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Chit-chat from the Caffe Roma Robert Sheridan bobsheridan bobsheridan@earthlink.net Thank you very much OT and everyone, I appreciate the kind words. I have worked long and hard. It's been like crossing a mountain range and I'm finally on the other side.
The experience, over six years, taught me a lot about us and it ain't all pretty. So I do intend to write up the story as best I can and eventually get it out where it will do some good.

I visited my client today, Angela the Gypsy, and encouraged her to write up her own story. Like most of us, she says, "I can't write, it looks awful when I do." But you can, I urge her, just don't try to get fancy. Make believe you're writing to yourself, or to me, and not for anyone else to see. Write the way you talk. One little incident at a time. Just describe it. That's what I try to do. Use the street words you grew up with. I do that too. That way you don't get fancy and no one cares about what it looks like. Save it for later, so you don't forget. Then you can expand, later, if that's what you want to do.

I asked her about Deputy So-and-So, the beautiful Latina, even in a Sheriff's uniform (especially in a Sheriff's uniform) the one who got her into the new jail "pod" with the carpets on the floor and the computers to do word processing on. She cut her hair, AB told me, butch style, she's Lesbian. No, I say, she's so beautiful. AB then launches into a tale of the beautiful women in her pod who are lesbian. I had told her of the client who came in one day, one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. Think Sharon Stone in a gray tailored business suit. Being sued by her ex-roommate, with a lot of emotion over a little value. I finally ask what's really behind this trivial suit and it turns out Roomie was Lover before the split. My heart sank. Disillusion City.

At any rate, AB told me this tale of women in her pod (of 90 women). It's a double-level circular arrangement with a deputy on an island in the center, situated so one person can, with a shift of the eyes and head, take in 270 degrees of double decker bunks, upper and lower levels, all females.
Some of the deputies are male, to my astonishment. The women are cautioned men are on the floor. They eyeball every one of them that comes through. When the lights are low, the problem is to keep the women apart. The only thing worse than keeping 90 women under stress in a tank together would be to keep them apart.

After hearing her story, I suggested that AB write it up, just the way you told it. That's how you write. I much prefer it. That's what I do. If I tried to think it all out first, it would look terrible.

This has been her university, her school of hard knocks.
You coulda been hit by a bus, or caught a bad disease; instead you got jailed. But now you're getting out in a few months. Use the time. This is your silver lining, putting the time to good use.

I told her about Joseph Mitchell's stories about the Gypsies in "Up in the Old Hotel." She asked for a copy. I'll have it cleared and she'll see references to her family mentioned. A naughty group if ever there was one.

So that's what I did after taking a long walk along the Bay, today. I ran into a fellow attorney, there, out photographing. He said nice things that I was glad to hear, including that I represented a disfavored or unpopular client, vigorously. There was truth in that.

I wouldn'ta missed it for the world.

-rs



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