Operation: WTF

It Must Have Been Love…

… but it’s over now.  I had all these drafts of posts saved up but when I went back to edit, I decided that it wasn’t even worth my time.  I planned on bitching about everything from the movement home to the unit buffoon to the demobilisation debacle.  Now it’s over, who really cares?  I will just try hard to not think about that horrible black space a year of my life was sucked into.  It’s over now.

I want to see where this goes.

But how do you pick up the threads of an old life?  Like Frodo, I return to everything I once knew to discover what I knew all along:  who are these people and why were they important?  What is all this crap and why do I care?  I just kind of… don’t.  Who wants to go back to all of that?  But if I don’t, then what do I do?  It’s very difficult to figure out.

I went to see my sister and Alien Baby.   Now I’m out west visiting my parents.  Tomorrow, I begin a new adventure, something I’ve always wanted to do:  a long road trip.  If I go back to office work, never again will I have the time to take on such an extensive trip.  Never again will I get to experience such freedom.  Going wherever the road takes me, doing whatever I want, not having to answer to anybody or do anything that I don’t want to do.  Of course, you’re only as free as your last dollar.  That’s the shitty part.

So, if you’ve been following me this whole deployment you can stop now.  I’m home now and I have nothing more to say about it.  You can follow me on my next adventure.  It may not be as much fun to you because I won’t be cussing anybody; I discovered that people only liked to read my blog because I wrote mean things about everyone and I sounded like a lunatic.  That’s too bad but it’s not like I didn’t like the attention.  At any rate, I’m doing something different now.  I’m going back to my regularly scheduled programme and adding a new segment:  The Road Less Travelled.

See you out there.

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Operation: WTF (Day 348)

If You Serve Enough Lollipops…

… you’re bound to get licked.

I am not sure why I expected anything different.  I think I was on this high after we got off the plane.  Everything seemed somehow different, like a miracle had happened.  I felt like I was in this new world where everything goes exactly the way I wanted.  Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.  How is it the Army manages to take the simplest activity and just turn it into a shitfuck?  I just don’t understand how things manage to get so totally fucked from the inside out. Nobody fucks you like Sam fucks you, and it is just amazing the positions he manages to get himself into.  I cannot even describe to you what is going on because deep down inside I feel this boiling hot knot of vexation burning me up.  It’s like having a really bad case of heartburn and everything you take to relieve it doesn’t help.

Everything’s a joke, isn’t it? Do I look like I’m laughing?!!?

Last night I dreamt I was over there again.  I woke up and realised that it was only a nightmare.  Then I woke up again and realised that I was in a different nightmare.  I dreamed that I was at the circus and there were clowns all over the place.  I was in this maze and I couldn’t get out.  The clowns said they would help me but they just kept pointing me in the wrong direction.  Soon I was so lost that I just sat down in the corner somewhere and the clowns got pissed because I didn’t want to listen to them anymore.

The next time I have this horrible dream I am going to punch myself in the face to wake up.  I was told, though, that there’s nothing you can do to escape.  Someone said, “Don’t try to kill yourself; they’ll just pull the gun out of your mouth and tell you to go sit your ass back down somewhere.”  You escaped hell only to find yourself in purgatory.  You can take it or leave it.

Operation: WTF (Day 345)

One Last Thing

Starry night, come inside me like never before. Don’t forget me when I come knocking at heaven’s door.

A few days ago I made this long ass list about what I wouldn’t miss about this place.  I guess it is only fair that I should say what I would actually miss.  I really couldn’t think of anything.  I wracked my brains trying to find something positive about this place that I would miss.  I was about to give up when I realised that I would miss the stars.  I’ve always thought the heavenly bodies were the most spectacular of God’s creations.  On those long walks back to the tent from the office, I would look up at the stars.  Since there isn’t much light pollution there’s actually quite a good view.  It’s a good time to contemplate things, to wonder and dream.  The sky is limitless.  There’s so much out there that we don’t even known about.  It has always amazed me.

Even though the rest of this shithole is lost to the dogs, that is the one thing I will miss.  In the big cities there’s too much light to get a good view.  You have to drive way out to the country and even then you have to be careful because the lights coming from the city messes everything up.

If I ever have the misfortune of coming out here again, I’m going to bring a telescope.

Operation: WTF (Day 344)

One For the Road

The only road out of here.

Apparently the demons that run this place found out we were trying to leave so they cast some kind of evil spell to trick Mother Nature into sending us the worst sandstorm we’ve experienced since we’ve been here.  We had plenty of them, quite a few that raged for a few days, but yesterday it was absolutely horrible.  It was strong enough to spark a fear that we might not get to leave here on our scheduled departure.  We were assured that come hell or high water (which they don’t have here) we are definitely getting out of this place.

