Deployment, week three.

Three weeks in, and I’ve settled into a routine to the extent that not much occurs in the day-to-day here that’s particularly out of the ordinary.

I have, on the positive side, found that the chapel has a social area that serves real coffee, screens ‘family’ movies around the clock, and is a great place to meet people from all walks of life.  The most interesting person I’ve met so far is a Catholic gentleman who works there – we’ll call him Geoff(not sure if I should use real names for OPSEC reasons) – I believe he may be a priest, who originally hails from Turkey and is now a U.S. citizen.  He has a very jovial and friendly nature and he’s fun to talk to.  He’s had an interesting life, judging from some of the conversations we had.

There are Muslim services here as well, and I’ve met a service member who is a Muslim while at the Haven(the name for the chapel’s social area).  While we weren’t in each other’s company long enough to exchange greetings(I didn’t get his name), he got along well with everyone, especially Geoff.  The crowd at the Haven more or less all stay in the same room and socialize with each other regardless of their faith. It’s a reminder that our military is a reflection of our country, we are an extremely diverse culture.  I’ve not heard the term ‘melting pot’ in reference to the United States in quite some time, and I do wonder if we’ve unintentionally become more polarized and segregated culturally in my lifetime.  Some will take issue with me on this, but no ill is meant by it – it’s simply an observation based on my experiences.  I could be wrong, and I hope that I am.

I modified my schedule so that I get up early enough to shower, shave, get into uniform, and walk across the compound to the chapel for a cup of coffee before I hit the bus stop and ride off to work.  I swing by to abuse the wi-fi and socialize after work.  It’s a pretty good racket.

I took some time during my last day off to clean up the tent a little.  Since the tents are meant as transient housing and most people don’t stay there for long, they’re fairly abused and disorderly. The cleaning involved breaking down two beds and moving them out of the way, freeing up some space.  I moved a third bed and assembled another cubicle using some of the vacant space, in case we get another airman in soon.  I’ve actually managed to convince my deployment manager to let me stay in the tent for the duration, as I’ve got plenty of room. I’ve managed to clean up and organize my cubicle rather well, and there’s a fairly better margin of privacy compared to the other accommodations, thanks to the blanket ‘walls’ that have been set up.  I’m also the ranking individual in the tent, so I have the luxury of being able to do what I want without anyone bugging me about it or questioning my reasoning.  That cuts both ways; if the airmen in my tent are late to work, I’ll probably get some grilling about why I didn’t ensure they made it in on time.  One of them I don’t have to bother about anything, the other two vary between ‘problem child’ and ‘young and dumb’.  No significant problems yet, but I’m keeping a close eye on them.  I actually welcome the responsibility, and would like to push myself a bit further with regard to leadership.

I really need to hit the gym.  I had a bit of a scare last week when I did a short workout session in an attempt to get back into the habit of working out often.  This was my first time working out in close to three months.  I finished my workout early, intentionally cutting it short so as to not overdo it.  When I returned back to my work center, I started feeling nauseous, lightheaded and dizzy.  I tried to make my way to the restroom in case I became ill, and had to immediately sit down because I started to black out.  One of my squadron supervisors happened to walk by while I was attempting to recover, and he immediately noticed that I was very pale.  He got me a Gatorade and some cookies to bring up my blood sugar, and within 15 minutes I was myself again.  Evidently it’s been so long since I’ve worked out on a regular basis, that my body wasn’t used to the demands for blood sugar after a workout.  I’ve noticed a definite decrease in mass, as well…all that muscle I put on when I was getting regular (mandatory)workouts while I was on orders has more or less disappeared.  I’ve lost about 10 pounds, and I’m back to my old noodle-armed, chicken legged self.  I hate my Jack Russell terrier metabolism for that. I’m thankful that I haven’t put on the typical middle-aged spread at nearly 36 (Yep, I’ll be 36 in less than a week…), but for crying out loud, if I don’t pound the weights and consume protein like a maniac, my body quickly consumes itself.  It’s depressing and annoying.  My phlegmatic personality doesn’t help, as I really lack the drive to ‘hulk out’ like so many of my compatriots.  It’s a lot of work for very slow, almost imperceptible returns.

Goal for tonight:  Hit the gym during downtime with a co-worker and try round two, after getting some appropriate food into my gullet.

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