Thursday, May 20, 2010

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Out here I have pretty much only two jobs. I either ride around in the back of a MRAP, then get out and walk around with a machine gun, or I ride around on top of a MRAP with a machine gun. The subtleties of the difference may be lost upon those who haven't had the pleasure of working closely with MRAP's for extended periods of time and for that I call you lucky. But they exist and the longer you do one job the more you long for the other.
But sometimes when I'm sitting up in the gun I truly enjoy it. I love cloudy, overcast days where the air is dead and even when we're driving no wind seems to blow across my face. I love driving in the mornings before it gets ungodly hot, with the sun hitting me full in the face and the air smelling of wet grass. And I love it at night, when the roads are empty and the towns are all dark. I can see the stars so clearly it reminds me of cold nights in the fields outside of Shippensburg spent looking up, and of standing pre-dawn guard shifts on top of dunes in the desert marveling at the universe.
And sometimes when its none of those, when the sun is trying to burn a hole in my helmet and the wind blowing in my face feels like a furnace a good song will come up on my iPod and the road will even out a little. The ride gets a little smoother, I lean back in my swing-seat and I light a cigarette. Its then I'm reminded of how good life is, and how when this is over I'll never cruise along a desert road on top of a 20-ton armored truck with an 7.62mm automatic weapon in my hand. So I might as well get my money's worth now.

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