Sunday, October 22, 2006

just cuz I cant stop ranting,

I don't know exactly how to describe how I feel right now, I know that there are a lot of mixed up emotions running around in me many of which seem to be at odds with each other. On one hand, I am surrounded by such ugliness, pain and suffering that I still cant wrap my mind around it. I don't know what it was like right after the storm rolled through here, but now more than a year latter, there is still no peaceful feeling about this place. I don't know what the people were like before it, but now they are just so bitter and angry at life that it almost hurts to talk to them. There are just so many things that I really took for advantage that I have to think about now, like having a cell phone that will keep signal for more than 10 min at a time, or being able to find internet somewhere so that I can get connected. Perhaps part of it is just where I am living, or staying and not really living. I am on a base that was for the most part hit really bad by Katrina, the damage here was just total, but the number of people and all the crap that happened in N.O. was really a point of media attention, in reality, the whole coast here was just messed up in a lot of different ways. On the bus ride in from the airport to the base, we rode past a cemetery, and there was this lady who was just walking in there trying to pick up parts of her family crypt (most of the old cemeteries here have big family above ground crypts, and I know this sounds weird and not in a good-weird way, but it just hurt that this little old lady was trying to pick up hundreds of years of family history) it just made me sad. There are not that many signal lights up and working, you can see where the lights should be or in some cases parts of the lights are still there, but the government has just put up stop signs, the tore up light is just sitting on the side of the road, or discarded in a pile. I guess that most military bases have just felt really oppressive or something whenever I have gone to them, but this one just feels really oppressive/depressive. There are 3,000 "pipe line" students, they are people who have just gotten out of basic training a few weeks ago, so they are like the lowest ranking people that you will find in the military. They AF has decided that they want this to be a really strict environment, perhaps to slowly decompress people after basic training or something, but there is an area called "The Triangle" where all the barracks for the new people are set up in a sorta triangle with a big parade ground in the middle, and cement marching paths. Because some of the normal billeting (the on base hotel) that I would normally stay in got damaged in the storm, they have taken over one of the barracks that the new guys would stay in and turned it into a sorta billeting, not that big a deal except now I am living right in the middle of 3000 brand new guys and all the drill sergeants that are in charge. I guess that I was just not prepared to be woken up in the morning by the sounds of yelling and screaming and hut-two-three-fouring. I guess I have become a lot less military than I used to be or something because it just makes me angry to think about it, I don't like it. Its all added to by the environment that says that I cant talk to them ( the new guys) unless I am in uniform and its in a "professional manor" which means that I am supposed to be yelling at them. I am in a class of 12 people, 9 of which are new people, and than there are the three of us who are "retreads" or people who are working on there second or third career in the AF, but still have to go to this school to get a rating. The other sad/bad part of this is that the course that I am going to is broad enough to cover the whole career field, but my job with the Oregon Air National Guard has to do with parachutists, which is only about 10% of this class, and of that, not very much of it is applicable to the people that I will be working for, so its really frustrating to be learning about fighter pilots and weather personnel that have noting to do with me, but its learning, so that is not all that bad a thing. But I am also supposed to be a person sorta in charge or something, but I hate all the new people, well, not all, but I can feel that I am bitter and angry at being here, so I know that I am not exactly projecting a friendly and approachable attitude, but I am not really here to be friends with the new guys, it does them no good for me to do anything for them, not that any of that really makes sense, but whatever. The odd thing is that I can also really feel myself withdrawing from life, I can also really recognize the feelings that I felt when I was active duty, I recognized how I just shielded myself from all the crap going on around me by just walling myself off and just dealing with it till I could leave, I know that I am rapidly falling back down that same hole if not already wallowing at the bottom of it. Funny how it took so long to break out of that when I came back to Oregon, and how quickly I have adapted back to it. I guess that part of me also can see how this environment has made me take long and hard looks at so many different parts of my life, just how I interact with people and the attitudes that I have approached life. Perhaps there is something to saying that you can be