Friday, 25 December 2015

Packing Up and Saying Goodbye

I’ve started packing up and shipping stuff to Illinois. (My parents have about a million packages waiting for me. It’s like Kickstarter puked in my house.) I have one more box to ship home and I’m done—the rest of my stuff I’ll give away or take away to Melbourne, Australia. (I have zero jeans. My heart cries out for jeans.)
It’s all looking empty—my room, my sparse surroundings.
I plan on carrying: couple of t-shirts, a jacket, a hoodie, chonies and socks and three pair of pants. I lug my gadgets, a notebook, and maybe, just maybe a paperback book.
I bought a lot of gear (too much) and now just leaving as much as I can behind.
So much I’m leaving behind.
My fear of man and a lot of my baggage. My fears and doubts about what I’m capable of.
I do wish my anger and short temper could be packed up, but I’m afraid I have that. My pride is still worn proudly around my neck, like a portable noose.
But I’ll make it—I’ll get there. There’s a seat with my name on it and an adventure on that side too.


I’m at a cushy base right now. CUSHY. It’s quiet, small, good food, awesome housing and nice people.
Except for this one guy.
The Master Sergeant isn’t fond of the Ry-guy (or as my coworkers call me Rhino.) You see, I got sent to this base to train on a system, a system I learned about 5 months ago and haven’t touched since. I get out here and the truck doesn’t work. In fact, it blew a head gasket. That’s really, really bad. That’s like saying, “Sir you have a tumor on every organ in your body and those tumors have faces.”
I was told the truck was good to go. That it would work no problem. 
And there’s the problem—I can’t train soldiers on a truck that doesn’t run. And they brought me here on a convoy through Kabul (more on this tomorrow. I was going to lead with this, but everyone really liked that I got yelled at on Facebook!)
So he bawled me out for about 20 minutes. He was pissed I was there and we had to cancel training. He was livid that truck didn’t work. He just went on and on. I took it and said, “Look, I thought the truck was working. All I did was turn the key and I knew there was a problem. I’m sorry we couldn’t get it fixed and I’m sorry we had some bad information. What can I do to help this situation?”
“Get us a new truck and get to your next base.”
Roger that.
And as I walked away, shlumping back to my room, I thought about this: I didn’t die. 
This guy railed into me, but I didn’t die. Old-Ryan would have been either super crushed (attacked my skills, my mad-mad skills) or been livid and outraged. I went back to my room, called my boss and took a long hot shower (which is rare in these hills my friends.)
My resilience is beefing up. I’m a bit tougher. I can take more licks than I did before. Now, am I happy that MSG Poopy-pants yelled at me (and he wasn’t totally wrong, trust me), no I’m not. But it was a nice test on how thick my skin has gotten.
I’ll be taking a lot more hot showers before I leave. Like 4 a day.

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