Thursday, June 30, 2005

Afghan Sauna

Whack shack,
Sweat shop,
Urinal Oven,

It has a million names, but every soldier knows the torture and sweet relief of the FOB port-o-pots. Blue, White, Mauve and so many other drab yet calming colors in the shape of a rectangular temple to human enginuity. The port-o-pot is truly the greatest thing since sliced bread.

How could such a wonderous creation, designed by God himself and handed down to man as a sign of mercy, be associated with death himself.

This fucking heat.

To venture into the port-o-pot for any period longer than the 10 seconds needed to unbutton, whip, release, shake, tuck, and button spells doom for the unwary soldier. Much like Dante venturing into the Inferno, above the doors reads the inscription:

Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.

It gets up to 120 degrees here...on a cool the shade. If you have the unfortunate circumstance to have to spend some "quality time" in the port-o-pot, you might as well attach an I.V. to your arm. The entire water stores in your body evaporate whilst you drop the kids off at the pool. Or as I like to believe, the Sarlac Pitt like in Return of the Jedi.

And why do people look into the pit? You know you do. Everyone does it, but no one speaks of our hidden fascination with the abyss of piss. Sometimes we even lean forward a bit and tilt our head ever so slightly to check out just whats going on down there. What are we looking for anyway? I mean one time a saw what appeared to be a nice watch, but I sure as hell wasn't about to repel, ranger style, down into the pit. It was like a strange oddity, circus-like in appeal.

"Well isn't that interesting" we say as we question how it got there.

One of my buddies here, who shall remain nameless, actually dropped his hat into the pitt. Valiantly and with no regard to his own sanitary well-being reached in to save his own little piece of government issued property. Like a small child fallen down an abandoned water pipe in Buttfuck, Arkansas the hat had to be saved no matter what the cost. Yea, there was no media circus or cheering when his hat was brought out of the pitt to bask in the glorious rays of Afghan sunlight and perch upon the head of its owner, but it was the stuff of legends, of that I have no doubt.

I digress...

Soldiers fear the port-o-pot. I saw one rather large soldier go in only to emrge 20 minutes later and 20 lbs lighter! Not just from last weeks Cordon-Bleu, but from all the sweating done while held captive by the whack shack. Now, he goes in there after work outs, with a towel over his shoulder and in flip-flops. He takes a water bottle and splashes the water around on the inside to create more steam. Its nuts. Though he has lost alot of weight. I guess we should be thankful. I mean people pay good money for access to a world class sauna. So be it.

I for one have managed to strike an uneasy alliance with the shack. I reserve time in the early morning before the sauna is open for business and has not yet reached its briskett roasting temperatures for me to spend quality time with in its confines. In return, I have promised to tell its tale of mystery, tragedy, and wonder.

The port-o-pot: soldiers health spa and torture chamber.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Before I Forget

Here I am, where I’ve been
I’ve walked a hundred miles in tobacco skin,
And my clothes are worn & gritty.
And I know ugliness,
Now show
me something pretty.
I was a dumb punk kid with nothing to lose
And too
much weight for walking shoes.
I could have died from being boring.
for loneliness,
She greets me every morning.

At the most I’m a
I’m the hopeless son who’s hardly there.
I’m the open sign that’s
always busted.
I’m the friend you need, but can’t be trusted.

--Patrick Park

Its so empty here. There are people here, who bustle about from hovel to hovel, like ants carrying the strangest items in some attempt to prepare for a disaster that will never come. Paranoia is served every morning here along with a side of anal retention. So many lives, well engineered pieces of shit, and imported bottled water dancing in a well coregraphed hustle to the rythym of "hooah."

But its still empty.

There is no reflection here. Like a vampire in a bad 80's movie, we are there, but not.

What is here, are rocks. Lots of wonderfully jagged and ankle-twisting rocks. So plentiful and each one unique with a personality and character all its own, like retarded snowflakes. I think that this country, in all honesty, has more rocks per square foot than any other place on God's green earth. Seriously, you can't throw a rock here, well...without hitting another rock. Rock on rock crime is a big problem here by the way. The Igneous rocks have a long standing grudge with the ultramafic rocks on the east side of base. Its a cultural thing I suppose.

Rocks have been here for awhile, and apparently these upstart Afghan's, as they like to be refered by, call this place home. This land belongs to the rocks. No one else should be here. There is no water, no shade, and no foliage suitable for adequate sustanance of today's livestock. So why in the Hell would anyone live here? Honestly. Its like how when some one tells me they are from Alaska, Arizona, or Canada; I'm like "Why, it sucks there."

Home is where you make it I suppose. So home for me I suppose is here with the rocks. They are not the most gracious of hosts, but they don't seem to ask too much of us, their guests.

Squatters in an empty land that belongs to no one but the sun and inhabitable by no one except the children of pressure and time. So it is that little by little with lots of pressure from the idiots who run this place, and a year of time, we too become like our stoic hosts.

Unique, boring, and unfeeling. Retarded snowflakes.

And I know ugliness, Now show me something pretty.