I recently watched the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and really enjoyed it. But, as is the case with most TV shows I watch, I left with a list of “give me a break” moments. One of them had to do with *mini spoiler alert* Piper getting put in solitary confinement, for like, a day. If that.
Now I don’t want to trivialize how awful that must be, having never been in solitary myself, but I feel like she overreacted. I have no doubt that solitary will drive you mad…eventually. But she was panicked, hysterical, and hallucinating pretty much immediately.
I mean look at her. Her first order of business was to sit on the floor and feel sorry for herself. There are so many things she could have done to occupy herself before resigning to hopelessness. She didn’t try at all!
For example, I can think of one thing most people do that kills 6-8 hours every day and it doesn’t require too much space: sleep! Take a fucking nap, Piper! You probably won’t notice you are in solitary if your eyes are closed and you are unconscious.
Not tired? Do a bunch of jumping jacks, push-ups, and squat thrusts until you get tired! Then sleep. Then repeat. You will kill loads of time, improve your mood by generating endorphins, and burn a ton of calories. It’s win-win-win.
Feeling lonely? Try talking to one of your neighbors. You could play 20 Questions or Would You Rather. Not within earshot of another human being? Seize this unique opportunity! I feel like I rarely have the privacy required for one of my favorite hobbies – singing and dancing like nobody’s watching! Belt out your favorite songs and have a dance party. Once again, your mood will be drastically improved, you will burn major calories, and you will be primed for another great nap.
Starting to get stressed out? Take some deep breaths, do some yoga, meditate. Think of solitary as a retreat. People pay good money to sit in silence for days at a time so they can just “allow themselves to BE.” You get to do it on the taxpayers’ dollar. Take advantage of this opportunity for introspection and self-reflection. You could use it, Piper, because you are kind of a bad person.
I think Piper’s dramatics bothered me so much because she could have done all the things I wish I could do at work every day. In theory you have the freedom to leave when you feel the walls closing in on you at work — which of course you don’t in solitary — but the catch of having a job is that you have to show up to keep it. So you may find yourself similarly confined to a small space for long periods of time. The unfortunate difference is, in solitary, you can do whatever the hell you want. Last time I checked you couldn’t take a nap, lay down into corpse pose, or belt out your favorite tunes at your desk. If anyone should be losing their mind, it’s us poor working stiffs.