Monday, March 24, 2008

Another post from the lovely and talented Z, apropos to our time of being wandering folk:

"I went to the Kuwait airport last night. it was my first real foray to civilian (non-deployment) life in 5 1/2 months.
It was most definitely an eye opening experience. Apparently, men's shoe fashions are leaning towards pointy toes again. It will give me no small joy departing in my very rounded birkenstock clogs, flouting convention. But what was truly fascinating was the airport people.

For quite some time I have seen no children, and I was surrounded by them. Loud ones, quiet ones, old ones, young ones, ones running around, and those clinging quietly to dresses, fingers in their mouths, soft taking in the world, eyes wide. Probably like mine. Well, most of them were not as blue as mine, but you get the point.
Every now and then, by chance, we would meet, eyes communicating without hindrance of language, or barrier of age, or culture, or convention. Most of their eyes were saying "Wow, look at all these people! look at that guy with the big belly and dishdasha and the beard! Gee, I wish this lady wasn't dragging me like this, I want to stop and look at all these fascinating folks."

My silent reply was usually along the lines of, " Yeah, that guy is interesting, did you see the suitcases that one lady had? Wow!! I am sorry, little man, but you will be dragged around one way or another for the rest of your days. Be like the willow, and bend."

When I was not talking with children, or salivating from the smell of the hommous I bought to eat later, I was all consumed with the people. I guess the way I am wired makes me fascinated with them. Arabic women, fully veiled and with all black hijabs, with the hidden flutter of colorful dresses appearing near their ankles passed me. So did those of more moderate upbringing, some with philipina nurses in tow. Apparently huge purses are en vogue again as well. Smart looking business men with smart looking suitcases with smart looking wheels walk smartly to waiting airport drivers, who look inured to the whole proceeding.

But the parade proceeds, pausing patiently as per the prestidigitation of the powered portals, permitting passage.

The men of Arabia are many, and varied. Some have cuff links, some have unpressed dingy dishdashas. Red and white, black and white, or just white keffiayah's sit upon the bearded and non bearded alike. With suitcases and bags and boxes, coming slowly, or fast, sandaled or slippered, the men of Arabia come. Some of the younger ones are in suits and shirts, with wives in colored headdresses. The wives seem to be worn as another accessory by some.

Of course, the deployed come as well. Sporting duffle bags and Px backpacks, they come. Military and civilian, they come. Tan boots and neck wallets, they come. They find their representives, holding up their little signs, and they go. Some of them I think I recognize. None of them are ecstatic to be back, but neither forlorn. A resigned sense of duty, or obligation.

I am leaving for R and R tomorrow night. I will bring no neck wallet, no PX backpack, no duffle bag, and definitely no flippin tan boots. I will not see anyone in camouflage for 13 days, I hope. No one walking around armed, I really hope.

No DFAC food, hear no chinooks, no c-130's. Not to have my nights interrupted by the gunfire at the gate,
or the medevac chopper.

For thirteen days I get to be just a guy. And I will make it a point to communicate with children, and eat real food, and love, and be loved, and take a bath, and sleep late, and practice not working on computers, even my own.
(although, who are we kidding...when people ask me what I do, I think I am going to tell them unpublished author or amateur chef. If I tell them I work on computers for a living...oh boy...)

And then on the fourteenth day, I will join that sinuous procession, and be one of those wandering folk again.:

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