Thursday, November 11, 2010

Private Lives

After my mother realized I was flunking out of college she expressed her disappointment in me. I was all it's not my fault! I can't help it that my house is, like, right next door to the funnest bar ever created on planet earth and they just happen to sell beer for, like, a quarter! What do you want me to do? And she was all, "Well, I guess, if I were you, I'd start by getting a job."

Well, let's be honest. I was 19 years old and an adult - hello! There was no way someone was going to boss me around. Especially some woman who loved me unconditionally, had only my best interest at heart and would lay down her life for me in a heartbeat. I mean, the nerve, right?

So, I showed her: I joined the Army.

It was surprisingly easy to join. Almost too easy. But, whatever. At least I could live my own life, and not have someone breathing down my neck all the time, knowwhatImean? *nudge! nudge!* (You get why I was flunking out of college, right? Not exactly the brightest bulb....)

And so began my military career.

I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that the reason I detest painting by roller is because of the time I spent in the military.

Ok, so we may or may not have been late getting in one night. (Let me tell you, when they say you'll be back by a certain time you'd better be back. They really take that stuff seriously.) Our punishment was to stay on base under orders for an entire weekend. We were ordered to paint a small office.

We pulled all the file cabinets and office furniture out into the hall.

Then we painted the walls.

Then we stood in the hall at attention and waited for the walls to dry.

Then the Sergeant inspected the paint job.

Then we moved all the file cabinets and office furniture back into the office.

And then we did it all over again.

We moved all the furniture out, painted, waited, inspected, put the furniture back.

And then we did it all over again.

And again.

And again.

You can see why I hate paint rollers.

I hate raking leaves, too. That may be because of another time when we may have returned later than we should have, and we were ordered to rake the lawn of the Quartermasters Building during a special 4-day holiday weekend. We raked. Stuffed leaves in bags. Stood at attention while the lawn was being inspected. And then the Sergeant opened the bags and scattered the leaves all over the lawn and told us to rake them up again. As if that wasn't bad enough, he grew weary of emptying the bags himself and made us do it. So we raked up the leaves, scattered the leaves and raked them up again. For four days. On the same stupid lawn.

Some of the soldiers I figuratively killed.

I also have an aversion to falling asleep on tables. See, there's this job you have to do called "Guard Duty." Essentially you and a soldier-partner stand guard (or, in our case, sit at a table) in front of the door to where all our soldier-comrades were sleeping. The idea is to keep watch and make sure no bad guys get you in the middle of the night. And so, Private Josette White and I were ordered to conduct Guard Duty from 3am to 5am, which happens to be a very not-so-enjoyable time to sit at a table staring aimlessly at a door.

Take it from personal experience, Drill Sergeants frown upon falling asleep during Guard Duty. We woke up when the table our heads were resting on was being flung over by the Drill Sergeant. Momentum shoved me to the floor and he did this Hollywood Jedi Knight move where he pressed his finger into my temple and yelled YOU'VE JUST BEEN KILLED, PRIVATE! AND YOU'VE PUT YOUR FELLOW SOLDIERS AT RISK! HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? Well, I was just way too tired to explain how I was probably experiencing drowsiness because I hadn't received all my vital nutrients, because I was pretty sure that stuff in the mess hall was depleted of vitamins and minerals. Plus he was yelling really, really loud right in my ear and to be honest, although my eyes were popped open as wide as they could physically go, I still wasn't fully awake.

We did a lot of push-ups that day. And when I say a lot, I mean thousands.

Because we had figuratively killed everyone our Drill Sergeant thought everyone should get up at 3:47am and have a fun little work out. I thought that if we had figuratively killed everyone we should make it really, really spookily quiet like no one was there anymore and we should all just lay really still in our beds. But we worked out before our regularly scheduled 6:00am work out instead. I remember a lot of women glaring at me....

On our way to eat we'd march for a few minutes, Drill Sergeant would halt everyone, call my accomplice and I out to do some push-ups, then get back into formation. We stopped and started that march a dozen times before we got to the dining hall. (And those women were still glaring.) As an added bit of fun our Drill Sergeant decided to drop us - one on each side of the door, in the Front Leaning Rest Position (which means the position your body is in before you do a push-up). And there we stayed. Just like that. Until every single soldier on base had walked through those doors and enjoyed their breakfast.

"Private! What are you doing on the ground, Private?"

*sigh* "Sir, enjoying the beautiful morning, Sir!"

Me at far right.
Employed to defend YOU. And, yes, they gave us weapons.

One thing the military taught me was the importance of aim and identification. That one without the other was essentially worthless. Let's say you could identify the enemy but you couldn't aim worth a darn. It wouldn't do you any good. Now, let's say you were a great aim (like myself) but had terrible identification skills. You may find yourself launching water balloons out of your 4th floor room with your Private Benjamin coherts and hit square as can be someone really, really important. Like, oh, say, a Captain who happens to have a really big ego and a really small sense of humor. (Note to self: when it appears the red sea is parting for a particular member of the military, it is usually parting for someone way more important than you.) I spent the rest of that 90-degree afternoon standing on the pavement in the exact place I had hit him. With my arms stretched straight out, holding two very colorful water balloons, waiting for the sun to set.

Good times. Good times.

2 comments:

THE LETTS FAMILY said...

Happy Veterans Day!

Team Baribeau said...

Happy Veteran's Day! So. would now be a good time to share that i actually pay someone to tell me to do the front forward rest position at my exercise boot camp??