A year ago, I was sitting at this exact same computer desk, considering enlisting. The more intuitive of you can probably guess which choice I made. Now I'm on the last couple days of my leave. I was pretty excited to come home. After spending so much time at Lewis, I was good and ready to get the hell out for a couple weeks. Its kind of one of those "Grass is always greener" things.
The night before I left, I partied with a couple friends. Very good juju. Though it DID involve me being made fun of for drunkenly stumbling about on a Dance Dance Revolution machine in the mall, and doing somewhat well no less. My only defense was, "Dude, shut up. You watch Dawson's Creek....and LIKE it." The next day, I hopped on a train in Seattle, looking for a pretty young girl to sit with, and ended up meeting a guy who had just been medically discharged and had done two tours in Iraq. So we talked a lot, while some guy in the seat in front of us lied to his "Single Serving Friend" about being a former Marine. He talked about basic training and drill sergeants. Marines have boot camp and drill instructors. My veteran pal and I would listen and laugh quietly as we picked up on every discrepancy and blatant mistruth. Then I went down to the lower level of the train, and learned how to play Craps, thanks to an 18 year old kid who then invited me to "go blow a line" with him. I laughed and declined, because I'm smart like that. "Ok, I'll be right back," he said. God it was interesting. For anyone who cares, if you want drugs, take a train somewhere. I've never been offered so much or asked for so much paraphernalia. I should have brought rolling paper. I might have made some money selling zigzags.
The train ride was boring with a capital terrible, and sixteen hours later, I was at the town I was born in. I stepped off of the train, and one of my little brothers promptly saluted me, which was the last thing I wanted to see. And then I went home and lived boredly ever after up until now.
I actually had a conversation with my brother in law, who is an MP in the Air Force. We were talking about what it's like to come home on leave. He asked if I was being treated like I was still in high school. I had to laugh. Empty Nest Syndrome tends to creep up on the parental units. On to the negative side, the first few days were really bizarre for me. I couldn't think of anything but military things to talk about. Other than that, I had nothing to say, and nothing to relate to. Not a whole lot has changed in that department, but I'm starting to get used to it, which is perfect, being that I'm going back now. I definitely felt very different, and actually foreign.
"You can't go home again."
You come back home, and most things haven't changed at all. The things that DID change almost always bother you. And if you don't have a car when you're on leave, god help you. I lucked out. Plus, there isn't a lot of relaxing involved. Instead, its your duty to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to balance seeing all your friends, etc and your family. There seriously isn't enough time.
I was actually uncomfortable coming back, at first, but now I don't really think about it. I figure its best to just turn your brain off and mellow out and behave like a deadbeat high school graduate. I still don't know if I'm looking forward to going back or not. I haven't really thought about it. It'll be nice. I'll complain a bit in the morning when we're getting ready for PT, but all things considered, all should be good. I got a text message from my team leader saying that our first day back will be a long one. No idea what that means, and I don't care right now.
My attempts to describe leave are failing, and my head is scrambled with fatigue. Leave is odd, it kicks ass, and it sucks. Its like everything else in life: pluses and minuses. The word 'duality' applies here, doesn't it?
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you can always find something to bitch about. Vent it. Maybe someday, someone will read one of my better posts and be inspired to rant and rave about whatever their heart desires. That would be cool. And if someone could email me and offer a suggestion as to why hotdogs are sold in packages of 10 and buns in packages of 8, that'd be awesome.