[I have a friend who is an amazing writer but he tends to abandon his writing projects often. I wanted to save his writings for posterity and make them more widely available. The MonkeyPope Archives contain his collected works.]
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Airborne: Prior to Week One
I outprocessed from Fort Gordon this past week and arrived at Fort Benning this past Thursday. Before my departure I became quite superstitious (as I am before all major changes in my life), interpreting events as signs and omens. ‘Course, even if there’s any truth to omens, the interpretation of the meaning is essential; in fact, more important than the omen itself. So let’s see…
In the month prior to Airborne, I got food poisoning (documented in my bloody stool entry), an infected spider bite that caused my left hand to swell like an inflated medical glove, poison ivy on my left forearm (both of these latter conditions occurred during a voluntary FTX at Ft Gordon), and the flu this past Sunday (specifically, a fever hovering around 101, chills, lots of vomiting, massive headaches, and fatigue). Now, the optimist in me believes that all the bad luck was just working its way out before the beginning of Jump School. Thus, good omens. But it ain’t hard to see the flipside to that.
Now this might just sound wacky, but I always feel fortunate to see undomesticated critters scampering about, especially in urban settings. In this past week, I kept seeing cats everywhere. I assume that’s a good sign, even if some were dark as night. On the drive here, either a very large fox or a very small wolf (maybe a coyote? I’m not good at identifying quadrupeds) stopped on the side of the road and watched me drive by before continuing across the highway. And it was one of the few moments that I was entirely alone on the highway (other than the, let’s say, fox). After checking into my hotel Thursday night, a green lizard raced me up the outside stairwell to the 4th floor, before it relented and stopped on the pillar that the stairs looped around so that I could marvel at its lizard greenness.
Signs? Eh, who cares. Just happy little moments before the beginning of school.
In-processing yesterday which consisted of getting lost on post, filling out some paperwork, standing in formation for three hours, being separated into another formation and standing around for a couple more hours, filing into a room, filling out paperwork while being astonished at how stupid my comrades-at-arms were, yelling airborne a bunch, getting crapppy gear issued, having my car inspected (which, by the way, has a brand new crack on the front window courtesy of a little rock; the crack looks like a star got squished on my windshield), stenciling my issued roster number (I’m number 169…so how you doing?) onto tape which was then applied to all my gear, finding my room which I ostensibly share with three others, yelling airborne some more, waiting around some more, wondering just how long till we’d be released (it was well past 5 by now and lunch was not provided), again being astonished at the stupidity of some of my colleagues, and on and on. When they finally released us, it was almost too late to go to the chow hall and about half of the platoon had yet to stencil their gear.
Despite the inefficiency of the operations and my ever-growing hunger, I was in good spirits for the day, looking forward to well, something to do, even if that something was getting smoked, falling alot, being yelled at, and dealing with really stupid kids. But when I returned to my room at the end of the day, I discovered two persons not assigned to the room had taken the last two wall lockers in the room. Unable to move in and organize my junk, I got a little pissy. So I went and ate, came back, found one of ’em and told him to move his shit out of my room (I tried to be polite). Thankfully he obliged. I made my bed (wisely picked the firmest mattress in the room), prepared my uniform for guard duty at 4 am, read a little, and despite the boisterous straight-from-AIT soldiers roaming the hallways and walking into every room, I slept very well. In fact, it was the first night of sleep since I got the flu on Sunday that I didn’t wake up freezing cold and sweating.
I woke up late today (well, after going back to sleep after my two hour guard duty shift) and drove around post to get my bearings, and Fort Benning being fucking enormous, that took a little while. Now I’m back at Days Inn, re-connecting to the outside world, charging my cell phone without having to worry that it’ll be stolen (all items in the barracks when not in your possession or within your view, must be secured in your wall locker or they will be stolen. Last night, there were complaints of stolen linen and a stolen cell phone), and looking forward to falling asleep while I see what drudge is on midday TV.
Yes, I know this entry ain’t very exciting, but it’s something I’d like to keep documented. cheers.