Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sept 04

Another piece rescued from old emails home - the wacky world of civilian contracting as of 2004:

Went to the NBC dept the other day (Nuclear, Biological & Chemical) to be fitted for my gas mask. Seems kind of a waste, given that the only people capable of gassing us are the US Army, and presumably they won't, but it was pretty interesting. I've established that 6 minutes sitting quietly in a gas mask was enough to have me itching to tear it off, so presumably combat in one is reasonably unpleasant. They're also bloody heavy.

To cap off the weirdness, you sign a receipt for the gas mask and then they take it back and put it in storage. Sure hope they don't lose it, now that I was stupid enough to sign a receipt. Of course, all the masks are stored in the warehouse behind that office, so if there was a gas attack the entire population of the camp would presumably be queuing up at the office waving their receipts and trying not to breathe. Wayne from Chicago, who was here for all the false alarms during Gulf War 2, waxed pretty lyrical on just what fucking stupid shit it was, including "Suppose they was to give you that mask and you took it home. Here comes a gas attack - OK, are you going to clap that shit on your head and say 'Sorry, rest of my family, didn't get you no mask'?"

You get to watch girlies with guns here. Call me a kinky fucker, but there's something about a woman with a gun that's really hot. All the soldiers have to unload their weapons at the gate - there's a metal bin with sandbags all over it for you to empty the chamber into while you're waiting for the security guys to do your car (can't imagine who volunteers to unload the bin, but that's another story). Last week the soldiers getting out of the SUV in front of me included a black woman in civilian clothes who was holding a big handgun, and who started what looked to be a completely automatic movement to stick it in the back waistband of her pants before she remembered she had to go and empty the chamber. Now there's one to add to that list of unconscious gestures like flicking your hair out of your eyes - sticking your gun down the back of your pants. And this morning there was a blond cutie walking along in T-shirt, shorts, sandals and slung M-16. I’m going to hell for what I thought about her, I’m sure of it.