Saturday, April 09, 2005

6 Down, 44 to Go

Well, this marks the end of the sixth week of our deployment here. I told Pam that I didn't want to keep a calendar, but that's simply an impossibility. You can't help but mark the time, you know it's just going to make it seem longer, but you have to do it. Sure, you try all the tricks, like counting backwards "Six weeks down." instead of "Forty-four weeks left."; you try counting by weeks instead of days because 44 sounds a lot better than 320; you think about counting by months but then time goes to slow to feel like you're making any progress at all; and finally you try not counting at all. At the end of the day though, there you are, marking off a calendar, or starting a new page in a journal and you just can't help missing home.

The time is really starting to weigh down on us now. We've adjusted to our new environment, and all the novelty has dissapated. The monotony has started to set in, and people are realizing just how much time still lies ahead.

The only emotion I can really compare it to is the weeks following 9/11. We were shocked to see things that we knew were possible but never expected. We saw things that we understood but stunned us never the less, and we began to accept things that only now we believed were necessary. Over those weeks, a longing began to well up in us. It was barely noticable at first, but soon the desire for normalcy overwhelmed us. We wanted to drive to work without seeing the skies of our cities being patrolled by armed warplanes. We wanted to go to a hockey game without being searched at the door. We wanted to travel without arriving at the airport 3 hours early. We longed for the things that we had understood and were familiar to us. Slowly though, you accept these things because even though you loathe their necessity, the alternatives are unthinkable, and you build you life around the new rules defining your own revised sense of "normal" as you go.

So while we go about defining our new sense of normal here and building our daily lives around it, it helps to know that each day not only brings us closer to returning to the normal lives we left a few weeks ago but also helps ensure that our children and grand-children grow up in a world where their sense of normal is familiar and comforting rather than something you remeber in dreams and long for.

1 comment:

Papa Ray said...


I know about the time thing, I fought it right to the wire and then surprised myself and everyone else when I extended for another tour.

That was in the unpopular war, if you remember. But, deep in my heart, I really didn't surprise myself.

It was because my firt tour was spent running after the bad guys and never quite catching them. Sure we would get a few, but was like chasing shadows. It was very flustrating and made me very angry.

Also, the booby traps and the ambushes added to the flustration. So I decided to extend if they would get me into a unit that went after the bad guys in somewhat the same manner as they operated.

LLRP was what I got into and never looked back, I finally could do something every day that brought the war, the pain and the destruction to the bad guys.

Instead of the other way around.

So the second tour I wasn't counting the days, as in wanting to get out, but as in, knowing how little more time I had to complete MY mission.

Its all in your head, I know your thinking, and your right.

So, try looking at things you can do, must do and want to do and make some of them happen.

It will make time not so important every day, except that you might have to hurry to get all the things done that you want to do.

Just a thought.

Papa Ray
West Texas