Thursday, April 20, 2006

“I Saw You Walking the Other Day…”

20 April 2006

Somewhat rudely, I stopped Barbara mid-sentence when she said that to me this morning in the chow hall. I felt obligated to interject, “Now that’s something you will NEVER, ever hear said to a manager around here!” “Only a nobody walks in L.A.” as the saying goes (“Walking in L.A.” Missing Persons, 1982) There are so many personal little fiefdoms or kingdoms going on here and with it, the sucking up to get a POV assigned to you which insures your domain. You’re either a sire or a serf around here. If you have a horse (vehicle), then you are a sire and you’ve found your holy grail. Otherwise, you’re a serf or peasant. You can have it; I’m goin’ home…32 days and a wake up.

On Sunday we had a hellacious rain and hail storm. The sky turned yellow for about an hour and I was waiting for the twisters to come take us, Dorothy and Toto to Oz. After having seen the Easter Sunday presentation of Ten Commandments on AFN, I was waiting for the hail after it fell to burst into flames. We must have had a good 1-1/2 inches of rain. All this late-season rain has made for a real bumper crop of mosquitoes. I’m sure that I haven’t seen mosquitoes in such numbers since the jungles of Guatemala in April of ’90. But that’s a tale in another blog. No…really! http://daveinantarctica.blogspot.com/2005/07/chapter-18-twisted-trail-back-home.html

Yesterday I ended up making a trip (by bus) up to the big PX and Bazaar at Liberty for a few odds and ends. My first trip up to Liberty was intended to go to the Bazaar to buy this chair with inlay that I saw two weeks ago. I saw a similar one in Kuwait and wanted it but didn’t know how I’d ship it, so put that thought out of my head. But when I saw it again two weeks ago, I decided that if it was there on Wednesday that it was mine. The wood is bent (which Raymond said is probably achieved from the wood being boiled and bent) and it folds with the slats of the seat interlocking giving this thing a real interesting look. The inlay covered by a high-gloss lacquer.

Since you can’t go into the PX with any boxes or bags from the Bazaar nor can you go into the Bazaar with any boxes or bags from the PX, I ended up catching the bus back to Victory which would require me making a second trip back from Victory to Liberty. Our little PX has no packing tape whatsoever. Sometimes even the simplest things are hard to get here. So my second trip of the day to Liberty, I decided to take my bike back up to make my PX purchases. They seem to think around here that EVERYONE has a vehicle that they can just leave their purchases in. Not this serf.

Later in the afternoon, I walked over to the Post Office with another small box to be mailed off to my sister. Although it was about a mile walk, the box was light enough that it wasn’t a terrible burden to walk there…even in the 100 degree heat. Not like the two trunks of 35 and 43 pounds that I sent home on Monday in preparation of leaving.

Even though we had rain on Monday, we are still choking on the dust as everything dries out. Last night when I showered to get all the accumulated dust off me, as the dirt was flowing off my body with the water I guess I got a bit more sun than I expected between my bike ride and walking all over the place here in the hot Iraqi sun.

KBR has come and placed the 12 foot blast barriers next to our trailer. They seemed to wait until the ground was more stable after that last one came crashing down into and through that one shower trailer a couple of months back. If you remember from my earlier descriptions, the concrete barrier that fell didn’t stop till it hit the steel beam on the floor of the trailer. I looked at the group of new barriers placed next to me (my room and bed for that matter, are on the outside wall) and the blast barrier on the end (which is placed next to where my head lies) and it is cocked ever so slightly inward to the trailer, making me worry that I will wake up one morning flat as a pancake. Since I’m a side-sleeper, I’m imagining them finding me with a flat-fish-face and talking through fish-lips as if I’ve squashed my face together with two hands. Kind of like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” only flatter. You’ve got the picture.

Raymond has been playing off my fears and was teasing me even more on Monday night after all the rain we had. “You know, with all that rain, I wonder if the mud under that barrier hasn’t caused that thing to lean a bit more in toward the trailer. Make sure to leave the door open when you sleep at night so we can at least try to pull you out from under the barrier if it does fall.” Now that’s the kind of positive reinforcement of my inner-most fears that I need, right? As E.G. Marshall would say when he was announcing radio Mystery Theater, “Pleasant Dreams?!”
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