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Apr 24, 2006

The Final Stretch

After an uneventful and rather unproductive weekend, I have finally stumbled around the final turn to be greeted by the last leg of this race: one final project to finish for tomorrow's Adobe class; a book review re-write and some composition exercises for the writing course; a take-home final for the literature course; and, of course, the 180 pages, which has been stalled as of late.
But that's ok. Going to get a move on it soon as the semester ends. At least that's what I'm telling myself to ease the guilt that accompanies the lack of real progress.

Found out this weekend that the sis out in Cali is having some real problems with her ex-boyfriend. Mom thinks that she may have to fly me out there after graduation to ensure that my sister gets home ok. Could be an adventure; it will be that at the least if I see this boyfriend of hers.

So California, are you getting ready for me? Nothing like a misdirected vacation.

Apr 11, 2006

It Sure is Nicer Here...

It's practically the first thing the gentleman said when he walked through the door at the gas station last night, after I asked him how he was doing. I immediately noticed his closely-trimmed military haircut, then his solid build; then I knew what he was talking about.

"You've been overseas?" I asked.

"Yep, and I'm leaving again next week."

This reply accompanied a sinking feeling within my stomach, like I'd swallowed a cup of ice cubes. We made small talk about the other guys I know who are headed to Iraq on the 22nd of this month. I asked if he would be out of fire this time, to which he replied that in Iraq, one is never out of fire.

He extended his left arm out, and removed his wrist watch. He pointed out the strange scar marks that snaked up his arm, then showed me where the mortar had hit the other arm as well. Apparently it took much of the hair on his head, but that had all grown in since the incident. He said one gets desensitized to the violence after being there for so long.

"You have to carry the attitude of 'I don't give a fuck,'" he said, just before leaving.

I'm thinking that this man is the closest I've ever been to Iraq; but I still give a fuck, as futile as it might be.

"You take care of yourself, man," I said to him as he left. I don't know what his name was, and I might not even remember his face if I see him again. But I will see him again, as someone, somewhere.