Saturday, February 27, 2010

"If We're Gonna Roll, Then Let's Roll"

I love days where nothing seems to be going right, but everything turns out ok. Or everything doesn't turn out right really, but it doesn't get me down.

Today was a day like that. Just another dumb mission driving all around Sector, preping for Elections and playing nice with Iraqi Police in the rain. (Even though one of our "Iraqi Partners" put a bullet into Sgt. ____ last week.) We get back to base three hours late just in time for the shit they sling in the DFAC and next thing we know we're back in the trucks covering down for another platoon. This time its going to sit in the dark and rain looking for the motha licka's that've been lobbing rockets into the FOB thrice weekly.

I get in the gun turrent and we get out into the fields, next thing you know the dirt canal road we're on starts to go and over goes the truck. Sideways stuck in the mud as deep as you can get it. We get out just fine, bumps and bruises and "I told you so's" but no worse for the wear. It takes a good three hours to get the wrecker out there, another hour and the wrecker's winch is broken, another hour getting the wrecker fixed and finally we're right-side up. The truck is hemorrhaging fuel and someone claims to see sparks coming out the back and we make the call to head for home.

We pull in and park the trucks, I check the time to find it's damn near 2am. But before bed we have to prep the trucks for the morning's mission, now a solid 6 hours away. Of course my truck is too fucked to roll in the AM so we get to prep a cold truck. Before we do that we have to find the key. Then empty out the back, which someone has used to store soccer balls and Barbie backpacks for the kids we hope grow up not hating the US of A. Good luck with that... All of this is happening of couse piece-meal because no one is communicating and half the platoon is already in bed. And of course its still raining and the ground is the stickiest, thickest mud in the world.

Finally I get to bed and I find out we have to remain in uniform and ready to roll out to support other night opperations in our sector until we leave for morning mission, now 3-ish hours from now. Glorious.

And yet I still feel ok. I feel fine. I'm irrationally happy in spite of my day. All the mud and rollovers and bullshit missions and crooked IP in the world can't touch me. I have no clue why, but I know better than to question it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fuck Some Days

Some days are good and some are bad and some are easy and some are hard and some go by fast and some go by slow and some nobody dies and some somebody dies and some days you know what to do and some days you have no idea and some days you can handle your shit and some days your shit handles you. And some seem like they're going to go one way and then they go a whole nother way. Those are the worst days.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"And You Know Sister, My Hearts Been Broken"

Is it weird I don't know how I feel right now? I'm not bored or tired or hungry. I'm not sad or mad or homesick. I'm not happy or high or motivated. I'm just existing.

I think it might have something to do with the weather outside. Right now there is a sandstorm coming. The sky is orange, the air itself is orange. There is almost no wind, no rain, no nothing. Just the sky and the air orange as could be. And the smell of sand and humidity is just hanging in the air. Its so still right now and no one is outside. Everyone is sitting inside their rooms peering out their doors every so often to see if anything has changed and if they do venture outside its with great haste to return to cover with some cloth pulled over their face to keep the dust out. As if the orange sky was some evil portent and the dust was a poison released into the air by a madman who'd been wronged one too many times.

If it is an omen I can't think of a more powerful one. The stillness is so complete and everything just has this glow to it. For the first time in I don't know how long I can't here any helicopters; they've all been grounded. And I can't hear any trucks rumbling by; all missions are CANCELED until further notice.

We're just sitting here in our little corner of the world, cut off by time and distance and a wall of sand that is blowing towards us out of the Northeast. Cut off from Warrior and the Big Bosses, from the Iraqi's and their strife, from home and from the people we love and the things we left behind. We're even cut off from each other and our job, at least until this all blows over.

Right now I'm adrift in this big world, sheltered in the calm before the storm. Maybe my emotions are too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Game Time Is Over. I Think...

How is it that everyone says I'm so fucking smart all the time, but no one seems to pick up on how stupid I am? How do people trust my advice and value my council when I seem incapable of heading my own so called words of wisdom?

No one gets out of here alive.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Bad Times Wouldn't Be As Bad, But The Good Times Wouldn't Be As Good

I remember this one time in English 11 Honnors after some quiz I was listening to Spanish Caravan by The Doors while sitting on the couch that was against the back wall. AM sat next to me and I gave her an earphone.
That's it. That's all there really is to that story. I just wish all my memories were as simple as that. I wish I didn't need whippetts or vodka or glue to get by some days.
The strange thing is when solutions offer themselves, when I'm given the opportunity to make myself normal I let them pass by. Or I fight them tooth and nail.

I guess it boils down to the fact that if I was normal, I wouldn't be me. And as much as I hate myself sometimes, other times I look at myself and I'm thrilled to be who I am.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Clean, Well Lit Place

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that cannot not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
--Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Its hard to write knowing that other people have already written exactly how you feel much better than you ever could. I just want to sit quietly and think.