You really have no idea of the renewed vigour I feel now I know I’m leaving.  This afternoon I completed my daily run and I ran with a quickness that I didn’t even know I possessed.  It was like I was running towards the Promised Land or something.  It’s that serious.  I’m not even bitchy about the excessive noise in the tent during the few hours I tried to catch a cat nap.  I didn’t even blink an eye when I discovered that every toilet in this Godforsaken place is covered in a thick coating of sand.  It’s all good.  I did not even get mad when the AC started to conk out during the prime heat of the day.

Actually, I think I found it hysterical that AC should die on our last night here.  Somebody is pissed that we are leaving this place.  Sorry about your bad luck but it’s time to be hittin’ the old dusty trail.

Operation: WTF (Day 340)

Things I Won’t Miss

We are in the final days of this debacle.  I think because I have a lot of things on my plate right now, the days are moving quickly.  I know the night before we get on that plane will probably be the longest night of my life.  I am not going to miss this place at all when I leave.  In fact, there are many things about this place I won’t miss.  Allow me to enumerate.

“Can you hear me now?” Nope, I won’t miss you.

1.  I will not miss sleeping in a tent with 25+ other women for an entire year.  I won’t miss not being able to get a full night’s sleep because some ill-mannered slattern keeps slamming the door like she was raised in a barn.  I won’t miss the lights on and off whenever it suits some random person’s whim.  I won’t miss midnight munchies:  the sound of cans of Coke (or Monsters) being opened up at 4AM, or someone digging into a bag of chips to crunch, crunch, crunch while they lay awake watching whatever movie they pirated.  I won’t miss being forced to listen to everybody’s phone conversations.  I won’t miss knowing everything about everyone’s family situations:  who is behind on their bills, whose daughter got a belly-button piercing without permission, who is having relationship problems.  I guess nobody ever realised that the even though the connection was bad, the louder you shouted into Skype the more everybody knows everything about you.  I won’t miss that.

I won’t miss the stench.

2.  I won’t miss going outdoors to go to the bathroom.  I won’t miss the dirty, shitty port-a-potties that smell so bad you almost vomit every time you go in there.  I won’t miss not having a roll of toilet paper because the local nationals don’t understand the importance.  I won’t miss the stench of cigarette smoke mixed with shit.  I won’t miss having to do my business in 4X4 cell that is about 120 degrees.  I won’t miss the absolutely unsanitary conditions some of these people left behind.

3.  I won’t miss the long hot walk to and from the shower, getting sand on my feet after I just bathed.  I won’t miss the scalding hot water no matter what tap you use or how hard you try to adjust the temperature.  I won’t miss the nasty wet floor, or the brown water that comes out of the faucets.   I won’t miss the water outages or the long walk trying to search for a shower facility that has water.

4.  I won’t miss the smell burning trash in the air, or the sewage trucks that come to suck the human waste out of the port-a-potties.

I won’t miss waking up in the middle of the night to discover the AC is out and I’ve been laying in a pool of my own sweat.

5.  I won’t miss the random power outages in the middle of the day in every building except the office.  I won’t miss the jackass who kept messing with the AC temperature control as if they are the only person to be comfortable, causing the AC to blow out in the middle of the afternoon.  I won’t miss trying to sleep as the temperature in the tent is 104 degrees.  I won’t miss waiting four hours for someone to come and fix it.

6.  I won’t miss the horrific food that gave me the bubble guts.  I won’t miss chili mac or runny oatmeal.  I won’t miss boiled steak or pancakes hard enough to pass as frisbees.  I won’t miss rotten fruit at the salad bar.  I won’t miss the stale slices of bread or the brown pieces of lettuce.  I won’t miss the sticky chow hall tables.  I won’t miss eating at the less-than-mediocre Chinese restaurant every day.  I won’t miss not being able to cook my own food or eat as healthy as I would have liked.

7.  I won’t miss the excessive heat.  I won’t miss the wind that makes it feel like a blow dryer in your face while shoving your head in an oven.  I won’t miss the Godforsaken sand blowing all over the place, getting into everything.  I won’t miss the intense sunlight.  I won’t miss the entirely moisture-less air.

I won’t miss the busted ass washing machines that don’t actually wash.

8.  I won’t miss the thieves at the laundry point.  I won’t miss the broken, fucked-up washing machines and dryers.  I won’t miss leaving my clothes to wash only to find the the washer has broken down and my clothes have been sitting in brown, brackish water for an hour.  I won’t miss leaving my clothes to dry only to find out the dryer has broken and the clothes are either sitting in a hot dryer but don’t tumble, or the dryer tumbles but it doesn’t get hot.

