iraqistan

9/12/2009

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Filed under: — lana @ 8:32 pm

Arizona, my love affair with you is now officially over. No longer will I stand it when you are warm and beautiful while I sit in a classroom with no windows, then rain the moment I step outside after class. No more must I sit idly by while creepy bugs with long antennae and sticky feet swarm my car while we drown our sorrows at Applebee’s Happy Hour. No longer shall I deal with your changing construction patterns so as soon as I find a viable route to class, the next day I need find another path.

That is it. We are officially through, at least as far as wanting to come here is concerned. You may have some beautiful mountains for hiking and lovely and fun towns such as Tombstone and Bisbee and… well, Tombstone and Bisbee… but I no longer wish to call you up, even just to hang out once in awhile on a boring Saturday evening.

Not to mention that on Friday as I drove through one of the 14 construction zones to get to class a small nail lodged itself in my tire just deep enough to cause it to leak. By fifteen minutes into class, I had a note on my windshield, a mass email sent by one of the course administrators to the entire school trying to find out whose car had the flat, and my instructor giggling as I read her my license plate number from my keys. At lunch, the rental company told me they would send someone out just to change the tire, though after that I would have to drive it to Tucson at 50 miles per hour or less in a 75 mile per hour zone so they could give me a new car. I told them nevermind; I am perfectly capable of changing a tire myself, having gotten so much practice in Afghanistan, and would hate to inconvenience them. So after class an Army Ranger Warrant Officer, a Navy Officer, and a retired Army Sergeant Major, with their powers combined, changed my tire to a spare (the Marine Staff Sergeant offered to help as well, but I finally convinced him there were plenty of cooks out there already to spoil the soup). The nice thing about being in the military is that it seems many of the gentlemen only signed up to prove they were men, so they will usually offer to do manly things like change a tire for any vaguely feminine-looking object that wanders past. These three also happen to be friends of mine, so their bonus was I could offer to bring them beer when I suffer through a football game tomorrow. They got the tire changed in only slightly more time than I could have accomplished the task solo, mostly because they kept rotating positions and complaining about how squatting made their knees hurt. I mostly watched and laughed. The Ranger then told me of a place that would patch the tire for free, which I took advantage of today. Discount Tire Company is actually quite nice, and speedy if you make an appointment online, which I did. Hopefully I will never return to this one… good tire service aside, southern Arizona and I are on the outs.

But breaking up is hard to do, as the song says. I recently received an email from my unit asking for some of my basic data (all of which, I pointed out, was readily available both in my office and at the company, but I digress) so I could be placed on the order of merit list for Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course Phase Two, which is four weeks of mind-numbing PowerPoint interspersed with half-hearted attempts at physical training. All four weeks, I point out, are at this very same base where I now sit. Rumor has it my unit is even too cheap to give attendees a rental car for the duration of that trip, despite nearly every other unit giving one to their students because to not provide one would be absolute torture. Those from my unit can be spotted easily: they are the ones trying to thumb rides to class from everyone else since the barracks is quite a walk from the windowless building where the PowerPoint torture takes place. So hopefully I can at least delay that experience long enough to get to a decent unit that is actually participating in the Army suicide prevention programs by allieviating some of the depression associated with such schools. So perhaps I can delay my return for six, perhaps seven months.

But I know I will have to return sooner or later, dispite my disdain for my current location. I am about at that age (in Army years) where I can be evaluated for the next rank and, should I be so foolish as to take it, will have to attend at least one or two more schools here.

Make no mistake: any return will not be by choice, southern Arizona. It is like when you find out that popular brat you secretly hated in high school is going to be at a party you are attending and so you feel you really HAVE to sit through at least a drink and a few bits of idle conversation. They have changed, you have changed, and it is time to move on and you don’t have to pretend to like them anymore. I will always enjoy Tombstone and Bisbee and the scenery in the canyons, just as I enjoy the company of the others at the party whom I actually came to see. For now, and as long as I am forced to endure, I shall tolerate this place and this conversation, but then I shall move on.

Given the choice, however, I would prefer to simply go to the Crystal Palace in Tombstone, knock back a whiskey chased with a rum and Coke with friends, and then head out to my best friend’s wedding which I am missing because I am trapped here with a patched tire, a headache, and my course certification exercise. The separation paperwork is in, Arizona. Expect to be hearing from my lawyer.

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