Monday, July 28, 2008

Reality is a Killer, So is Boredom

Well, here it is another day in the beautiful, wonderful, sandy, dusty, WWWWWWWWWWIIIIINNNNNNNDDDDDYYYYYYYYY Afghanistan. Sitting around thinking, and that is dangerous when you are deployed. I will get to that later.

I left the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and came to active duty because I was tired of digging around in dirty clothes and patting down the nasty. I gave that up because I was also over the politics that surrounded every promotion and....well.....how people were picked. By how much ass kissing they could do, not how they manage people and situations. Knowledge does not always make you a good leader. Trust me!! Back to my point. Here I am in AfCRAPistan on guard duty. What is one of the duties? YOU GUESSED IT!! I get to HANDWAND and PATDOWN the wonderful smelling locals when they come on to our highly secure, you better have a badge or escort on my compound in the middle of the base. Yes, they come in refill the the water tanks and.........ready........remember I get to pat them down and do not have GLOVES..........clean the poopers!!!!! Oh yeah. The wonderful porta-johns. They are all in them getting in there. Oh, and there are the guys that dumpster dive before they hall of the dumpster to empty it. And here I was thinking I was done wanding and patting down the smelly and nasty. Boy was I wrong. At least I have been able to train some guys on the to do it properly, without doing the exact same way, just trained them on principle so I am not breaking rules and laws although to be on here you have to have a clearance and all that crap.

I have been getting emails and letters from people who say this blog has shed a lot of light on the life being deployed. I hope newbies, FNGs (do not ask if you do not know), first timers and the like keeping reading to see how this will effect you. Boredom. It will destroy you. Look at Jeremy's last post. What is he doing? What am I doing today? Being bored and THINKING. THINKING about being home and what we would be doing. Why? We think it will make us feel better thinking about the future. Yeah, I have to FREEDOM (did you think I was not going to mention her?) and get to think about that future. Yeah it keeps my mind off the ex wife and how she has not responded to the papers that were filed in court, but it is still dangerous. You have time to plan and think and wonder and miss. The thinking and the missing is the dangerous part. Actually all of it can be. You miss the family friends, the COLD BEER, the motorcycles, the ability to go where you want when you want, and that special time with that special someone. You are awake when they are sleeping...are they sleeping alone.....are they actually home.....who is there with them.......all that paraniod crap that will eat you alive and consume you. I am lucky that I do not have to worry about that. Most are not. You get to missing the things that made you happy and were part of every day life (we are not drunks, I was not referring to alcohol). When you start missing you, start playing what ifs and what abouts and where are and who is and when and why and who and when and why and who. It will eat you alive. Not staying busy and getting your butt kicked at work so you cannot leave early or even on time is a blessing in the end no matter how bad it sucks at the time. I am taking college classes (oh and scored 95% in one class and 100% in the other on my midterms; I am at 95% overall in both classes) to occupy my down time. I am watching movies (actually watching the seasons of Scrubs right now and it is GREAT!!) and sometimes that is a bad idea. You see someone falling in love, getting married, having kids, DRINKING BEER, having fun with friends. Once again, too much time will eat you up if you let it. The hardest part of being here is finding someone to call home to every day and share those feelings. Not everyone has that, not all admit they need it, be we ALL need it. I got lucky and found that person, yes it is FREEDOM!! We all have "friends" but how many of them are willing to sit and listen to how crappy or great or boring or dangerous or it is? How many are willing to listen about what you did today? How many are willing to listen to you talk about all the paperwork you did? I am willing to bet most have better things to do other than listen to you. We all need someone to talk to and we cannot always find that person. Why? Why does no one want to take 10 minutes away from the TV and listen just so we can feel better and make it easier being away from friends and family? I had someone that NEVER had time to listen to me and it made it worse. If you are that person that is relied on, suck it up and listen to crap you do not want to hear. If we can take the time posting on here for you, you have time to listen if we call. Now, I have ranted and filled you in on how boredom and loneliness will put a soldier in the dumps and drag them to the bottom, what are you going to do the next time someone calls and wants to talk. Who said that you have to be here to feel that way and get down from being bored? It would eat me up when I was home. Call a friend that you know that does not do anything and sits at home all the time and MAKE them go out tonight. Just go somewhere and hang out and bullshit about the world. You do not have to get all mushy and talk feelings and stuff, just hang out. Jay Prince was a great friend for that at home. A cold beer, a bar full of women and a lot of talking. Of course we always went home alone, but it was still fun. Now I am starting to think about things and it is making me sad. Oh and how about sending some soldiers some pictures of their favorite hang outs while all the guys and gals are there to remind them they have friends missing them at home. Take a picture of it raining, take a picture of the grass, take a freaking picture of YOURSELF, of a nephew, niece and for God's sake how about their kids. I get most of this and it really helps. The smallest things make the biggest smiles. My favorite pictures right now are one of my parents and Courtney on the front porch (it is hanging on the wall where I see it every time I leave my room and one of FREEDOM driving down the road and taking a self portrait. JUST TAKING A FREAKING PICTURE!!!!!!! They mean the world to us, all of us!! The smile that is on a face when I soldier opens that letter or email (you need to send it digitally and a hard copy to hang on the wall seeing we cannot print them here) is priceless.

Jeremy, I love you brother and although I have not it in a while, I could not be prouder of you.


Freedom, sorry I freaked out today, I just love you so much and was worried. Oct is soon approaching!! I am leaving here in 62 days or 5,356,800 seconds or 89,280 minutes or 1488 hours or 8 weeks to come and see you. I cannot wait for all that I have planned!! It is also 55 more days for the other important date (you know what I am talking about). I could not be happier that I have you and your love. It is what drives me everyday. I cannot wait to hear your voice again!! I am so excited that everyone likes you so much. I want to rant on and on about you, but I did that last time and most people will skip this part, but you better not. Awe what the hell.....I LOVE YOU and MISS YOU!!! Want me to do it again? I know, I am crazy and funny, but you do that to me!!

To the rest of you.....I love you all and thank you all for the support. I hope you take what we say here serious.

SGT JOHN STRADER
BAGRAM, AFGHANISTAN

3949

4 comments:

MOM said...

I feel like I get almost that bored here at home. Wishing someone would call or come visit.
I am so glad that both you boys have grown up so much and are doing so great.
I am so excited that you will be here in 8 weeks, or all those minutes, or all those seconds, or all those other things that you said.
Fill your pool up and go relax.
MOM

John and Jeremy Strader said...

Hey bro....I love your entries and all....but can you please...umm re-read them before you post it. I'm having to imagine what you're thinking and fill in the blanks sometimes. I know your little brain is working faster than your fingers....please. Ass! :-)
Love you bro!
Worm

Anonymous said...

hey Worm ........ did you just call your bro an "Ass!" ?

Halli said...

Haha... well it won't be long so find something to do productive.