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The Banal Omnipresence of Pants

Today, D rolled out of bed, walked sleepily into the living room, and said, "I'm going to jail."

"I know, honey," I replied, a tremor in my voice. "I'll wait for you. No matter how long it takes.  As long as it's today."

I'm in Honolulu now, where D is in his last couple of weeks working on the show that has kept him here for two-and-a-half years.  It's bittersweet, really.  But they've decided to ease his leave-taking by spending much of the penultimate week filming in one of the state's rare prisons. 

In terms of the surrealism that television production has wrought in our lives, is this up there with the time he came home to discover he was inadvertently covered in the fake gore of Criminal Minds, and spent hours channeling Lady Macbeth, all scrubbing and muttering? Who's to say?

From Halawa Prison. Strangely, this is also the mood D's in when he gets home.

I did feel an echoing twinge of dismay, edging into full-blown guilt, that while I planned to go off snorkeling with a visiting friend, D was in jail.

"The worst part about jail," D said to me, while breaking down why it is that we couldn't visit him on the highly secure location shoot, "is that they make us wear pants."

"Yes, that's the penal system and its endless oppressions," I said supportively.

"I really hate pants," he sighed. 

"I have bad news for you: in the frozen north, you are going to have to wear pants *every* day. Unless you take up my suggested kilt regimen, which my mother and I agree is a look you could totally rock."

"I do have good legs." He settled back into resigned anticipation: "Ugh: prison." Cry of despair: "PANTS."

"It's true what Baudrillard said, I guess: the prison only exists to obscure the fact that it is pants themselves, in their banal omnipresence, that are carceral."

December 8, 2012