Thursday, February 26, 2009

My friend Nick is now home. He has been for a while actually, and is settling in again. He and I spoke often for the short period we were here together (although far enough apart that we never saw one another) about our plans and lives and thoughts. I wrote him recently and one of the things he said stuck. He said he missed the simplicity here.

I was thinking the same thing this morning, that I am, in some ways, blessed that for a year, I get the chance to lead a life most people will not. Unencumbered by fashion, traffic, bills, fast-food, MTV, radios, muzak etc. etc. etc. All those things that make you feel like you're living but which dominate your life to the point you want to escape them but didn't even know that's what you wanted until're in Iraq...and it's quiet at night. And you wake up to the sound of...nothing. And you don't know what time it is or what day it is, but it's OK because it doesn't matter.

I've read a lot here; books Tim sent me, or stacks of magazines from Patrick and Valeria, and letters and postcards from home. I had an English teacher who told me once that "good writing was good thinking" and, while I believed him then, I am now hoping that good writing can inspire good thinking, because I've had the chance to experience, through reading, some of the most beautiful things over here that I otherwise would not have.

I still worry, even removed by half a world from family, one cannot stop worrying about them, or (lest I lie through omission) about myself. I don't know how bad this financial crisis will get or what I'll do when I get out of the Army. I read some things from Peggy Noonan (who I encourage everyone to read) talking about life and moving forward and maintaining optimism. She wrote that some people moved in with their families and that doesn't seem to bad to me at all. Maybe the day is coming again when families didn't split apart, when I can see my sisters daily and have meals with them more regularly than I do meals wrapped in waxed-paper sitting in my car.

I realize I'm rambling now and I apologize. I don't get online as often as I'd like, at least, not with the time or inclination to write.

Lastly, thanks to whomever left that last comment. It was an interesting article. Hopefully once this is all over, I'll have more time to reflect upon what being a Lieutenant in Iraq "means". I'm not sure if it's just a foible of my personality that I tend to downplay whatever it is I do, but when I read of other Lieutenants, I can't help but feel I should be doing more. But, again...I still have nine months to do amazing things, so we'll see...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Some years ago, I was hanging out with a friend of mine from Colorado. It was around voting time and he came up to me incredulously and asked, "I know you all [he meant minorities of any stripe I believe] get your own months, but do we really need a Cesar Chavez Day? I don't think celebrating a boxer is all that important." I explained to him that Cesar Chavez wasn't the boxer, but the man who fought for equal rights for field workers across America and is often compared with Martin Luther King in terms of what he did for "his people" (a term I don't though different colored skin makes one group a completely different people). He understood what I said, but had been so incredulous from the begining that even after my explanation, the idea of voting for a Cesar Chavez day still sounded absurd to him.

It seems the same thing is happening with the stimulous bill. People who don't really know what it is they're decrying, but do so with enough incredulity it sticks, are slowly killing what the country needs. They yell out, "Family planning!?" or "Hollywood!?" and the italics indicate that tone they can use...and then, no matter how easy it is to explain (ie. Hollywood provides jobs to Californians, one of the states most hardly hit by the economic meltdown), it's too late--the level of disdain for the idea they thought it was lingers over and then Hollywood is cut from the stimulous.

I understand bi-partisan, but seriously...when Republicans were in control, democrats were called "obstructionist", now the Democrats are in control and they still can't do anything because the Republicans are an even more minor party and dragging their feet as well...only this time, it's not called obstructionism, it's bipartisanship.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I almost cried tonight...but I didn't. I started watching What Dreams May Come...which is kind of (there's a word I once learned from someone I found incredibly intellectually intimidating which means overly emotional. I can't remember the word, or I'd use it now.)

There are times, ninety-nine percent of them, when I think about my dad and smile and laugh and just think to myself how great he was. Then, there are other times, random times, where I can't help but miss him and feel sorry for myself. Those times are fleeting and I used to be able to just push through them. But here, when they happen, and I think of how much I love him and miss him and...because I'm here, and there's not family, or affection or warmth, the hole where he was seems completely un-fillable. And those times, like now, I can't make the feeling go away.

It's those times I want to be alone, or away or with my sisters and mom. I'm sure everyone has times like that here. But, these times are mine, and it's only me who can feel it or deal with it. So...I do, and I will.