From "The Republic of Conscience" by Seamus Heaney: "...The old man rose and gazed into my face and said that was official recognition that I was now a dual citizen. He therefore desired me when I got home to consider myself a representative and to speak on their behalf in my own tongue..."
The days seem more difficult now. Any of you who are still frequenting my blog or checking your blogroll for indication that I've posted... I'm sorry for any scare I might have caused. It's not my intent to leave people hanging, and as a friend back home pointed out to me -- for some of my blog readers, posts are the only means you have of knowing I'm still okay. I have a number of topics that have rolled through my mind but haven't made it to print. I'll try to cover most of them over the next couple posts...
While I was sleeping, ten dozen bombs bellowed, five hundred more died – including the four hundred most people won’t count – a water pipe broke, some power went out, some soldiers were shot at, some soldiers ate chow; a mouse’s dead carcass proliferates odor throughout my small office; the mayor has moved. Some soldiers went home, some visit, some stay; the server goes down; throw darts at the network manager’s face. My flowers have died now, two weeks and still counting; I salvaged a bookshelf to give myself space. The August sun hot, the wind even hotter, but those of us “seasoned” say ‘It’s getting cool.’ My little man Omar is set on a wedding, but all I can think of is him back in school.
My thanks to the ever-constant shower of packages and letters received from home lately. I am in frequent contact with immediate family members to give feedback about the special items they have sent... but if my family isn't sure I've noticed, let me clarify: I NOTICE!! It's an awesome feeling to know how very present I am to you "back home." It is the closest I can get to actually being there and in fact feeling like I never left. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.
If you haven't seen the film Pleasantville, I would only recommend it for the sake of its visually artistic qualities. The cast of this 1998 film is substantial, starring big names such as Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy and others. There seems to be agreement that the film was a social commentary about prejudice, most say specifically about the Civil Rights movement, referenced in the film by segregation of "Colors" from everyone else -- it's just that "Color" meant Not Black-and-White, instead of Not Caucasian in this plot, where a modern-day brother and sister get sent to a 50s sitcom. In Pleasantville everything is "perfect" until the brother and sister's knowledge of the outside world -- on many levels -- pollutes the contented naiveté of the town, bringing the enlightenment associated with questioning our assumptions. I make my reference to Pleasantville here because the film depicted an interesting catalyst for crossing over from "
So I’ve gone traipsing through all the blog haunts I could think of in an attempt to retrieve information about a reference made by Mary in a recent phone conversation we had. The problem is that I’m not sure what the exact wording of any of it was; I only know there was some article or initiative regarding liberating the women of Iraq by sending them sex toys, to introduce to them methods of self-appreciation already known and practiced among men for centuries. I find this amusing and noteworthy for two reasons. I've split the post and addressed them separately:
1. Did anyone ever think that maybe the American women soldiers might appreciate something like that?!
Ah… you think I’m joking. I’m not. Healthy, adult, already partnered women have appetite and needs during periods of long separation, just as their male counterparts do. There’s some unspoken – sometimes verbalized – acceptance of practice in the male community to “help oneself out” – “rub one out” in the men’s room, the shower, or wherever else clean-up supplies might be close at hand. Of course, not to be lewd or anything, but many of us have been culturally conditioned to understand that men are entitled to the occasional bathroom stroke of the ego. I and my female peers, on the other hand, are far more likely to be ostracized for any marginal suggestion that we have the same so-called needs. In terms of mechanics and freedom of movement, the bathroom stall is a little less conducive for most of us to address our egos! At any rate, I think women stuck in this oppressive, suppressive man-world could use a little “liberation,” for the sake of everyone’s sanity. I think we could use a few accessories to aid occasional contentment in the privacy of our own rooms!
Don’t get any crazy ideas – I’m not condoning group involvement, extra-marital affairs, or otherwise breaking any standing orders – there is currently no policy regarding possession or use of sexual accessories. I only ask the same entitlement to self help be granted to women that this community is already affording its male members – take pun as you like.
Mixed bag these days... I little tech problems, a little "me" problems, a little sadness -- aka resilience practice -- with challenges for our family back home. I'm still here. For many of you, I've been watching posts from you, composing responses, and hoping to publish this week's spurt of reflections and updates. Thanks for being there! Here's to another day... --Sentinel47
It's been a frequent topic of conversation between Mary and me that the casualty count in Iraq is conspicuously lacking report of Iraqi civilian injury and death as reported in US Media. Seldom have I seen so much as an estimate, acknowledgement, or cumulative report of Iraqi civilians.
Speaking of Port-a-Johns...
Here are a couple more quotes… I was trying so hard to remember them when composing the last post and couldn’t, so here they are now.
Me: Fox, that’s a nice shirt. I love that color [lime] green on you.
Fox: Thank you, but it’s the same shirt I wore yesterday. I hate wearing the same thing all the time.
Pat: Me, too!
If you don’t get the humor, remember that we will wear some configuration of exactly the same “outfit” every day of our service here!
For the next exchange it’s necessary to understand that the usual duty uniform for the inside of the base is just top, bottom, and soft cap. For the gate it is body armor, helmet, and the basic load of ammunition – averaging 25-35 extra pounds of weight per soldier.
“Customer” of our officer [quite put out at the inconvenience]: I hope we can get this all taken care of this time; this is like my fifth time down here, and I hate putting all this stuff on.
Me, standing there in the same uniform he’s wearing [mocking]: Yeh, me too. I know exactly how you feel; this is, like, my two hundredth time coming down here!
Favorite quotes (and context) from the past couple days...
I'm trying out the music thing. I'm convinced that I'm not doing this using the same method that my friend Kat has used at Keep the Coffee Coming, but I hope it works. My brother James introduced me to SaveFile in one of his posts on Food for the Brian. He posted an original song there that you might enjoy, so check it out while you're at it.
the children, they smile -- some barefoot, some sandaled. Four sisters and a brother cling tightly to the lanky bringer of candies and hugs, the pale-skinned stranger, the soldier, the man. Mother steps aside a moment, allowing her daughters and son to receive a permanent impression of manhood, of provision, of courage.
I know I've been away a couple days... Shut my computer down for a day and a half to swap hard drives, fell a little under the weather, and just plain stayed busy. I'm back... here's more from the Gate: