Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sleepwalking Through LIfe

17 November 2006

Events over the last week have certainly changed things some. The last Sunday, the first ITT person to be KIA here in theater happened at a site north of here compliments of a rocket attack. It came as quite a surprise to people here, but oddly enough, the corporate reaction to this death in the ITT “family” was treated about as coldly as the proverbial burial at sea your goldfish got when you were growing up! For as much of an outpouring of feeling as management made about Barb’s passing, we were certainly under whelmed with their near denial to one of our own here in Iraq “purchasing the farm” so to speak.

It only convinces me more that we contractors are only considered as disposable as paper towel to this company. Their words have always said, “Oh, no…we respect you as people and dedicated professionals,” but their actions have spoken far louder what is in their hearts. As soon as Barb passed, management tripped all over themselves to send her family their heartfelt condolences complete with forwarding email to express our feelings to her and her family prior to her passing. Don’t get me wrong, I really cared about Barb. Even though I don’t know Mr. X from Adam, that shouldn’t count him out as far as giving his family our full support and such.

This Wednesday night as I was walking home from work, I heard that familiar “whoosh” overhead. About a mile away, the rocket impacted. Count to ten and see if there are more. “Whoosh, boom.” Another minute, one more. This time I saw sparks fly and smoke start to rise in the moonlit distance. Two minutes later, one more, but it ended up sounding like a cigarette butt extinguished in a cup of water as it must have landed in one of the lakes or deep gullies here. Extent of damage was one Humvee lost. That must have been the sparks I saw off in the distance.

Did I really miss this in the four months back home? Not on your life. I’m not scared or afraid, I just miss the solitude and peace of mind of home. Maybe I’m bored with life. Am I sleepwalking through life again? I remember telling Jeannie after we just received our MBA that I needed to find something that challenged me at the “cellular” level...(And I wasn’t speaking about telephones!) Down to my very inner core.

Six years of college while working full time was that kind of challenge, but then it was over after two degrees. I’m looking for that next inner challenge to conquer. You know, like I felt during my 20 months in Antarctica. Like the one that I found during the 2.5 years I was here in Iraq for the first two contracts. Seems like the excitement or challenge of this environment has lost its shine. I think that inside I’m already searching for that next challenge.

Until then, I sleepwalk through time…oblivious to the rockets or mortars flying overhead. Oblivious to boneheaded management decisions that keep coming, which used to play in my head like raunchy sappy music hits from the 1970’s. Oblivious to my not moving up on the KBR tent list for a trailer sometime in the next six months. Oblivious to the Groundhog Day existence that defines this place. This is so yesterday’s challenge…been there, done that! Where too next?
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