This Shit Should Come With Warning Labels

"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?" -- Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Music is a dangerous thing. Too little and we loose contact with our emotions, too much and we drown in them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"The Night Draws Stars And Women In A Better Light"

I love morning. I wouldn't go so far as to consider myself a morning person because I truely loathe waking up, but I do love morningtime. I like to watch the sunrise when I can, and when I can't just sit and enjoy it I like to glimpse over at it as I go about my business. I like how the cold seems more crisp in the moments after the sun comes up in the wintertime. I like the frost on the grass or dirt. In the summer I like the way the sun comes up long before most people and how the air carries only the faintest hint of the heat to come. I like the way the light comes right at you on an even plane, almost as if Sol was a person demanding your attention right now. I like the long shadows and having to squint into the east I like the promise and power the first light of day has.
Don't get me wrong, I love the night too. I love the night so much that I end up staying up through most of it until daybreak half the time. I like the peace of night. I like the feeling of being by myself in the world without being cut off. The comfort of knowing I can do my own things and be alone with my thoughts, yet still surrounded by people. I like The way something familiar can turn into something strange and back again simply dependant on light or the lack thereof. I love the way the streetlamps reflect off the wet asphalt or the soft glow they surround themselves with when the ground is covered with snow. I love the quiet and the way sound carries. The way a single gasp makes a bigger impact at night than a shout at midday. I love the mischief that I can get into at night and the adventures that can only be undertaken while the world sleeps.

I guess I just feel the reverse of most people. Dawn to me is a better ending to a full night than the start of a new day. Daybreak is a time for reflection on the night passed as opposed to a runup of the days expectations. It is the period at the end of a sentence as opposed to the capital letter at the start.

Maybe Certain Other People Felt Just Like Me, Which Is Why They Said So

You know something?

Out here I do fight for my meals. I do get my back into my living. I suppose I don't need to fight to prove shit, but I often find myself doing just that. Do I need to be forgiven? I might have said yes only a few short months ago, but recently some things some people very close to me have been saying is giving me pause.

Maybe I fucking don't. Maybe I don't owe anyone shit. Maybe that's what wrong with everybody these days. Nobody is willing to just lay it the fuck out there. Maybe especially now in my life its time to stop being sorry for who I am and the things I've done.

Maybe I don't drink too much. Maybe I am a fucking liar. Maybe I'm a shitty son and a bad friend. Maybe I do judge you. Maybe I am stuck up on certain shit from my past. Maybe sometimes I do want one of these goddamn motherfucking rockets to blast right through my full-of-holes-piece-of-shit-roof and blow me into a thousand little meaty bits. And maybe I don't want to talk about how I feel or how I'm doing because I don't want anyone's sympathy or pity or help.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Blue Loogie & Operation: Gato

I'm back. I'm back on my FOB, I'm back in my room, I'm back with my platoon and it feels good. It feels good to have my gun back, it feels good to have a job to do and it feels oddly good to be surrounded by people who hate you. I guess that's weird, but its just nice to know where you stand I suppose.
But I wanted to address being back with my platoon. Because I pretty much hate most of them. But I missed them a little. And I'm sure in the years to come when I never see them ever again I will miss them more and more. I know this will happen because it has happened before. Multiple times. And its not just me, other people feel this way and experience the same shit. Just read Salinger (RIP). Most notable of course being the last line of Catcher.
"About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about... Don't ever tell anyone anything. If you do, you start to miss everybody."
That man had it right, fuck he had it right. Everytime I remember something or someone from my past, no matter how much I couldn't fucking stand them at the time I feel a bit of remorse. Not remorse for hating them or whatever, I stand by my decitions, but because I don't see them anymore.
When I was in Westbriar I had some "enemies". R&R lets call her. This enemity lasted through Kilmer and died sometime Freshman year at Madion, where avoiding people you didn't care for became easier than pranks and insults. Yet through it all, and there was a lot, we could depend on each other. Not for any kind of friendship or conventional support, but merely to remain a constant in our drasticly changing lives. Which in itself is a support that is rare, especially when you're young. From age 12 through 18 we were always there. We knew each other's past and knew we didn't like each other, if only because we had since before puberty. I saw her a few years back by chance at a mutual friends house while we were drinking. We sat on a couch all night bullshitting about our childhoods and whatnot and at one point she turned to me and remarked how no matter some things change its good to know others don't. She was right; I still hate her, but damned if I don't miss her.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stuck Inside FOB Warrior With The McHenry Blues Again

Its past 1am and I am once again waiting on a helio in Kirkuk.
I am constantly amazed by how much time I spend waiting on aircraft since I joined the Army, especially since I am in an Armor Battalion, in an Armor Brigade, in the only Armor Division in the whole US Military. But I suppose if I wasn't a a helicopter it would be a plane, and if it wasn't either of those it would be a convoy. Patience is a virtue they say. To me it seems wasteful of time.

Time. People say they never have enough Time, but I suspect they may be lying to themselves. I just came off of 15 days of the best leave I have ever had and I am convinced it was so good because I made a conscious effort not to waste any of my time at home. I admit that my sleep suffered for it more often than not, and maybe there was a night or two I should I spend doing something other than what I did, but I'm not loosing sleep over it. The point is I made the time to do the things I wanted/needed to do.
It may be however that when one is up against a deadline one feels the press of time more readily than in one's everyday life. And that is when you find yourself claiming you have no time. We put things off until tomorrow and next week and so forth until we turn around and we're too old, too tired, and we have even less time.

I once made that mistake and I shan't make it again. And I know everyone and their mother likes to spout clever quips about carpe-ing some diem, regardless of the fact that most of those people's ideas about seizing days involve things so god-awfully boring I for one would rather stay in bed. But they have the right idea. Life isn't really that short, but its rare we find ourselves in a position to enjoy the fuck out of it. Before we know it we'll be old and cranky and even more pressed for time than we claim to be now.

So I attempt to enjoy my days sitting on the flight-line, looking at every Black Hawk and Kiowa that floats by. If nothing else I can mull over grand memories and day-dream about times yet to come.