Saturday, May 15, 2004

Paranoia will destroy ya...

Paranoia Will Destroy Ya...

15 May 2004

Just as I was dropping off to sleep last night, I heard and felt two mortars. They sounded like outgoing and sounded pretty distant, so I remember thinking as I rolled over and fell asleep, "Ahhh, the sound of freedom!" This moring, Ron who had been up at Building 8 when the mortars *came in* (all three of them, but I only heard two) was telling us a story about when he got back to the tent last night.

As he walked around the concrete bunker by the door of our tent, he discovered that it was packed with a civilian and a bunch of new soldiers fresh in from the States. Ron says to them, "What's up?" To which the civilian answers, "Wow, those had to have landed within 30 yards of us!" Ron responds, "No, I don't think so. They were pretty far away on the other side of the base. Otherwise, all the guys in our tent would have battle rattle on and be out here too." All of us were still in the tent sleeping. There is just no way that it could have been that close if I didn't wake up to hear the third incoming! If I wake up at home from a dog's cold nose staring me in the face with big sighs, I'm sure that I would have woke up for a mortar landing 30 yards from my tent!

So, all these fresh soldiers in their skivvies with sleep still in their eyes and Chicken Little pile out of the bunker and head back to bed in their tent next door. Guess the civilian said something to Ron about having been here for the rocket attack and he wasn't going to take any chances. Sounds like he's a little shell-shocked and should go back home. At so many of the sites here, mortars have been an everyday-thing. Not too much different or unexpected from if you were to hear the call to worship at least once in the day from the surrounding mosques.

Yes, it is dangerous here. But, so are so many other things around here and elsewhere that are dangerous too. Like the sandflies, scorpians, spontaneous combustion and taxis on the corner of Wacker Drive and Madison in downtown Chicago (if you're not watching out for yourself!) In some respect, it comes down to fate. We only have control of so many variables. When my number comes up, I won't be telling St. Peter, "No way, dude. I'm not ready yet." I'm being as safe as I can be. I'm not wandering around downtown Baghdad looking for trouble. I'm eating my broccolli. What more should I do? I'm just not going to live in a constant state of paranoia for the next eight months.
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