Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The 4th Most Intolerable Thing About Afghanistan

I can put up with a lot, really. I mean, I can now. Bad food, crappy places to sleep, cold showers, cold everything, disgusting mattresses, etc. You get the idea.
I hear shooting every day; all of it at the range. Sometimes missiles fire out. (and sometimes in)
But I’m drowning in macho bull@)#($* all the time. And I get it. It’s the military—I get it. These guys are tough and they do a job that I could never do. I’ve spoken with special forces and other men and women and they have seen a lot of stuff. But one thing that irks me about this macho crap is when men get on each other’s cases for what they like .If a guy likes comic books, he gets crap. If he likes country music, or this artist, or that kind of car, there is a deluge of verbal abuse.
And it exhausts me. It is exhausting defending what you like. I mean, we eek it out here when someone asks us. You think board games is the first thing I say? No. “I read.” and that usually gets them off my back. I know it sounds petty but when I tell people I like something: Star Wars, Harry Potter, reading, iPads, iAnything, Kickstarters (I just got banned from them. More on this )(@#*$)(Q* later.) I want them to say, “Cool. Tell me more about that.”
I have something in the works to combat this, but I’ll have to tell you later. Chow time

THIS DRIFTING I CANNOT AVOID

You ask how far away I am.
How many miles, how many airplane trips.
But I try to explain that I am years in the past,
I am planets gone.
I could tell you what road, what tent, what crossing—
and you could not get to me with a fleet of planes or a vat of hope.
I clutch to my memories of roasted coffee and your head on my shoulders.
But the sand even erodes that—
And I am planets gone, but my feet shall find your road soon.
I will speak our language again and pick up its rhythm—
keep me tethered so I do not return, keep me here.

FIVE THINGS I WANT TO DO WHEN I’M BACK

Build a personal blog.
Sit in a coffeehouse and suck down their internet like a slurpee on a hot day.
Use a bathroom that’s indoors.
Drain a Vegas hotel of their hot water.
Order from a menu.

THE PIECE OF AFGHANISTAN I WOULD GIVE YOU

I’d give you the piece that taught me what a family I have.
It would show you how much my friends have come along side me.

If you held it up to the light you’d see this reunion of hugs and tears.
If you held to your ear, you’d hear me whisper thank you thank you I’ve missed you I’ve missed you. 

If you shook it, you’d feel the rumble of a C-130 taking off at 3:00 and know much I wished for a bed.
If you held it gently, it would turn cold, like most of the showers I took, all of the nights I had.
If you held it up to your nose, it would smell like sweat and dust, like an attic never opened.
If you put it against your chest for awhile, a long while, it would slowly teach you to be brave—
and all that venom in your heart, it would draw out. Slowly, a drop at a time, not all at once, never all at once.

But when it’s yours for too long, it will grow heavy in your hands, and your arms will ache and you’ll find nowhere to set it down, nowhere to put it. And you’ll hand it back to me and I’ll place with the rest.
You’ll ask me what I plan on doing with that and how long I’ll keep it around.
Awhile, I guess. I’ll keep it awhile. We’ll go out for coffee and whenever I turn around I’ll see it there.
But I’ll hear you, and I’ll turn back around.

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