I just got back from a little excursion to the other side of base. The dust storm is clearing up but it still has things slowed down a bit, so we took the opportunity to grab some necessities at the big PX. While we were there I got another glimpse of how this place screws with your mind.
There is one female in our unit on our shift. She's pretty cool, but more and more irate lately. Standing in line, a lane came open and she still waited. They guy at the checkout counter called her up again and she didn't go, she waited on the lane with the female cashier. We talked about it after we walked out – seems as though she can't eat, walk around, or really do anything without guys staring at her like a piece of meat. She didn't want to go through the lane because she was purchasing some personal items. I made the comment that it was pretty fucked up that she thought that way, but still had to explain that it was in the context that we don't think that way normally.
It's this place getting into our heads. I don't know if you guys know about some of the restrictions over here or how you feel about some of the issues we have to deal with but here's some of it.
General Order #1B in a nutshell:
Hefty hefty punishment for anyone violating this order. They go to great lengths to respect "host nation laws". Such as inspecting personal laptops, cameras, thumb drives, and really any electronic storage devices. We have a handful of guys stuck here for weeks because they were "caught" with pictures that their significant others sent them from home. They really dig deep to make sure there's none of that on their base. Tsk tsk tsk.
Enough people to fill a medium-sized city in a space as confined as this? No legal outlet for all the hormones, pent up anywhere from 3-15 months? You bet females are going to be uncomfortable! You bet there's going to be some sexual assault! You bet there's going to be somebody cooking wine in a ziplock bag under their bed!
I have to stop here and say I don't want to sound like a wet blanket, I'm proud to serve my country and these are days I will look back on and definitely not regret, however these are some of the real issues we face while we're here. This is the grit you'll see in our teeth when you see pictures of us in the paper and on the news. It's easy to sit at home and say support our troops. It's easy to stick a yellow ribbon magnet to the back of your van so everybody else in the school parking lot can see it. It's also easy to forget that when we come home all these little pieces of grit in our teeth are hard to get out. Some things never leave you.
There's an anger you feel when you get home, I'm trying to prepare myself for it already. When you're here it's all in your face, it's real, you can see it and smell it and taste it. It's real life. When you get home, especially in an election year, you get angry at all the bullshit that takes precidence in the "average" American's every day life. It's like the only reason we're here is to push somebody's agenda and give somebody else the upper hand in a debate about why gas prices are as high as they are and whether a tax "vacation" is the best thing for the economy.
Some of those issues are important, but you really gain perspactive when you're watching that on CNN at the hospital waiting for the next set of helos to bring in God only knows what kind of casualties this time. How much difference does that make to somebody getting wheeled in on a stretcher, or pushing that stretcher, or waiting in the ER for that stretcher? When you see all the bullshit that we focus on back in the states it really makes you think, "is this what we're fighting for?"
Ok, I think I'm bitching now, but like I said it's real life. It's how I feel right now and I'm not going to discount my own feelings. If you want to gain a little perspective on what I'm saying, there's a movie that came out last year or the year before that, it's called "Home of the Brave". Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, GREAT movie that really captures the feelings of anger and frustration that we feel when we get home. Watch it. Watch it.
I have a job to do, and I'm going to do it to the best of my ability. In those times when I just don't know why I think about my future family. I think about the freedoms I want them to have, and I hope there is somebody like me in this country that will be able to have a family with the same freedoms that I want for mine, and more than that I hope they know what to do with them.
That's enough for today. Probably too much but oh well. Blog again tomorrow!