TL;DR. The much promised follow up to this confession: the story of meeting my father.
I was staring at grass.
When left unattended, the turf grass of Oklahoma grows tall and wild, and gives the plains a rigid but relaxed feeling as the breezes sweep over them. This grass was obscuring the facade of a long ago vacated dormitory that used to house the residents of an institution for the criminally insane.
The building was decidedly early 20th century, with warm red brick and windows long ago boarded up. The grass around it separated just enough to show the remains of a path that led from dorm to dorm, remnants of a half-freedom some of the residents used to possess.
The new addition to the building, in whose parking lot I sat, seemed to be built to be almost intentionally in direct contrast to the old brick of the dorms. With an outside of green metal and stucco, it was the Oklahoma of the new century, pragmatic and with a showmanship only seen in states with the hottest temperatures, reflecting a new design, a new approach to mental health, and a new name. It was erected with a job in mind, and at that moment, that job was incarcerating my father.