that one event every week.

Needless to say, by the time I made my way back to the living unit, my movement period closed. I had to wait up to another hour before I could try again. Keep in mind I had 30-40 people waiting for me to teach them something. The pressure in my mind was mounting. I no longer had time to prepare like I would have, had I made the first movement. The next movement was called and off I went again…

I made it with the speaker before me covering and entertaining. I set up my class and it went off without a hitch… mostly. The hitch was my stupid shoes. I’m not sure how many public speakers have ever been asked to leave a Hilton convention room because their shoes pose a security risk, but those scenarios and the schedule systems inside prisons are extremely fragile. It takes so much more to think ahead and the slightest thing that seems normal is the thing that upsets the balance. I get it, people in the free world have obstacles everyday. My point here is that what seems normal to you is a risk in here and that presents an extremely fragile situation…

by Rory Andes

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