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Tent City Diary, Part 3: 'It's Kind Of Like A Different Hangover'

By Sarah Ventre
Published: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - 3:47pm
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2015 - 4:25pm
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(Photo by Al Macias - KJZZ)
One of the tents, which holds about 36 inmates at Tent City.
Al Macias/KJZZ
Inmates escape the August sun at Tent City in 2012. The black-and-​white striped uniforms are by design.

We’ve been hearing from a woman named Alex who was sentenced to 36 days in Tent City for a "Super Extreme" DUI, meaning her Blood Alcohol Content was 0.2 or higher. Alex was on work release. She went to jail at night and on the weekends and was let out to go to work during the week. She recorded entries as she was on her way in and out of jail. In Part 2, we heard about bonding with other inmates and deciding that just because she has made a mistake — like many of the women she encountered in the tents — it doesn’t make her a bad person.

HEAR MORE: Complete 'Tent City Diary' Series

It’s kind of crazy, but I’ve had a lot of freedom in terms of being able to go to my job, being able to go home and shower, being able to have my Sundays out to do whatever I want. Whereas on home detention, I’m gonna be pretty much confined to my house, give or take 150 feet or whatever they give you.

I’m really looking forward to not having to sleep outside and night. And it’s kind of like a different hangover when you sleep outside, because your allergies really bother you and you’re constantly sniffling and coughing and sneezing. Anybody that has any sort of "-itis" or sickness, sure enough, it will get around to you. You’ll be miserable for upwards of three to four days, depending on if you can get to a doctor or not.

It was absolutely freezing last night. But it’s just like the kind of cold that you’re not used to. It just like sinks into your bones and makes everything ache. You just wake up and you’re in pain and you’re like, “God! You know, I haven’t injured my knee in 10 years, but I certainly feel it now!” And you know, the same goes for my lower back, my hips.

Now I’m down to a week left, and I don’t know — it’s weird. But I’m so stoked. Not to be on home detention, but just to get out and be able to sleep in my own bed.

What I’m not celebrating is that fact that it’s gonna drop. Well, it’s like 65 degrees right now, and it’s gonna drop like 30 degrees by the time I get to bed tonight.

If you’re ever cold in Tent City, just get some empty water bottles and use the water from the faucet in the bathroom and fill it up with scalding hot water. Make sure the cap’s on tight and just throw it in your bed. And it kind of acts as a little heater.

I finally — I’m like 100 pages away from finishing the one book that I’ve brought into the tents. Which I mean, I don’t know, I’m not really proud of that because I told myself I was gonna try to read a book every week. But I clearly had better things to do like tell my life story to all these girls and try to make them laugh and make the best of the situation.

I don’t know, it’s just you get very close with these women because you’re in confined quarters for 12 hours at a time. And what are you gonna do? Just all sit there and keep to yourself and not talk? No. That’s not how women are.

PART 1: Tent City Diary, Part 1: 'The First 48 Hours Were Horrible'

PART 2: Tent City Diary: 'These People Are Good People'

PART 4: Tent City Diary: 'I'm Only On My Way Up Now'