One day, I'll be able to tell you all sorts of things about my stint on active duty on the Syrian border that I simply am not allowed to talk about for intel/security purposes at my current juncture. Thus, my tweets are generally quite general, my instagram pics are toned down, and my stories that I can write about on this blog are limited. [Catch me alone in a room without phones/recording devices, then hey maybe I'll tell ya a thing or two. But probably not. Wait until I'm outta the army.]
So, when I do have the chance to tell a story, as short or trivial as it may be to the interested reader, I have to jump on the opportunity to tell it! Here it is:
[IMPORTANT: There is vulgar language here. It is intentional, with words not edited out in order to portray how crude the language of the army truly is. EVERYONE curses way too much in the military, something I have to consciously switch off when I shed my uniform for short glimpses of civilian leave.]
A couple nights ago I finished an 8 hour border patrol shift, took off my gear, and started to strip so I could shower and unwind for the night only to hear that the reinforcements who help out with the static guard duty at my unit's post had not yet shown up. Now, we're so undermanned that their playing hooky means my boys and I have to take their place til they show. "OK," we're told, "it's only until 11. The Golanchikim [Golani boys] are on their way." Well, 11:30 passes, midnight rolls through, still no reinforcements. Let me stress here that after a long day, and really a long two weeks, of hard work, minimal sleep, and even fewer opportunities to sleep without boots, there is sort of a created expectation that the night before we get off for a weekend leave we will do less, not more. So when the opposite is true -- when we are told we have to cover for people from a totally different unit to do things we don't even normally do (a la statics), the guys ain't gonna be too pleased.
We end up pulling 1-2's (1 our on, two hours off) the entire night until the bastards finally roll in at 6am (coincidentally the same exact time when we're supposed to depart for the weekend). Everyone is peeved and exhausted. And I am borderline furious -- I literally have no patience for this type of shit, especially at the end of a hard earned 11. So 6am comes around and I am manning one of the booths overlooking the border. I am alternately cussing out these aholes for ruining my night of sleep, shivering because although it's July it's still cold at night, and admiring the sun as it rises over the Syrian Golan when some smug little guy comes to switch me. Where from? "Palsar Golani." I'd been swearing out Golani all night and now that I knew it was Palsar it just fanned the flames. Bunch of simultaneously high brow and uncouth brush your shoulders off Golani Sayarim. Well, some seven minutes later I'm changed and ready to go and my buddy Bar tell me that the soldier who switched his post knows who I am and wants me to come say hello. After putting one and one together I realized that it must be Nir, my good friend from my garin, and his team that denied us our beauty hours. I walk down to him giving him the finger the whole way over, supplement it with a punch to his biceps (not a chance he felt it, bro's a lot bigger than I am), and finally for the first time since the previous evening break into a wide grin and bear hug him.
How could I stay angry after seeing a 'homeboy' after some two months, on the sneakily dangerous Syrian border, switching me out so I could go home for the weekend. Definitely a shitty night, definitely a worthwhile ending.
Really, just went to remind me how nearsighted anyone (in this case yours truly) can act when thinking about him or herself. Instead of going home from a brigade wide celebratory event, Nir and his guys had traveled half the country in the middle of the night just to get to the border region, slept 2-3 hours, and then showed up at dawn so people they ostensibly don't know could go home. At the end of the day, no matter what the army is mentally and physically exhausting. And if you're lucky your boy might just show up when you least expect it, pat you on the back and give you a break.
Wishing everyone a quiet and restful weekend to all from, yep, home.