Monday, October 20, 2008

D-101: Flies and Underpants

Surprisingly enough, the small outpost that I am visiting right now has the fastest internet connection of any that I have encountered in theater. With it being so convenient, I thought I'd drop in and let everyone know how I'm doing.

Life out here, while void of some of the more lavish "creature comforts" of the FOB, is actually pretty enjoyable in it's hassle-free simplicity. There are no meetings, aside from a few taking place on the FOB which I am required to teleconference in to, leaving my schedule wide open to engage in my many leisurely pursuits. These consisted mainly of football watching during the weekend, but there was also ample time to watch Platoon and read about 300 pages worth of Zinn's A People's History of the United States. There is a tent with workout equipment, and I can run around the perimeter (9 laps = 1 mile). The shower facilities didn't work for the first few days, but are now back online, and a line of very stinky porta-johns serve as toilets, and double as a breeding ground for a race of super-flies that are unmatched in speed or tenacity by any fly I have here-to-fore encountered in my lifetime.

The flies are everywhere on the tiny COP, but are highly concentrated in the bathroom area, where they torment and frustrate you to the point of tears while you try to brush your teeth. Ten or twelve will position themselves on various parts of your body, and will respond to being brushed off by simply flying a short loop and returning immediately to their original position. Their entire route never takes them more than two inches away from your body, and provides absolutely no relief. Invariably, one or two will choose to take residence on your head or face, and when brushed off, they fly directly through your field of vision before returning, just to let you know that they are still there, and that they will not be leaving any time soon. Your only defense is to continuously pace the length of the bathroom while you brush (an option unavailable while shaving), constantly shaking and kicking your legs and arms around like Michael J. Fox in a vain effort to shake off flies.

Their is rarely a fruit or vegetable to be found, so the meals consist of a meat and a starch, and of course their is always plenty of cookies, muffins, and other assorted crap lying around - so the food is nutritionally terrible but on the whole it tastes okay. All in all, I have no complaints; in fact, I rather like it here.

When I first arrived at my Non-Air Conditioned tent, I was a little grumpy about the disparaging accommodations, and once again wondered if the Army was ever made aware of what a "High Valued Asset" that I am. I unpacked my sea-bag, and arranged my items in neat little piles on the floor under my bed, and to my horror, realized that I forgot to pack underpants! I was riddled with anxiety when I thought of spending 10 days without underpants AND without air conditioning. The sum of which is far worse than either part taken individually.

The only solution I could manage was this; I would take my underpants into the shower and thoroughly rinse and ring them out, then hang them on a bed post to dry out. I considered perhaps using shampoo to supplement the cleansing process, which would certainly improve the scent, but I worried that this might lead to some uncomfortable itchiness should I fail to rinse it out completely enough so ultimately settled against it. This system allows me to wear them on alternating days, and go commando on the between days. This is day five of the cycle, making today an "underpants day," and I have realized that going without undies is not nearly as catastrophic as I had originally made out. It feels good to be free of this unnatural dependence on underpants - I am not advocating this as a lifestyle choice, and by no means to I intend to boycott underwear altogether, I just simply am not reliant on it anymore.

Underwear is a crutch. Hooah.
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