A day of changes

Sorry to do this to you all, but I’m in the mood to talk… Just one of those days, ya know… I’ll try to lj-cut what I can, but otherwise expect a long entry.

First I’ll tell you about my day. It wasn’t too bad. Woke up to an alarm red, as usual. The last three days they attacked about the same time. It’s bad, but I’m to the point where I just go back to sleep instead of doing something about them. This base is kinda backwards on the alarm red business… it’s supposed to mean: Attack is imminent or in progress. Here it means: Attack has already happened, we have confirmed it, asked the big boss if he’ll let us push the little red button and he said yes. I’ve only heard one explosion after the red has gone off, and that was because we were hit a few times. (That time I did put on my gear since they were both pretty close.)
After alarm yellow was issued, I went to formation and to the guard tower. I found out that today will be my last day on the tower as well. Things change so much around here, but I’ll get into that later… It appears I’ll be doing convoys starting any time now, but nobody knows when. I wonder if they even know I’m still alive. We’ll see.
Anyways, at the guard tower, I took some shampoo that someone was throwing away. (One of the bottles leaked and got shampoo all over the inside of the bag. I thought it was stupid to waste it when I knew a couple kids who begged for shampoo every day.) Anyways, today the entire family came out. This was something new. Mom/dad/all the kids. It was pretty awesome from my point of view. The dad was holding a toddler, and he was having the baby wave to us. I thought that was cute. There was also a little girl who was prob like 10 or so wearing a flowered dress. She came up with her brothers but sat in the back. After her brothers left, she sat there alone. I started talking to her in arabic and she started talking back. It was kinda funny. I think the cutest part was when she shouted “I love you!” and blew a kiss at us. These are the reasons I feel like I’m doing the right thing out here. I admit I’m very ignorant about their culture and what they had to deal with before hand, but I at least feel happy that I was able to give to a family and that I felt they appreciated it. At least in my own mind, that was worth something. (Her sister who was prob around 15 was also blowing kisses… all the boys waved and stuff. It’s was a pretty cheerful day. I’m kinda sad I won’t be able to see it anymore.)

After guard duty, I came back to the tent and did my normal ‘after work’ stuff… ya know, changing, showering, etc. After that I was snagged by a few of the guys and we all went swimming. The pool is awesome! It’s an olympic sized pool with a few nets for volleyball or hoops for pool basketball. They also have the three level diving platforms on one end. (I ended up jumping feet first off the highest and diving off the middle… they had the bottom roped off due to safety… ie: those diving off the one above it. My dives were less than graceful… I landed head first, true, but I was tiled a little too far so my hands didn’t break the water right. It hurt the top of my head, that’s all.) We stayed for prob an hour and a half and just messed around. I wish I had brought my contacts and goggles for this one reason. Oh well.

After the pool, I decided to walk to the air force side to do my laundry. (I only have one DCU top with Senior Airman stripes on it, so I need to wash it often. I’ll take the rest over to alterations tomorrow since I don’t have anywhere I need to be.) On the way I stopped by here and checked my email and then continued on my way. It was a nice walk. I listened to Ayumi and watched the stars. Every now and then you could see an F-16 taking off and a helicopter fly by. All in all, it was pretty peacful and nice.

Over on the Air force side I watched movies and talked with people. Counterstrike seems to be less popular nowdays and I hardly see games going. The movies were kinda boring or just strange. I did talk with someone about drawing for a while, and that was a little interesting, but since I can’t draw worth anything, it kinda died. I did find out that the air force side has a gym, and possibly martial arts classes. Maybe I can see if I can attend a few while back from a convoy.

Anyways, now I’m here. That’s my day. Cool, ne?

The military seems to never know what they want to do. Ideas change, even orders change without notice. A good example was my orders changing from Mosul to Balad at the last minute. I could go into a dozen of examples about policy changes just around here, but I think you get the point. Well, the marines use the term Semper Fidelus which is latin for ‘Always Faithful’. Anyways, I think the military should use the term Semper Gumby or ‘Always Flexable’. (A cadre who was teaching us in Texas used that term, although I think the proper latin is gumbo, not sure…) Anyways, it fits the military.

Ok.. now the reason I wanted to type. People always look at me like I’m nuts when I mention that I walk everywhere, or that I love walking in the middle of the night. I like being alone… and the darkness feels more like a friend than the mysterious danger that everyone else seems to believe. The darkness may hide whats around you, but it also cloaks you from others. I’m not sure if it’s just because I feel lonely or if it’s because I miss Tina so much, but there are time when I just want to be alone, and since nobody likes walking here, it gives me plenty of time to be alone. Alone is good. It gives you time to think and to try and discover who you are. I gives me time to think of what I want to say to my wife, or what I want to write here. Sadly, I think it ends up giving me more time to be depressed that nobody is out here. But as long as I have friends who I know care for me, and that tina is home thinking of me, I’ll endure. It gives me a reason to fight hard to get home safe.
People ask why I don’t talk or anything… and I don’t know. I’ve never been very good at life. I’ve never even tried to pretend I was. I can talk well online, but it’s not as formal, imho. For some reason, I never seem to say the right thing when I’m talking to someone in person. Here, I can also backspace it and change it. I also feel like a clutz or stupid most the time unless I find someone who actually shares the same interests as I do. (I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in Iraq who listens to japanese music almost entirely, or reads japanese manga. And most people don’t care to discuss astronomy, computers, or anime. I don’t care about cars/rap/hollywood people/girls around here/or whatever else the people around here want to talk about. It makes it hard to actually get into a conversation. Also, I can’t really talk about personal matters to men unless they’re really close to me. Clint and Bob were the last two guys who I was able to break down and lay my heart out for them. It’s easier to talk to girls, but only the ones who seem to care and have compassion. As it is, I don’t know any girls out here, nor do I care to really… and Clint and Bob are half way around the world. I do talk to Tina, but it’s hard on the phone or online. So, in the end, I just don’t talk. And when I try to actually get into a conversation, it normally goes bad. With no real interest, I can’t speak well or say anything with conviction. In the end, they see me as a fake and I just back away and leave them alone. Most the time it’s easier to just be myself than to act the fool.
Anyways… so who do I go to when I need to bear my soul… here. I guess it’s because I feel like I’m talking to myself when I write this. I don’t really consider it something I do for others. The fact that others read it seems like more of a mystery to me than anything. My life isn’t exciting or interesting enough to be the spectacle of others. Why would others want to read it. But I’m glad when others do… I suppose. It gives me a little feeling of importance to have others care for what I say and do. Perhaps that’s why I write… to gain those little brief glimpses of what it feels to be important. Maybe thats why I give those kids soap and water. Maybe that’s why I try so hard to be a good husband, or to do well in school or work. Maybe it’s just so I can feel some importance. I guess we all have something we live for… Maybe I’ll always stay on this train, feeling brief moments of joy, while I continue to wait for my exit to something better. Either way, as long as Tina and my friends are there for me, I’ll be content. My wife makes me feel important all the time, and my friends make me feel loved. I thank you all for that. You may not believe or understand it, but I really do. If for nothing else, you’re the reason I’m alive and trying hard to do well. I can’t express it any better than that. I can only hope you understand. Why do you live?

Well, it’s 6:30 and I promised Tina that I would call her 30 mins ago, so I should get going. Thanks for being there and for the strength and support. Take care and I’ll write again when I can.

About Matthew Jones

Writer, Programmer, Astronomer, Dreamer, Wisher, Fighter. Always striving to be better than I was.
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