The guy next to me also gave up trying to sleep and squatted over a drain grill to shave himself, using bottled water and no mirror.
"So that's how this man's army manages to stay clean-shaven," I joked.
"Hey, this is better than in the wintertime," the soldier replied. "At least the water is warm." Which reminded us that the sun was about to come up and cause us all to be very hot once again. And then the guy on the other side of me pulled an electric shaver out of his gear.
"You know that there's a DFAC right down the road," said the shaver. A dining facility! I'm there. And the sign at the DFAC read. "Dear guests: Upon hearing unannounced explosions or rocket whistling, drop to the ground. DO NOT wait for giant voice announcement to react!"
By 11:00 am, I was lucky enough to get a C-130 flying Space-Available back to Kuwait, and of course once I arrived at the American airbase there, I went straight to their DFAC too. I love DFACs. You don't have to cook. Or do dishes.
On the other hand, maybe McCain is on to something here. If we're all dead, then we won't be making all that many energy demands, the amount of oil we have now will last us forever and we will never again have to be afraid of the words "Peak Oil". We'd be dead.
Then I went off to find a tent to stay in while waiting for my visa to come back from the Kuwaiti government -- you need to get a visa in order to enter Kuwait when you fly in from Iraq -- and took a short nap on a real bed with real sheets. Then I popped off to the medical clinic here on the airbase to have my bug bites checked out. This is the third time that I've staggered back from Iraq all broken and they've patched me back up. "I may have caught Leishmaniasis," I whined.
"Leishmaniasis is a very serious infection and we don't treat it without extensive tests first. But if it migrates to your liver, you could die." Yeah. but then I'd get to write a heck of an article about it first!
"Here's some Calamine lotion. Give that a try." So now I'm all bright pink and look like I just got back from Girl Scout camp with a case of poison oak.
At one of the soldiers' recreation and welfare centers back in Iraq, I had picked up a copy of Eckhart Tolle's book, "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose," which is highly recommended by Oprah's book club. I thought it looked a bit New Age to be reading on Army bases because of its numerous anti-war quotes -- such as, "These days you frequently hear the expression 'the war against' this or that, and whenever I hear it, I know that it is condemned to failure.... War is a mind-set, and all action that comes of of such a mind-set will either strengthen the enemy, the perceived evil, or if the war is won, will create a new enemy, a new evil equal to and often worse than the one that was defeated.... Beware of making it your mission to 'eradicate evil' as you are likely to turn into the very thing you are fighting against."
I also talked with a reservist about what will happen next for him, after he gets out of the service. "The new GI bill is a step in the right direction," he said. "It gives vets a $1,200 living allowance to go back to school with. That's good. But to qualify for it 100%, you need to have been on active duty for five years AFTER September 11, 2001. Which means that the time that I served in the Gulf War doesn't count and I have to stay over here one more year in order to qualify."
One of the main reasons that this reservist is over here is economic. "If this job disappears, I don't know if I can find another one."