This weekend I was reminded why I both love and hate the Army as it both loves and hates me. The Army is a boyfriend who treats me like shit but yet I love him anyway. He makes false promises and I cling to his every word, waiting for the day that he’ll make good. I should leave his sorry ass, but I don’t have the strength to. I think about the good old days, when it was just me and him and how he used to do right by me. I pretend not to notice how fickle he is and how cruel he can be. Whenever I try to leave him, the Army pulls me back and reminds me why I’m with him in the first place. He says, “Bitch, you can’t leave me. We’re in this together forever.”
What can I say? I love the Army and the Army loves me.
It was just one of those weekends where you really can’t win for losing. Enter the dreaded MUTA-6, three long agonising days of bullcrap. Get up Friday morning and fight morning rush hour traffic. On a normal day, I would have been at work two hours already by the time I arrived at drill. I had to come early so I can set up the breakfast thing. This weekend, I felt like saying fuck it. I offered to do it because I know the supply sergeant has her hands full with other things. The previous specialist who was in charge of it was a moron and basically wasted all the money we earned. I hate listening to people complain about how expensive everything is. There is a simple solution for that: don’t buy shit. Or bring your own shit from home. Get up early and take your ass to 7/11 and pay whatever they charge. The thing is, do you start bitching at the clerk behind the counter about how expensive the sticky buns are?
I hate the accusing looks I get when people think I’m overcharging so I can pocket the money. Trust me, the things I want in life cost far more than the forty-seven cents profit I make off a bottle of too sugary juice. If I could buy a Benz from selling cinnamon buns, maybe you’d have cause for complaint. I couldn’t even pay my cell phone bill with the pennies we get. I set the price based on what I would need to buy more. This isn’t a business and I am not financially or emotionally vested. The previous specialist used to get suckered by everyone with their cry baby games about the food prices, so she ended up paying for stuff herself. Sorry, not this chick. But then, if I miss one day setting up all that crap someone sends me a nasty text message or makes a snide comment, “Hey, where’s the breakfast.” Some asshole even said to me, “You know, drill weekend is the only time I eat a real breakfast. You weren’t even here, so I missed breakfast. Thanks a lot.”
I got rope-a-doped into going to some training that I was not interested in. Some days I get so pissed at the Army. I went through the worst experience of my life at basic training, and I didn’t do all of that just so I could drive a truck or fuck around with some electricity. I know we need soldiers to do that shit, but not me. Because then you get stuck on that crap and that’s all your known for: the girl who fixes generators. Yeah, I don’t think so.
But true to my usual form, I have a way of doing whatever the hell I want to do. I was feeling rebellious too because I said, “You know what, everybody has been bitched once or twice in their military life, it ain’t gonna kill me to get yelled at.” I was that prepared. I didn’t even care and I’m not usually like that. I might whine and complain, but I usually do what I’m told like a good little slave girl.
It was just too fucking hot to be bothered with all that so I went the way of the wind and ended up having to work on my NCOER. Here’s another reason why I’m in the Fuck the Army mode. I never want to hear the acronym NCOER ever again, and yet sadly, I know I cannot escape it.
In things that I’m interested in, I’m truly ambitious. I want to be the best. I sit and think of ways of how to get on top. I motivate myself to do whatever needs to be done so I can come out a winner. I don’t know where I got that from, but that’s just a central part of me. With the Army I feel like I’m wasting my time. I’m here stopping on dimes for nothing. Balancing shit on my head while juggling live cats in a hat box and nobody is paying attention. The National Guard and its convoluted promotion system is depressing me. Here is a place where you may not get promoted based on your merits because there is no place to promote you.
But if you act like an asshole piece of shit, they won’t hesitate to come down on you like a ton of bricks. So it’s like you get all the punishment but none of the reward. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t and that’s a tough pill to swallow. I told one of my battles at lunch that I was going to stop giving a damn and she said it would be impossible for me because I’m a natural go-getter and I have that bossy tendency that I can never deny.
So sad. So true.
On Saturday it was more of the same. Oppressive heat and mindless wandering around the drill floor, desperate to stay out of the line of fire. You honestly don’t have anything to do, and you would be at your task if you had one, but they want you to get lost and look busy. I wonder about the senior enlisted. Do they even have a clue what is happening. Yes, they are all busy because they are E6s and E7s. They have paperwork and other shit to do, and so when they see some E4 just moseying around they get pissed, and rightfully so, but this is their game. They made the rule that if you’re not a certain rank you can’t do anything. So task me with something or shut the fuck up. I spent most of Saturday pretending to be busy, walking around like I was on some mission just so nobody would say, “Hey soldier, you’re not doing shit, why don’t you go alphabetise all the street signs in America.”
I hate that we’re often treated like infants. Perhaps this applies to some of us, but certainly not all of us.
What made me so mad about Saturday is that we were literally doing nothing. There were some people doing the driver’s training that was postponed from Friday, but the rest of us were sitting around with our thumbs up our asses scared we would get tasked with some bullshit because they couldn’t think of anything better for us to do.
So with us doing absolutely nothing on Saturday, on Sunday we were exceptionally busy. On Friday when they realised that driver’s training would not go as planned, they should have bumped up Sunday’s tasks to Friday afternoon, especially since those tasks were not time sensitive. Our unit poorly manages times and that gets on my nerves to no end.
We did have something important to do Sunday morning and I understand that cannot be put off because it’s based on when certain resources are available, but Sunday afternoon? Moving shit off trucks and putting other shit on trucks, that can be done any time, so on Friday and Saturday when we were just hanging out, that could have been accomplished. So that way on Sunday night when it’s time to go home, you don’t have to hold up the whole fucking formation so you can give three people a safety briefing. Yeah, it was more than three people and I’m exaggerating but these are basic suggestions for a simple win.
But I am just a specialist and therefore mildly retarded and incapable of a sentient thought.
I don’t expect to be released early every time I come to drill. I don’t expect to be catered to (although I want to be). I don’t expect everything to magically go right, but it is like more and more as time goes on, this unit seems to slowly fall apart. I’m sure some sergeant will come up with a good reason as to why things did not progress as planned, but everything has a good reason.
There’s a good reason why I’m bitchy today. There’s a good reason why the sky is blue. There’s a good reason why your mom is ugly.
The only thing that makes the drill weekend bearable is my peers. I have a good time with these guys. As long as we can sit around, crack jokes, cry on each other’s shoulders and bitch and rant together, I can get through it. If these guys weren’t around, I probably would have run screaming from the armoury already. That’s what I’m going to hang on to when I go to AT this year.
I’m dreading it like a trip to the gyno. We will be stuck for two miserable, hot, humid weeks in Ft. Pickett, VA. I’ve never been down there but I ain’t never been to an army base that looks like the Breakers Resort. I’m sure the beds will be two pieces of toilet paper strung together on a bit of rope. The bathroom will look like the death scene from Carrie 2: The Rage. The food will have me either clogged up for a month or shitting for two weeks straight. Take your pick. They both suck.
One of the sergeants basically told me how it’s going to be. We’re going to get down there, set everything up, have a few training classes, go to the range and then kind of like… nothing. If we don’t have a mission then we’re basically useless.
But I swear I really do love this shit and I don’t know why. I am a battered wife. The more I get knocked around the more I want to go back. I put on my uniform and I feel all special and important. I can’t imagine not wearing it. I have ten more months left on my contract and it hasn’t even really crossed my mind not to renew. I’m looking at other options, of course. But you know what battered women usually do?
They go from one abuser to the next without blinking an eye, because they don’t know no better.