Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Don't Worry, Be Happy (Tomorrow's Payday)

Don't Worry, Be Happy (Tomorrow's Payday)
22 September 2004

Been back about a week now. I'm off tonight, but decided to come in and read email and waste some time. I'm winging it today--didn't write in the journal first and then transcribe as I usually do.

The weather has started to get cooler here. The day temps are staying around the upper 90's and the nights are going down in the mid 60's. The weather has been nice, but still no rain in sight. It was kind of nice getting rained on in Cologne and then getting soaked to the bone two days in London.

Bought a used bike this week for $25. Chris upgraded to a better bike and was dumping his Huffy. I have been wanting a vehicle to get me to the big PX over on North Victory since they took the (motor) vehicles away from us. Whoo-hoo, so now I can go shopping at the bizarre again. Scott made a trip over to North Victory today while I was sleeping and I had asked him to pick me up a bike helmet so that I could actually ride the bike I just bought. Don't ya just hate "helmet hair?" Rules is rules.

Started running again yesterday. I'm a bit sore, but not too bad for having been off for four weeks total. Before you know it I'll be back up to 4 miles. I did notice that since it is cooler now, I don't feel so wasted after my run. There were days that even at 830am, I would have to stop because of the heat.

The natives have been quiet lately too. A few mortars last week and over part of the weekend, but this week has been strangely quiet. Maybe it was a full-moon thing. Glad to see the moon out again. It gets so dark out here with the moon gone that you had to carry a flashlight everywhere at night over the past week.

People are already getting set to leave next month. Offer letters received and in some cases denied. A few are only extending their time, but some will do another year. I would say that in the cases of those not staying, family has been the major concern. It is hard to be away from family for that long of a time. My sister best explained it to me that for me it is easier because I am here and know what is going on with me. But then the family back home still wonders and will never truely understand what we are doing every minute, how we live here, how we tolerate the living conditions, how we tolerate the threat, how close are the threats, how often are there perceived threats and why don't we just come home.

Even though I send home pictures, the views of my still-life pictures don't mesh with the live video garbage that the news media back home are pumping into your brains at 4pm,5pm,6pm, 10pm and again at 6am and 24X7 on CNN and Fox. Blood and guts sell advertising time. Our psuedo-normal lives or existances here differ from what you see on TV. Yes, we have had some incoming mortars and rockets. Yes, there have been stray bullets and people injured. Some of the soldiers based here actually do live that TV existence when they are out and on duty in Baghdad or Tikrit or Fallujah or An Najaf. But for a contractor doing telecom support, we are more sheltered. Our mission is different. As different at every person's reason for being here and/or staying here. I guess all that I can say is, "Don't worry."
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