really open when you hurt, or perhaps are just surrounded by hurt. The other guard people from my class and I went to New Orleans last night, and went to Bourbon street for a bit, but the part that just hit me was driving into the town and seeing that 75% of the houses are still tore apart, or don't have windows in them, and are literally being overgrown by vines and moss and I can only imagine what the inside would smell like. So, I went to the gym this morning and was reading an article in men's health about some French and American doctors working for the Doctors without Boarders in Africa, along the boarder where all the genocide and other such ugly things are happening, how the UN and everyone else has left and yet this little group decided to stick it out and try and help. It literally made me cry as I was peddling on the bike and trying to read about this stuff, the picture of tough military guy stuff right, being brought to tears by a stupid magazine article, but the main point was latter on when I was sitting in the sauna just feeling the oppressive heat (somewhat simmular to just walking outside) but this was good because it was still and alone and it just felt good, so I had a good long cry about how much life sucks for some people, and how much I can bitch about my problems and I type away on a freaking expensive laptop and think about getting some coffee and perhaps anything else that I want when there are 12 year old girls getting raped and shot and sodomized and brutalized, yet still I sit here and try and ignore it if it hurts too much. Its not my problem, I am safe, I am on the winning side so who cares right? But it also crystallized so much for me what I need to do, and where I need to go, I cant do anything about it now, even if I did show up there, my medical knowledge is basic to say the least, but the realization was one also of that for all the school and knowledge that these doctors and nurses have, they are limited by the fact that they don't have a 50 dollar stomach pump so the person still dies, they don't have clean bandages, so they have to boil the ones that they take off the dead. I want to help, and perhaps someday I will be in a place to, or perhaps we will have killed enough of eachother by then to have enough of it, but we seem to be reproducing fast enough that we can kill eachother off and do it in a wide variety of ways, we are creative creatures. I have also been reading Under the Banner of Heaven, it hurts a lot to see how we use so much religion just to manipulate people. To think that this kind of genocide and shitty stuff is just happening in another place is just not true. We kill ourselves and cloak it in religion and it somehow smells better. Perhaps the ones that die are the lucky ones, it feels that they get the easy way out, they probably don't have to feel that stuff anymore, but the 13 year olds that are being raped by fathers and uncles and religious leaders because "god told them too" have to deal with that, and somehow have to keep living life with 3 kids and being 19 years old. Somehow the excuse of "god told me too" is just not valid, its not worth anything, yet we still cling to it in some hope that there might be some kind of truth in it. Or perhaps its fear that there might be some truth in it. I guess that's why there wont ever be peace, god is just saying such different things to such different people, or people are hearing something and acting on it, I know that one of the things that CS Lewis talked about was how there were certain morals that were right, they were just fundamentally right, but somehow we seem to have this ability to bend that when religion comes into view, oh, its OK to kill them, they are heathens, or they worship the devil and are just bad and disserve to die, or what the hell, god just told me to. Humm, and this has been an interesting email to write and you don't have to agree, or disagree, its more just there, and requires no real action. I hope that whatever city, state, country, continent you are on that you are living life to the fullest. I will chat with ya all another time that I can convince someone to drive me the 15 miles to the nearest barns and noble star bucks (evil I know, but deal with it).


"My fate cannot be mastered; it can only be collaborated with and thereby, to some extent, directed. Nor am I the captain of my soul; I am only its noisiest passenger." ~ Aldous Huxley


Anna said...

Do you know what's strange? I thought of you randomly Sunday morning on the way to church for the first time in a while and wondered how you were or even what state you were in; I knew you'd be doing something interesting. I had been thinking about my current life problems and how pitiful I was when it reminded me of how you seem to fall into such bad things that turn out for good, like when you were a gimp and it turned out to be a huge influence on your fate and it made me laugh. I can't imagine what it must be like down there, or how to stay afloat in such a sea of bitterness and hurt. I guess the only way you don't sink is if you don't keep any of it. Really, total destruction and misery like that is more characteristic of a lot of the world, and certainly how things were anywhere in the ancient world. I wonder how people dealt with it then? Not care, or was it just accepted as part of the human condition?