Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Q&A Time

"Dear Ryan,
Like, omg, what is army life like as opposed to civilian life and all that stuff?
Avril Lavigne"

Well, Avril, its like this:

Imagine living in college dorms, except with members of the same sex. You share bathrooms and laundry rooms, and have to listen to other people's shitty music and any noise they decide to make. Sounds like college so far right?

Let's take a trip to the chow hall, or DFAC as we call it. This is an area that we go to nourish ourselves with food that is prepared by people who really don't care. I don't mean like "McDonald's don't care", I mean the kind of 'don't care' that comes from having a job that you can never be fired from, and have little or no opportunity to get ahead. They work for the end of the day, Clerks can never compare. They don't have to worry about losing business, so manners and customer service are used about as much as profilactics at an ecstacy fueled rave.

Have you ever had to take a urinalysis for a job? If you have, you will able to understand this a little better. Imagine taking one at random times every two weeks or even more often. "Well that don't sound so bad, G!" Wait, there's more. When these little surprise tests come up, you are awakened at around 3:00 AM, if your karma is good. You are then herded into the Day Room (lounge or living room of the barracks) with 150 other dudes, and are advised to drink water, and lots of it. You consume large quantities of water so as to encourage the need to piss. It is also required that you are "observed" while you do your business, and the number of observers is always very limited. What results is a very long line of men doing the pee pee dance. Usually about four dudes at a time are taken to drain their snakes, and too many of them get "stage fright" which really slows things down. So now you've consumed water until your bladder is ready to burst, and its time to stand in line for an hour. FUN!!!

Sometimes I consider smoking weed once I get out, just to feel like I've earned the agony of those tests.

Aside from that, there is pretty much NOTHING for a single soldier to do. Got no car, can't go anywhere. Got a car, nowhere worth going (especially if you're part of the Under 21 Club). There is pretty much NO SUCH THING as a single female on post, so any woman you see within the gate is unavailable. Outside of the gate, too many women like to use Joe for money. We call these "gold-diggers". Others are not into the military type, and assume that we are all testosterone fueled idiots etc. We call these "liberals". Just kidding, we love you.

So as I was ranting, nothing worth doing is within walking distance, and owning a car is for people who have lives (Catch 22). You can talk to people from back home, but really, it isnt the same. Our lives aren't that interesting to others on the outside for the most part, and we no longer have much in common. You've now been cut adrift. You have two choices. You can reach your arms out and scream for Wilson until you're hoarse, or you can paddle around in the water in search of something that works.

Welcome to the wonderful world of barracks parties. Doesn't matter how old you are, you can always find a way to get good and liquored up, just like high school, or Lindsey Lohan. Other than party, what is there to do? Well, I suppose you could sit in your room and watch TV and play video games. For four years? Sit in your room alone and waste time? Or you can walk down the hall to a friend's room where everyone is laughing and joking and carrying on, and you can party with them too. No matter what, its almost ALWAYS a good time, even if you can't remember much of it the next day. That's what everyone else does. Its not about the In Crowd. You aren't doing it to be cool. You're doing it to stay sane.

Well, if you're the type that likes to Drunk Dial, your friends back home will naturally get the impression that all you ever DO is drink. Great, you've alienated yourself even further. And when drinking gets old and you get sick of it, you REALLY begin to see how bad this sucks.

You aren't receiving adequate training, you aren't the soldier you thought you'd be, you're nowhere you hoped to be, your recruiter lied about everything, the commercials were full of shit, home is very far away, and you still owe Uncle Sam plenty of hard time. And what do you do when you get out? The job market doesn't hold a lot for Infantry.

[My Version of the New GoArmy Commercials]

A mid twenties aged male is having a job interview at his local Hastings.

Employer: Well, your resume says you spent four years in the army, and your past jobs are solid. You seem to be able to keep a commitment, no criminal record, great. All that's left is a urinalysis. Have you ever taken one before?

At this point, the ex-soldier's eyes shift to the side and become distant.

Cut to a scene in which 150 men are crammed into a room nearly pissing on each other with the urgent need to piss, watching the line that moves slower than the one at the DMV. One soldier is holding a piece of paper with the number 134 written on it. Above the door is a sign that reads "Now Serving: 4".

Cut back to the job interview.

Ex-Soldier: Yeah.....at my last job.


Jen said...

So you're not an alcoholic! Just kidding. At least you have a lot more enertaining stories than everyone back home...PS Scheli saw your GC video (the one with Alisha) and says hi. She said she remembered you from high school...the kid who sat in the back and made smartass comments to the teachers :D Sounds like the Ryan I know and love. And Ryan, remember tech school or whatever they call it..."Everything is in it's place..." Love you, Jen PS Go see "Waiting" with Ryan Reynolds if you haven't already. It's hilarious.

mickey said...

ah man the old barraks parties, i rember those. they dont really do that in aviation world, everyone i was here in germany with well not everyone but for the most part half of them were content sitting in there rooms palying video games and watching the same movie they've seen a 100 times for the 101st time. and these people where in germany!!! land of alcohol for the under 21 club, hell even the under 18 club and dont worry about having a car here, germany has an excelent public transportation system. and for some reason we still get people having DUI's
never pee when you get that 4 oclock knock i learned that my first couple months at hood as a rifleman