Once again, its being pushed that I get my Stryker license. Which makes sense, because I don't want to be a driver. Just like I didn't want to be 11C. But since bitching doesn't help, I'll go ahead and squash that for the next few paragraphs.
Some of you may recall the post from about a year ago where my platoon went to some pool and did a humvee rollover simulater. Well guess what? That's right, this time, it was the Stryker sim. Last time was no picnic, and this one really wasn't one for the Top 10 Most Enjoyed Moments of My Army Career either.
I am not afraid of water, I like swimming, even though I can't swim fast at all. I'm not claustrophobic. I don't mind being inside the cramped driver's Hell Hole in a Stryker. Being blindfolded doesn't worry me too much...when I'm not doing anything. But when these three elements are combined, I'm afraid I nearly lose my shit each time.
Allow me to break it down for your reading pleasure.
Hop in the seat (this sim is just a frame, not an actual stryker. If needed, you can swim through the open frame when you get completely disoriented and are about to die of Pussyitis), strap yourself in to the seatbelt/harness, and cross your arms over your chest. Now pause for just a moment to hate EVERYONE within your vicinity. Hate the person(s) responsible for sending you here. With nervous apprehension turning your veins and muscles and nerves into cold goo, hate the world in general.
You knew it was going to happen, but its a damn shock anyway. The water piledrives into your face with a slap that's cut off early by the sounds of rapid submergement. Open your eyes and yank on the harness release, spilling out of the seat in a discombobulated mess devoid of confidence. Grasp the poorly simulated latch and push the flimsy wannabe door open and swim through. Feel sorry for yourself because the body armor, uniform, and helmet all weigh you down when soaked. Feel sorry for yourself, because next time, you have to do it blindfolded, swimming all the way out the back.
I watched the others go through the second phase with contempt and loathing. I defiantly ask the lifeguard girl if she takes bribes. My turn comes around, and with the air of impending doom, a death sentence, I climb into the abominable contraption and wish for a swarm of locusts to attack my peers. I tie my blindfold while fantasizing about kicking my recruiter in the groin repeatedly and setting for to the MEPS compound. I fantasize about time traveling and dragging my past self into an alley and beating some sense into him, forcing a college application into his mouth. And why not, a swift kick in the jewels for him too. And while we're at it, the shins, and a Three Stooges eye poke.
This incendiary hatred filled reverie is shattered with the surprise of the water slapping the taste out of my mouth. I manage to get my harness off and twist around in an attempt to get right-side-up again. This motion lacks grace, to say the least.
[Where is the fucking handle? That's not it, that's not it, THAT's not it, and THAT IS NOT FUCKING IT!]
I'm stuck under the seat and I'm pissed off and nervous, and panicky. I am the epitome of all that is manly. And I'm a liar.
I'm not feeling any handle, and I have almost no sense of where I am. I can't stand straight up because the seat is in the way. I'm feeling around and I'm about to lose it, I can't find the goddamn door, fuck it, I need to get out, I'm stuck, I hate the army, I want out, I want out NOW, NOW DAMMIT, FUCK ME I CAN'T GET OUT, THE HELL WITH THIS!!!
I grab one of the poles and pull myself towards it and feel for a break in the panels. I flail about, in exaggerated gestures that comically defy the act of swimming, and finally stand up when I'm out. In the spirit of a pissed off nine year old Little League baseball player, I throw my blindfold across the pool, then rip my kevlar helmet off and throw it. It arcs through the air and splashes. I'm then told to take a break.
The intensity of my hatred threatens to boil the water around me. I lean against the side of the pool with my arms folded, pouting like a little baby, hoping someone breaks that fucking contraption. My turn to go again comes way too soon.
I mount the beast with the reluctance of a dog who knows a severe beating is on the way. Nervous and shaking, half shivering, half being a wuss, I take the better half of an eternity to put my blindfold on. Yes, I'm a complete pansy. I curse everyone who passed the second phase with ease, and silently hope they contract some nasty STD. I think by now you get the point that I was one pouty little bitch.
The water devours me whole and I yank my harness off with extreme contempt. I violently thrash around looking for the handle to the door, as attempting to exit the hatch is part of the exercise. I basically hit it with my hands a couple times and feigned to attempt to open it. In reality, I probably only spent a half a second on it, but I honestly could not have cared less. I spun around clumsily and began to swim/pull/thrash my way to the back. I can't see a damn thing and don't know how far I've gone or where I am or whether I'm moving at a slightly off angle and will end up exiting out of the side, nullifying my attempt. I finally hit a wall, and I push on it with murderous determination, and it slowly opens. I tore myself through the opening and stood up.
Ripping my blindfold off, as if my decision would carry any weight, I grumble, "I am NOT going through that motherfucker again. Tell me I got a No-Go, go ahead. See what happens."
One of my buddies tells me I got a No-Go, and I shrug with homicide in my eyes. He laughs and reveals that he's kidding, convincing me that he sucks at life and that I don't like him for the next five minutes. I give my name to the lifeguard lady and ensure that she writes me down. I hate those goddamn dunk tanks so much, I would prefer to be Susan Surrandon's housekeeper over that.
The rest of the day was spent viewing driver's ed videos, completely unnecessary. At Final Formation, we received neat little coins for our firefighting exploits, and may possibly receive a humanitarian ribbon for our Class A uniforms, and maybe even back pay, about three dollars a day. After that, I received my Stryker driving certificate from my section sergeant, that FINALLY came through from when I took the training several months ago.
That's right. I did the dunk tank thing again for NOTHING.