Without Power: Day Two

I could not help but to think about Kuwait.

When I drove home Thursday morning, the mayor of Maplewood said on the radio that their ‘hood was going to be without power for anywhere from three to six days. Maplewood is right next to my little slice of St Louis in Dogtown. Happy, this news did not make me.

The temputure was already around 90 degrees and it was only 9 in the morning. No AC, no fans, and I was somehow supposed to get a night’s sleep. I did what you probably thought I would do: Drank a bunch of fucking beer (I’m so predictable.)

Sometime around 3 in the afternoon, drunk, and with the heat index hovering around 120, I realized that so much sweat had dropped onto the magazine I was reading that by the time it dried, it would be impossible to read. And that’s when I started thinking about Kuwait.

Three and a half years ago, when I was in the Marines -- in another life, essentially -- I lived in a tent in northern Kuwait, getting by on a diet of coffee, camel lights, and The Strokes. Food? Well, if you put enough HP sauce on anything, I’ll eat it. But MRE’s? No thanks (unless it’s the cheese ravioli. That was fantastic.)

I worked (and by work I mean played PS2) in a metal box at night and attempted to sleep during the day in a big ass tent. We had a fan in the tent, but when it is 120 degrees out, fans only do so much. People would come in and out of the tent in a manner of ways: Loudly. Quietly. Laughing. Screaming. It didn’t matter how they’d come in, they’d wake me one way or another.

I had to learn how to sleep while flies crawled all over my back, arms, and legs, because it really wasn’t worth the effort to shoo them off. They’d be right back anyway.

Needless to say, sleeping sucked.

And out of everything; the gas masks, the air raids which always seemed to happen at the most inopportune times, the constant dragging around of my rifle, the assholes which make up 80% of the Corps; sleep was my biggest issue. If I was lucky enough to have some sleeping pills, it normally wasn’t too bad. I’d simply lie on my cot and count the drips of sweat which would soak through the cot and splash on the plywood floor beneath me. Before I knew it, I’d be dreaming. If our mail happened to be cut off at the time, and I hadn’t received any new pills in awhile, sleeping was much harder.

But I got by.

When I came back to the states in the summer of ’03, people would ask about being over there and what it was like. It was (and continues to be) essentially impossible to describe by a functioning illiterate such as myself, so I normally just said “it sucked.” The general response would normally be some sort of variation of “well, you’re a Marine. You’re tough.”

Wrong. I’m not tough. I’m a stubborn fucking jerkass who really doesn’t give a fuck and has an amazing ability to project himself into other, normally more pleasant, places.

But tough, I am not.

That’s why I got out of the Marines. I never again wanted to have to try to sleep in broad daylight and 120 degree temputure. Sleep is important to me, and that simply would not fly. Honestly, I didn’t think I ever would have to again. But then the Great Storm of 2006 blew through St Louis. And then, there I was, lying on my bed, in 120 degree heat, in broad daylight, projecting myself back to Kuwait, for whatever dumb, drunken reason.

I thought of a scene from HBO’s old Band of Brothers. It was towards the end of WWII, and the boy’s from Easy Company were patrolling through a forest in the Bavarian woods. One of the guys asks his Sergeant if it reminds him of earlier in the war when they were fighting for their lives in a forest outside of Bastogne.

The Sarge’s response was “Yeah, now that you mention it... Except, of course, there's no snow, we got warm grub in our bellies, and the trees aren't fucking exploding from Kraut artillery, but yeah...Frank… other than that, it's a lot like Bastogne.”

And as I continued thinking about how similar my futile attempt to sleep was to sleeping in the desert of Kuwait, that’s when my own personal Tyler Durden and I had a little discussion. “Yeah, now that you mention it… Except of course, you got to take a shower today, you’ve got a bunch of beers in your belly, you’ll get to kiss your girlfriend goodnight, and you don’t have to sleep with a gas mask tied to your bed in case a frog lands in your back yard, but yeah… Al… other than that, it’s a lot like Kuwait.”

Three more days without power? I may very well be clinically insane by Sunday.

Hey, I never said I was tough.

[have a great, air-conditioned weekend mi amigos. You fucking bastards.]


I still love you Al. Think of us when we are in the field next week in this muggy ass NC weather. Put some Hot Sauce on my Burrito BABY!!!
you could not help but to think about Kuwait? well as a matter of fact I have been thinking about Kuwait because supposedly there is good pay per head sportsbooks there
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