Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Learn to aim!

Seriously, it's not that difficult. I'm a guy, I pee standing up, and I have about a 99.99% success rate of not peeing on the seat. It's really not that hard. Point and shoot. The .o1 percent is there because even the best of us drift off and start thinking of other things, it happens.

But seriously, every time I walk into the bathroom here someone has peed on the seat. I guess that's what you get when you live with 100 soldiers, but still ewwww. Clean up after yourself, am I right?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why I run

I used to be a runner. I looked forward to my long runs on the weekend, and they could last several hours. I loved it. But the reason that I started was to get away from my roommates. I had a roommate that I absolutely couldn't stand, we were just fundamentally different. So I took up running after we would come back from our daily routine. At first that's all it was, time away from everyone else. When you work and live and spend your entire day with the same people it's nice to have some time to get away. So I ran. And eventually my short runs turned into longer ones, and the short ones got easier.

Then we finished our school and got assigned to different units. I moved in with roommates that I actually liked, and for a short time I stopped running. After a couple of weeks I realized that something was missing, so I started running again. It became a type of meditation for me. Throughout the whole day my mind is constantly running and analyzing things, and running is the 30 minutes to 2 hours a day that I could stop thinking. Or at least think minimally. Breathing? check. Legs moving? check. Heart beating? check. Uh-oh, here comes a hill. Still breathing? check. Legs still moving? check. Heart still beating? check. Repeat until finished.

Then I became known as a runner. It was part of my identity. People would ask me for advice on how to get better or faster and I would help them. It was a part of me. Then along came the hernia, and my hatred of doctors. Combine the two and I kept running through the pain until it got to where I couldn't run anymore. I kept losing fitness until I finally got to the point where I had to go to the doctor, and they recommended surgery. So I got it fixed, but it was another month until I could run again. And about that time I went and spent six weeks or so out in the field doing training for a deployment, and didn't have time to run. My fitness continued to decline. Then came the deployment, and saying that it was a high operational tempo deployment wouldn't do it justice, we barely got time to sleep, let alone spend time running.

Then I got out of the Marine Corps, and I was exhausted. Physically, mentally, the four and a half years really took it's toll on me. And I didn't run for almost a year. Finally a few months ago I started again. It's almost depressing to go from being able to run for hours to only being able to run for a half hour or so.

So now I'm running, again I started to get away from roommates and coworkers, but this time I have a problem. They run with me. It's the first time that I've ever had running partners, and it's weird. They're competitive and loud and it's so much the opposite of the peace and quiet that I'm seeking I don't know how to handle it. So now I'm starting to run farther, or slower, just so I can get time alone. It's still entertaining, but in a different way. I'm expecting them to not stay running with me for too long though. I give it a week or two and they'll stop running with me. If they don't then I don't know what I will do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Smokers make me giggle

Ok, so maybe that sounds a little gay. Whatever

But they do! My roommate was trying to quit smoking a while back. He told me, "oh it's easy, it's all a mindset thing." With cigarette in hand he said, "I quit a few years ago and it was simple, I didn't have any cravings." Puff, Puff.

Two days later he was smoking again. When I asked him about the mindset thing he said, "yeah, well, uh." And walked away.

What's the magic phrase that every smoker utters, "I'm not addicted, I can quit any time I want."

Well Einstein, that's the whole point of addiction, you don't want to quit. You introduce foreign chemicals into your body that literally change the way your brain works, and it becomes dependant on those chemicals. It makes you think that you want to keep doing it, no matter how destructive it is to your body.

There are smokers who realize it though, and genuinely don't care. I have some respect for them, because they understand they are addicted.

But self denial amuses me, just like, "I'm not fat, I'm big boned..."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Girl

This story I didn't actually experience firsthand. But it's from a very trusted source. It comes directly from an aid/relief worker. I'm not sure when it occurred, but it really helps give you an idea of the mindset of these guys.

A woman came into the aid clinic for help, she had been very badly beaten by her husband. They brought an interpreter over and started talking to her, apparently he was beating her because she couldn't get pregnant. She wanted the doctors to find out what was wrong with her. Because of course it has to be her fault right? They decided to do a little investigating, and they brought the husband in. They questioned him about it, and he explained that yes, he was beating her because she couldn't get pregnant. That's just par for the course around here. So they dug a little deeper, and found out that basically, he was doing it wrong. You see, the only kind of sex ed this guy had received was from what his father did to him. So he thought that was how you had sex. Which of course explains the lack of pregnancy. They explained to him the proper way to do it, and they all lived happily ever after...right?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Terp

Well, it's been a while. See the problem is that I get so caught up in the day to day routine out here that I forget to post. oops. All kinds of interesting things happen out here, well, interesting, stupid, scary sometimes. I just forget to write them down. So here's today's story, actually it's not from today, it was a while ago, shhh...

Across the alley from my room is the interpreters room(shortened to terp by the Army, since obviously interpreter is way to long of a word.) We interact occasionally, and since most of them speak a little English they lose a lot of the monkey like qualities that most of the locals possess. Actually typically the terps are more educated and intelligent, and process things a little more quickly then your average Afghan. They actually almost seem human.

At any rate there is this terp, we will call him 'J.' He's been trying to get a visa to go to the US for a while now. We started talking to him about it, and why he wanted to go, what he was going to do, etc. He gave all the typical responses of wanting to see what it was like, and that he enjoyed the culture and everything, but there was one disturbing portion of the conversation:

US: So, are you going to take your wife with you to the States?

J: No

US: Why not?

J: Because American women have a lot of freedom, I don't want my wife to see that. If she see it, she will want the same thing. It's easier to keep her under control this way.

I think the worst part about it was the fact that he delivered it in such a matter-of-fact way. It didn't even phase him that he was purposely controlling another human being. It didn't even phase him. But, then again, it's part of their culture. Disgusted yet? Stay tuned, you will be...