9.  I won’t miss the slow internet connection in the living quarters.  I won’t miss getting bilked by the internet service provider.

10.  I won’t miss being so far removed from everyone and everything.  I won’t miss feeling like I’ve been on another planet.  I won’t miss the feeling of isolation.  I won’t miss the simple-minded.  I won’t miss being treated like a wayward teenager.  I won’t miss busy work.  I won’t miss illogical decisions and senselessness.  I won’t miss arrogance.  I won’t miss selfishness.  I won’t miss idiots.

Nope, I won’t miss this.  I won’t miss it at all.

Operation: WTF (Day 327)

It’s the Little Things

This looks like the guy who stole my iPod, except he was wearing ACUs.

We’re less than two weeks out from departing this wretched place and I find now here, in the end, it’s the little things that are starting to add up.  In the real world, something so small would not even faze you, you might not even notice, but here everything has the power to irritate.  It’s the small things that seem to get trapped under the skin to vex you the most.

I was rather pleased with how calm I remained after realising that someone had stole my iPod.  It’s the second iPod I lost to someone in the military.  When I opened my shower bag and found that it was gone, I didn’t even blink an eye.  I am no longer stressed by the fact that the Army preaches integrity but no one seems to have any.  I just thought to myself there was very little I could do about it.  I can run screaming up the chain of command but that isn’t going to bring it back.  Even if I found the person who took it, I have no recourse.  Better to just get over it.  The good thing is that I don’t have to stoop to theft to get another, as I can well afford to buy 50 iPods if I feel like it.

I am still pissed about my shirt.

I felt more rage over the loss of my black t-shirt the laundry people stole.  It was something rather irreplaceable, and the fact that the guy was lying so blatantly to my face truly pissed me off.  But even then, there’s nothing I can do.  Just get over it.

These are two big things that would cause a lesser person to flip out.  I just ranted in my blog and moved on.  But now, I find an overwhelming urge to punch someone in the face again.  And it’s over something so small.  I am going to look back at this in two years’ time and wonder why I was so worked up.  But now that I’m here in the situation, I really am about to lose my mind.

What is this about?  Water.  The free water that is all over the place.  Free water.

Back home I tend to drink room temperature water, but since I am subjected to extraordinary temperatures and am forced outdoors during the hottest portion of the day I found that I desire something ICE COLD to drink.  I started putting bottles of water in the freezer when I come into work in the evenings.  I put in three.  Two to drink in about an hour or so, and one to take back to the tent when I get off at night.  Nothing is better than something tall and cool after a hot dusty transport.  The first few days I was doing this, there was nothing significant to report.

Freezing the water is the only way to get rid of the melted plastic taste.

However, just earlier this week, someone has been taking my ice cold bottles of water.  Now, I can’t really get mad because the water is free.  I didn’t pay for it.  I’m only irked because I took the time to open up one refrigerator, remove three bottles of water and open up another refrigerator to insert said bottles of water.  The fridges are right next to each other.  It requires no strenuous thought or heavy lifting.  There’s no walking involved.  It probably takes less than a second to accomplish the mission.  I don’t understand why the individual who took the water couldn’t do this himself.  And then they took ALL the water, not just one bottle, but all three.  Again, I can’t get mad.  The water is free.  What can I do?

The next day I decided to do the same thing.  Only this time I OPENED the bottles of water and drank out of them.  I figured no one would take a bottle that has clearly been drunk out of.  Two hours later, all the bottles of water were gone.  I’m not going to storm through the office looking for some free bottles of water, but I think to myself that this is totally petty.  What makes me so annoyed is that taking something that doesn’t belong to you is wrong, but if I went around demanding to know who took my water, I would look like an idiot.  It’s just one of those situations.

I believe I have a fair idea of who is doing this.  There are only so many of us who work at night.  There are two individuals who sit in the general vicinity of the refrigerators who have watched me put bottles of water into the freezer.  Instead of taking mine, why don’t you get the bright idea to put your own in there?  I mean, it’s not that hard.  But you know, I’m not going to get pissed.  It just proves that my initial assessment of certain people was accurate.  I tend to give everyone the lowest expectations.  This way I can be pleasantly surprised when those expectations are exceeded, and vice-versa, I think nothing of it when people do exactly as I think they’ll do.

At any rate, so yesterday, I once again put two bottles of water in the freezer.  This time I wrote my name on the bottle.  Sounds silly, but I didn’t put the water in there for someone else’s benefit.  Two hours later the water is still there?  It’s not because I wrote my name on it.  It’s because the fridge is broken and the water never froze.  Apparently, no one else wants lukewarm water either.