Saturday, August 09, 2008

Waking Up Confused

I opened up my eyes this morning and thought, "I didn't hear reveille. What time is it?" The room was flooded with natural light from several windows, not fluorescents. There was a ceiling that was feet, not inches from my face.

Grace's bed. I was in Grace's bed with lots of room to roll over and not whack my elbows, or sit up and not hit my head. Better yet, I *could* roll over, lol. No stiff back and my hip wasn't screaming. I sat up and just gathered my thoughts for a moment.

Yesterday morning I heard the AirForce girls getting up around 0530, trying to get the jump on the day. I croaked out "Why are you up before reveille?" The reply came "Because there are 50 girls here and some of us want breakfast." Of course, their options were limited compared to mine. If I wanted to beat rush hour in the *female head* (that has a nice ring to it, huh?) I could just lay there for an hour. I had done just that the day before. I stayed in my rack until the other three in my little aisle were finished. I can't imagine if all six were filled with people with a deadline. This pic is male Marine troop berthing, but looks just like where I was. Most were arranged in aisles where each side had three racks. I chose the bottom because I couldn't imagine climbing into bed. But later I realized that the advantage of the top bunk was more head room. Not lots but more than the other two. Each blue curtain represents a rack but there is no top, so the top goes to the ceiling. Worth the climb? Most thought so. While there were middles and lowers available, by the time I got there, all the tops were gone. When I lay in my rack if I put my elbow on the mattress (I am being generous with that word), my fingertips could touch the rack above me. There was a light in line with my neck and a single electrical outlet. I briefly flashed to my own bedroom with my plug for my cell phone charger, the stuff for my computer, the lamp, the clock radio, the fan and the curling iron.

Yeah! That could work.....not!

Each rack had a handle which would lift the whole rack with mattress on top to reveal a shallow storage area. There were also lockers and places for bigger bags. The area under the rack would probably have been just enough for my gear.....for three days.....not 118. And this deployment was short by most standards. Things were hung in different, odd places, but no closet per se. Yet Sailors are expected to be turned out neatly in the uniform of the day. Now that I think about it, I never saw a place to iron - you know I wouldn't be looking for that!

These Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Airmen are making dozens of sacrifices, large and small to accomplish this and every mission.

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