A short breakdown of my activities / whereabouts:
Week 1: tried to sleep, with little success. Woke up more than a few times thinking I'd heard the duck & cover alarm. Had a recurring dream (nightmare?) that I'd misplaced my weapon [read: I no longer carry a weapon] and woke up sweaty, with my heart pounding.
Week 2: flew down to Florida with Coug and stayed with her mom. Went to Busch Gardens (it rained), tried to go swimming (started raining), enjoyed the best orange soft serve ever (while watching the rain) and managed not to get even a little bit of color (tan cancelled on account of... rain).
Went to a martini bar with Coug, her cousin, and a friend and managed to make a complete and utter ASS of myself. That night really deserves its own blog post, but I'll summarize in the interest of time: got trashed, ended up puking (up everything I think I've ever eaten) in the bathroom while people came in and out, commenting on the smell ("Is someone puking in here?")... had to be CARRIED outside where I proceeded to puke into the bushes and try to lay down in the mulch. Was carried to the car, laid on Coug's lap and physically could not unclench my hands (weird!), was carried into Coug's mom's house, and fell asleep in my clothes on top of the covers. I prayed for death - it would have been less embarrassing.
Week 3: occupied the couch and sulked. Continued having the dream about the missing weapon.
Week 4 (last week): went back to work at Joint Force Headquarters, Massachusetts National Guard. My sole accomplishment for the week (I'm not joking):
Well, I didn't want him to run away from boredom! We're in this together, Camel.
Really, I hate being back here. Sometimes I think that it's really changed; a number of my friends are either gone or are on their way out; the leadership is all new now and the changes they implemented while I was deployed are mostly less than enjoyable. And the walls upstairs have been painted a bright, mental hospital white that creeps me out everytime I walk down the hall to my office.
But then other times, I look around and marvel at how everything is exactly the same. There's still the same drama, same gossip behind everyone's back, same building full of broken deployment-dodgers. Don't mean to come off as a snob, but it's rather interesting I think that the majority of personnel in the HEADQUARTERS element of the MA National Guard have NEVER DEPLOYED. Aren't we, like, fighting a war?
And that's actually a part of the changes I was talking about: a number of officers in the system were not retained at the last retention board, and rumors has it that lack of deployment time was at least a partial factor in the decision to retain/not retain. Can't say I really blame the leadership... although my boss was one of those not retained, and he's a really great guy... but then everyone has their own backstory, right? You could probably plead a case for just about any of them. So where do you draw the line? 20+ years in the Guard, 0 deployments, 0 battalions commanded... I don't know. It makes me kind of sick to think about it. Obviously I'm a long ways away, but I cannot imagine having the rug pulled out from under me like that. One day they type up a memo saying I'm all done, mandatory retirement, GTFO - and then what?
Strange when you realize that your life so revolves around a single thing that you really think you might just die without it. Stranger still when you consider that you hate a sizeable chunk of this thing (the chunk being JFHQ, in case you aren't following).
I need to get the fuck out of here. I never should have left Iraq.
"...she said I need you to hold me
I'm a little far from the shore...
and I'm afraid of sinking..."
- Santana feat. Steven Tyler "Just Feel Better" -