Recent Goings On
My dear friends back home… many of you I have never met, but I still feel close to you. I feel the self-imposed obligation of fidelity. In a comment a few posts back, Randy asked me about the positive things, the things that keep me going, the things that bring smiles to my face.
I didn’t realize until he pointed it out how often my focus here is negative, tolerant, survival-oriented. Through comments from Randy, conversations with Mary and others, I’m realizing that the differences between here and “real life” back home are significant but not as numerous as I first thought. Here are some of the things that have made me smile, and sometimes even laugh:
- It turns out that the Iraqi Arabic word for “crazy” is too similar to “masturbation” for a new learner to know: One of my soldiers was trying to shout “crazy” at some of the Iraqis in the hallway at the gate and mistakenly said the wrong word! The interpreters were rolling with laughter. The soldier kept asking them, "what, WHAT?!" After picking himself up from burying his face against the wall, Jr. (Fox's brother) finally responded, "You didn't say 'Crazy'; it's wrong word...[more laughter] ...it's what you do in the shower when you're alone!"
- Every time I walk into the new
Seattle’s Best coffee shop, my fun little Philippino buddy, , is singing to the blaring "Where is the Love" by the BlackEyedPeas. I finally told him that his English was good enough that he should stop just making the sounds from the songs and actually look up the lyrics and sing those! The next time I was in the shop, Jericho piped up even louder, but with the right words, as if to show me he’d accomplished the homework assignment. Jericho
- The night shift at our office has been pulling pranks to the extreme of me finally wanting to take action to stop it. I spoke with the senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) for their unit and insisted that it stop. Several days passed with no token vandalisms taking place. Then, yesterday I walked in to see a lanyard-spider web, spinning from the ceiling fan with a 9”x 6” paper sign in the center reading: DON’T TOUCH MY REDBULL. Fuming, I started taking pictures and documenting time frames, only to hear the senior NCO laughing in the background. “You can take that one up with me, LT; just a friendly reminder not to mess with my Redbulls!” I had forgotten the it was me who initiated this one: I stashed his energy drinks in my office the day prior, just to ruffle him up a bit. I guess that should teach me to lighten up!
- There’s a Hungarian guy who brings new employees to our office for access badges. I swear he can only speak about 20 words of English now, and his language skills have improved since he got here. I just had to deal with him again yesterday, struggling through the language barrier. I’m reminded every time of how humorous his name is to me, on top of other stranger pronunciations: Koochie (phonetic representation).
- Have you ever heard of someone having a “shit list”? It’s the blacklist of bad people you don’t want to deal with if you can help it. A couple organizations on this base were REALLY getting on my nerves a couple days ago. After the second of the two sending their numbskull representatives, I walked back into my office, silently picked up a black dry-erase marker and wrote: “Shit List” (underscore); [insert pest #1 here]; [insert pest #2 here]. At least we got some laughs out of the irritation!