iraqistan

12/18/2006

Not Even Supposed To Be Here

Filed under: — lana @ 2:03 pm

Ah, the holiday season in the military. While many take leave during this festive time of present-buying and bank account-hemorrhaging, I usually stick around to enjoy the happy green of the machine in which I am a part. The primary reason for this participation in military holiday activity is not only because I hoard leave days like a squirrel preparing for the winter, but because most years we and the rest of the Army go on what is known as “half-day schedule.” The concept of this is something of a reward for a year of semi-hard work milling around waiting for someone to accomplish something, and really because so many people do take leave that there is little left that can be done to constitute a productive day.

How that is dissimilar to any other given time period I have yet to discern.

Regardless, my office worked out an amicable schedule for all which by and large had me “on-call” this week, i.e. I could stay curled up in bed and shut my phone off and say I never got the message.

Then the Army came along and threw a wrench in my late-sleeping plans, namely the reintegration of several soldiers back from sandier nations.

I also found that although 1000 monkeys working on 1000 typewriters for 1000 years might be able to come up with Hamlet, they apparently will not be able to come up with a reasonable reintegration plan. This is not to suggest that my higher headquarters is a pack of monkeys, only to suggest that they might do well to occasionally ask the monkeys for advice, as the monkeys may have gotten a little closer to reasonable than, say, trying to convince a health clinic to open on Christmas to check the tuburculosis test of one soldier.

Today, the first of my “half-days” I worked from the regular time in the morning until about an hour before regular closing time in the evening, making phone calls, cursing other offices’ long lunch breaks, making excel sheets and lists, and logistical planning galore. Combine that with my requisite weekly trip to some doctor or another who proceeds to remind me that when I delay getting something looked at for a year and a half or so, such as an arm that periodically loses feeling as a probable result of wearing body armor which weighs half as much as I do for 18 hours a day plus a rather nasty car accident, it makes it very difficult to make a diagnosis or get appropriate treatment. Live and learn, I say, and look forward to visiting the physical therapy department again for a little while.

Not only did I work nearly a full day in order to attempt an organized reintegration schedule more reasonable than whatever the pack of monkeys at the zoo came up with and spit over to my unit, I also realized that I might be the only one who did so. I submit as my example for the preceding the finance company, who I am actually convinced is just a few cardboard cut-outs and one poor private who moves them around periodically in an office that always has people lined up outside, never takes any customers, those that do get in rarely get their issue fixed, and most of the time the door is closed with some reasoning posted on the door for why the entire finance office is once again closed for the day. Today I discovered that regardless of it being the holiday season, when most soldiers are particularly concerned about finances, the office is strictly enforcing their half-day schedule and closed at noon, giving them an effective (or not so much) three hours of work. Amidst my annoyance upon reading the sign on the door indicating the closure, the annoyance was admittedly sprinkled with a touch of jealousy.

Tomorrow, naturally, looks much the same as today, though I have made the declaration on multiple occasions through the last 12 hours or so that I will be gone by noon tomorrow. Well, maybe after lunch. Well, maybe a few hours later…

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