MERRY COLD CHRISTMAS! |
January 03, 2008
I figured that this Christmas, being that I was in Iraq, was not going to be the best of them, but it has turned out to be much worse than I expected. Our rotation worked out so that I would be here at the outpost, away from the comforts of the home FOB. I was OK with that. I was also OK with not having a good Christmas meal or anything. I was fine. I was also accepting of the fact that I would usher the transition from Christmas eve to Christmas in a guard tower, probably cold as hell. Again no problems there.
But it has been damn cold lately. If theres one thing that I cannot stand it is the cold. It's probably only dropping down into the upper 30s at night, but after going through a 120+ degree summer, that's a huge temperature difference. Add to that the fact that my squad's been manning guard positions during the coldest part of the night. It probably wouldn't be all that bad if it weren't for the simple fact that the Army is great about not allowing you to be warm, despite the fact that they issue you all these different types of cold weather gear. But God forbid that you try and keep warm, you know?!?
Well, we've managed to make use of what items we are allowed to wear and I guess it hasn't been that bad. About a month ago I ordered some skintight winter Underarmor pants and shirt, which are great for keeping you warm. Plus I wear a thick cotton shirt under my uniform. I've got my gloves, and a fleece cap that I wear under my helmet, and late at night I use my poncho liner blanket, and half-ass wrap up in an attempt to keep warm. Our guard towers have these AC/heater units in there, and the last time we were here they were functional. But somehow in the last two weeks, while we were gone, they all ended up breaking. Fabulous. Also, within the places we stay at the outpost it is cold as shit. But it has been made clear that we must maintain the "standard" appearance, so no wearing jackets around, or the fleece cap when not on guard. How retarded! There's hardly anyone here of any significance, and for Christ's sake, we're living out in the middle of Baghdad. Is this really necessary?
Enough of my bitching and complaining about the cold. Back to Christmas. We started off on guard, cold, but time passed and finally we were done. Immediately afterward our squad drew names for Secret Santa. We'd all bought gifts in the $10 to $20 range, and drew random names and got whatever gift that person had bought. Following that we had our "Christmas Dinner" which conisted of smoked sausage and pepperoni with some cheese and crackers. It actually wasn't too bad. Following that several of us lit up cigars and celebrated the day of Christ's birth. It wasn't turning out to be all that bad of a Christmas, until we found out that they were planning on having another platoon relieve us for a bit so we could travel to a nearby base and get some real Christmas dinner.
This doesn't sound like a bad idea, right? Well you have to figure all the time of getting everything ready, getting the handover going, heading out, getting back, blah blah blah. Nobody in our entire platoon wanted to do this, but we were being forced. How joyful! To make it even better for us, the time we were going to be heading out was smack dab in the middle of my squad's sleep time. Awesome. Now we are giving up sleep to do something that we don't even want to do in the first place.
Well, seeing as we had no choice, we were woken up, got ready, and then headed out. Once we got there we received a speech that basically stated the time that we had, and that everyone was being forced to go in to the chow hall, grab a plate of food, sit down and eat it and enjoy it and be Merry. Wow. I'm now being ordered to have a Merry Christmas in a manner in which I don't even want to. And they wonder why a 26 year old who doesn't like to have his life run like he's twelve doesn't want to re-enlist. HA!
The food was actually pretty good, but all we could think about was how we didn't want to be doing this in the first place. Oh well, it's the Army. What can you do? Leave it up to them to take something and ruin it. Well, that's about all that I have for now. Hope everyone back home has had a good Christmas, or whatever you celebrate!