Memories of San Quentin

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Memories of San Quentin

This news item prompted me to remember my strange summer of 1997.
San Quentin Has Largest Riot Since 1982...Forty-two inmates were injured Monday when a simmering dispute between two ethnic groups erupted into the largest riot at San Quentin State Prison in 23 years.
One of the weirdest summer jobs I ever had was working as an under-the-table server refurbisher in a dusty old warehouse a few miles from San Quentin, one of the most famous prisons in the U.S.. Every day commuting from Oakland to Marin County I used to look at the prison on the horizon, think to myself that people like former inmate Charles Manson were (hopefully) locked up securely inside. At work we used to joke that if someone ever broke out there was a good chance that we'd be the first building they'd come across, we contemplated what we would do in that scenario over lunch & beer at a nearby microbrewery that had a really great brew called San Quentin's Breakout Stout. It was working in that warehouse that I decided that I needed to "breakout" myself and come out of the closet. That was a very surreal, very hot summer.

Sorry for the offbeat distruption, we now return to our regularly scheduled program.

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